EUGENE Juwah, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has added another feather in his cap. Recently, the NCC boss was named the Africa Telecom Regulator of the Year by the Nigerian Telecom News newspaper in Lagos.
Commenting on the award, Juwah said the commission will continue to do its best to live up to the expectations of all the stakeholders, especially the consumers. He said the commission understands the role that telecommunications play in the economic and social wellbeing of the nation and the citizens and will not relent in focusing on the responsibilities entrusted to it with its abiding principles of fairness, forthrightness and firmness.
Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, chief executive officer, Logica Communications, publishers of Telecom News, said that NCC under Juwah has made telecom services more affordable by reducing the tariffs for SMS, introducing mobile number portability to enable consumers to switch to service provider of their choice and the successful completion of the SIM Card Registration project. Juwah was also said to have taken a firm stance in sanctioning erring service providers for not meeting the key performance indicators published by the commission on quality of service among others. He noted that some of these actions have improved the ratings of the NCC, and have positively affected the Nigerian consumer of telecommunications services in one way or another.
The event, which was attended by Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel, two former governors of Ogun State, witnessed the citation of the outstanding performance of Juwah as the helmsman of Nigeria’s independent telecom regulator which are consumer-focused, hence the collective decision of the selection board of the award committee to nominate him for recognition.
Bankers and other service providers in the telecom sector attended the event which also recognised innovative products and services for telecoms service providers and financial institutions using ICT to leverage their services.
Honeywell’s New Market Drive
SHAREHOLDERS of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc have approved a total dividend payout of N1.27 billion, representing 16 kobo for every 50 kobo ordinary share, for the financial year which ended March 31, 2013. The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s 4th annual general meeting in Lagos. Following the approval, the dividend is expected to be paid on September 24.
Oba Otudeko, chairman, Honeywell Flour Mills, told the shareholders during the AGM that the company intended to build an integrated foods complex at Sagamu, Ogun State. He said that the complex, which would be called Honeywell Integrated Foods Complex, would host several food production and processing factories with emphasis on the manufacture of value-added human and animal food products.
Otudeko informed the shareholders that the move was part of an expansion plan, which had also seen the company purchase 64 hectares of land along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, having exhausted its land at Tincan Island Port, Lagos. He expressed optimism that the expansion drive would boost Honeywell’s revenue and lead to increase in return on investment for its shareholders. “Despite the challenging operating climate of high interest rates, heavy import duty on raw materials and high cost of doing business, we continue to seek opportunities for growth,” Otudeko said.
In the year under review, Honeywell Flour Mills said it recorded a-20 percent rise in revenue with its revenue rising from N38 billion to N46 billion. Its profit after tax also rose, albeit marginally, to N2.8 billion from N2.6 billion recorded in the preceding year. This represented a six percent growth. The shareholder’s fund rose by nine percent to N19bn.
Folaranmi Odunayo, chief executive officer, Honeywell Flour Mills, said the company’s financial statements were in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and informed the shareholders that high interest rates and borrowing constraints were major challenges faced in the year under review.
According to him, for the company to have an increasing share of the markets where it plays and remains relevant, there is the need for it to continually innovate and deliver superior quality products at increasing volumes. While praising the board and management of the firm for the growth it recorded over the years and for the dividend payment, the shareholders urged the board to work towards reducing borrowing cost and cost of doing business.
MAN’s Production Cost Burden
INDUSTRIALISTS in Nigeria under the aegis of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, spent more than N42 billion to fuel generators in the last 20 months. Kola Jamodu, president, MAN, who gave this indication at the 2013 World Stage National Electricity Conference in Lagos, on Tuesday, September 24, said power supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria had remained inadequate for smooth operations in the manufacturing sector.
He said that more than N42 billion had been committed to powering the manufacturing concerns in the country between January 2012 and August 2013. Jamodu, who was represented by Reginald Odiah, chairman, standing committee on infrastructure, MAN, said a 2012 electricity power audit conducted by the association revealed that more than N2 billion was being spent to fuel generators monthly.
He said that the electricity power audit conducted on 2,500 members nationwide put the average peak power demand by manufacturers at 4,850 megawatts, and the peak power supply from PHCN was 1,018 megawatts. The in-house installed power generating capacity of members, he added, remained 5,150MW.
Jamodu explained that members of MAN owned and installed more than 5,480 units of diesel/gas powered turbines and generating plants, adding that these were gulping more than N2 billion on the average in running and maintenance cost on a monthly basis. “This amount is apart from the average monthly PHCN bills paid by members, which again run into hundreds of millions of naira per month. This has resulted to low production capacity and inability to compete effectively with our foreign counterparts; inability to contribute optimally to the Gross National Product, which currently stands at about four per cent; poor return on investment; closure of factories and migration to greener fields by manufacturers as well as uncertainty on investment in Nigeria. It is sad to note that 40 per cent of our production cost goes into the provision of electricity as against five per cent to 10 per cent in other developed economies. As a result of this and other infrastructural deficiencies, the cost of manufacturing in Nigeria is about two times that of Ghana, four times that of South Africa and approximately nine times that of China,” he said.
Jamodu noted that the poor performance of the power sector could be attributed to its neglect by successive governments over a long period of time, with little or no investment in the sector over the period. He added that that there had been poor planning and management of electricity power infrastructure by utility planners and managers. This, he said, might have been as a result of the monopoly enjoyed by the PHCN. “There are also high transmission and distribution losses as a result of the use of old and outdated equipment due to lack of government attention in the sector.”
Dividends of Due Process
THE federal government has saved a total of N530 billion from contracts as a result of its insistence on due process. Emeka Eze, director-general, Bureau for Public Procurement, said the amount was saved through various direct interventions carried out by the BPP.
He said that the money would have been pocketed by the contractors. “If there was no due process, this money would have been lost. We decide on what is fair to both the government and the contractors; if we did not do a proper check on all contracts and ensure that claims are properly verified, this money would have entered somebody’s pocket,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of the amount, Eze said, up till now, they have N420 billion added to another N110 billion for this year. So, the BPP is talking about N530bn saved through our interventions. He urged heads of government institutions to apply prudence and honesty in the management of public funds. Eze further said the government would implement more stringent measures in order to check fraud in the award of contracts in 2014. Speaking on the implementation of the 2013 budget, he said that most ministries had concluded their procurement processes.
He blamed the high cost of executing public contracts in the country on insecurity and the challenges in the power sector. “The cost of power and the extra security at the sites also form part of the costs that affect the cost of doing jobs in Nigeria. Even our closest neighbour, Ghana, does not have to worry about these.”
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Oct. 7, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT