THE Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, is worried that the issue of cement standard in the country has been politicised. Joseph Odumodu, director-general, SON, who spoke at a cement stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, said this should not be the case. “When standards are compromised, it leaves consequences such as the loss of properties and investment as well as the loss of lives,” he said.
The SON boss said the development had prompted the meeting of a technical committee which, he said, would help the stakeholders to make informed decisions. He said the deliberations would help in the formulation of new standards for cement, which would end building collapse in the country.
“We are here to look critically at the issues and factors affecting the sector, especially building collapse, of which cement is a factor. The essence is to ensure that Nigerians no longer die from avoidable deaths through ignorance and negligence. Something tells me that we will be able to find a solution to this problem at hand. And that is why I appeal for people to be dispassionate in their contributions. The business of cement is not about profit making, but standards must be ensured.”
The committee is expected to produce a new standard for cement following the debate on standards that had been ongoing for the past few weeks. The meeting, which was at the instance of SON, had representation from different professional, and business groups, including the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, and Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute. Cement manufacturing companies that attended the meeting included Dangote Cement Plc, Ibeto Cement and Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc.
SEC Explains Lull in IPO
THE Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has attributed the lull in the initial public offering, IPO, market to the hangover of the 2008 recession in the capital market and the stringent rules and process for floating of IPO. Arunma Oteh, director-general, SEC, said the development was a global phenomenon due to depression in values of quoted equities, which discouraged entrepreneurs from floating IPOs for their firms.
According to her, because the promoters had invested a lot of hard work into building their businesses, they would want to get optimum values for the shares. “So, when valuation was depressed, it would have been difficult for people to come to the market. So, what we are seeing today is that people are starting to look at the market again for valuations and where they feel comfortable enough to come in. The second thing is that the process of an IPO is a very long process and one of the things that make it different from the past in terms of IPOs is that you have to meet certain requirements like International Financial Reporting Standards, IFRS. So, if you were a company that was not reporting under IFRS, you need to go and fix that first and it is a very elaborate process to change from Nigerian GAP to IFRS,” Oteh said.
She noted that the regulators were not only concerned about floating of IPOs but the quality of the offers and would ensure that companies come to the market when they are ready. Oteh added that listing requirements which would not enable any company to come to the market except the company has been in business for a long time also adversely affected the market noting that the new flexible regulations under the Alternative Securities Market, ASeM, will enable emergent companies with good prospects to raise funds from the market.
She expressed optimism that the IPO market would soon pick up noting that the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has become much more market-oriented and it is now prospecting for new listing. She blamed the delay in the implementation of electronic IPO on the uncooperative attitudes of market stakeholders pointing out that SEC had identified the issue of e-IPO as a major task but had to step down because of some stakeholders’ attitudes to policy formulation.
“The issue about the e-IPO is a very important one, but one of the issues I recognised very quickly when I came to Nigeria is that in Nigeria when you want to do something new, you take time and consult stakeholders. Look at what you are saying about recapitalisation, the stock brokers were involved in the process, after the thing is out, there is an issue. So consultation is a big part of our culture. Last year, SEC released a statement, saying that we need to have e-dividend. Not for the benefit of the SEC but for the benefit of individual investors. Who were those who complained? It is the individual investors themselves. We were worried that we have unclaimed dividends and peoples’ dividends were stuck and they were not getting them, but with e-dividend they can get it directly. And the people who were supposed to receive the benefits were the ones complaining. So, you take account of your environment before you embark on something,” Oteh said.
Gold Mining in Kebbi State
THE federal government and the Northern Numero Resources Limited have signed an agreement for the development of a gold mining field in Yauri, Kebbi State. Musa Sada, of mines and steel development, said the company would commit $5 million to the mining of gold from the field. He said the agreement was to boost Nigeria’s efforts in advancing its mining policy and regulatory environment.
The minister said the $5 million would be used in procuring a small-scale gold mining and processing plant, which would be expanded later. He explained that the mining lease was one of the mineral titles of the Nigerian Mining Corporation, which had carried out some exploration activities over the area, including core drilling, before it was closed in 2005.
“The company has also committed to give 10 percent carried interests to the federal government and five per cent carried interests to the local community, in addition to royalties and taxes, among others, that the company is expected to pay in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and its Mining Regulations, 2011. It has as well committed to the Community Development Agreement that the company is expected to sign with the host community as a way of transforming social and economic benefits to the host community,” he said.
Sada urged other investors in the nation’s minerals and metals sector to emulate the initiative of Northern Numero Resources by giving the host communities a sense of belonging in their operations. He noted that the commitment of the company would transform the economic activities of its host communities in Yauri as well as formally put the country into the global map of gold producers in the nearest future.
Compiled By Anayo Ezugwu
— Mar. 31, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT