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Abuja Queues: Buhari Approves Freight Rate Increase



In his bid to find a solution to the persistent fuel queues by motorists in parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase in the freight rate being paid to transporters of petroleum products.

Oil marketers had repeatedly complained that the lingering fuel queues in Abuja and neighboring Nasarawa and Niger states, among others, were due to the inability of petroleum product transporters to purchase the diesel required to run their trucks.

This, they said, was due to the hike in the pump price of diesel, which was currently dispensed at about N850/litre.

To address this concern, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority announced on Thursday that Buhari had considered the issue and had approved an upward review of the freight rate.

“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has considered and approved the upward review in freight rate for transporters to alleviate the challenges associated with the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (popularly called petrol) nationwide,” the NMDPR stated in a statement issued in Abuja.

Although the agency was silent on the exact amount, report has it that the government increased the freight rate by N10.

“The approval was after due consultations with industry-wide stakeholders at the instance of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority,” the agency stated in its statement.

It added, “The review was necessitated by the upswing in the global price of petroleum products especially Automotive Gasoil (diesel) and its implication on the cost of transporting Premium Motor Spirit nationwide.”

Consequently, the authority stated that in line with its mandate as prescribed in the Petroleum Industry Act (Section 31(i)) to develop and enforce a framework for tariffing and pricing for natural gas and petroleum products, the transporters’ freight rate had been reviewed to reflect current market realities.

“The revised freight rate takes effect from June 1, 2022, while still maintaining the current regulated PMS pump price of N165.00/litre,” it stated.

The NMDPRA added, “An inter-agency team is being constituted to ensure reconciliation and payment of outstanding transporters claims in line with established payment procedures under the Bridging Fund Scheme.

Meanwhile, NNPC, the sole supplier of PMS, has maintained over 32 days of sufficiency in-country. We believe the increase in transporters’ freight rate will further encourage Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and other stakeholders to deploy more trucks to transport PMS nationwide to ensure adequate supply of the product.”

The authority has also assured the public of its commitment to building a strong and sustainable midstream and downstream petroleum sector.


Adeduntan Sustains His Winning Streak, Pioneers Leadership Excellence In Banking



Since his appointment as MD/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited in 2016, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has completely transformed the financial institution and has made it attractive to every strata of the society. From an institution that used to be perceived as an old-generation bank, FirstBank is now a darling to all as it leverages latest digital tools to meet its customers’ needs. Also, under Adeduntan’s leadership, the 128-year old bank has made huge contributions to national development, thereby stimulating development, setting standards and motivating excellent output across sectors. Clearly, these contributions to national development were what endeared Adeduntan to President Muhammadu Buhari who recently saluted him on his recognition by Cranfield University, UK, one of the most prestigious citadels of learning in Europe. Adeduntan will on Wednesday, June 22, be conferred with Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa and he would be delivering an address to the graduating class of the university. This feat, the president in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, described as, “another testament to the fact that Nigeria is blessed with the brightest and the best in all areas of human endeavor.” Buhari lauded Adeduntan for being a role model to the younger generation, showing that hard work pays, and with resourcefulness and doggedness, great heights are achievable.

Adeduntan holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Ibadan, Master’s in Business Administration from Cranfield University, and is Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The president sent best wishes to Adeduntan and family as he hoisted Nigeria’s flag proudly to receive an honor Cranfield University said was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business. Incidentally, Buhari’s commendation came on the day the bank successfully held its AGM which showed a stellar performance in its financials, a transformational result that put the bank on course to reclaiming its leadership position of the financial sector.

Adeduntan has a distinguished career in finance having held senior positions at Citibank Nigeria, KPMG and Arthur Andersen Nigeria. He studied at Cranfield University as a British Chevening Scholar, achieving an MBA in 2005.

Commenting on the honour by Cranfield University, the FirstBank boss said: “I am extremely humbled and most grateful to the university for this recognition. My time at Cranfield served as a catalyst for my professional and personal development propelling me to the leadership position I occupy today.

“I am a firm believer in talent management, being vital to further accelerate Africa’s growth to enable it to benefit from its demographic dividend and the opportunities therein. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the students on the universal applicability of the skills the Cranfield MBA provides to positively impact the world.”

On his part, the Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng also congratulated Adeduntan, saying: “It is an honour to welcome Dr Adeduntan back to Cranfield to recognise all his professional achievements in this way. His own experience at Cranfield University has propelled his career forward and this serves as a true inspiration for our graduates both this year and in the future.”

Indeed, Adeduntan is an accomplished professional with distinctive international and domestic experience in commercial and investment banking, development finance, audit, and consulting; a philanthropist and leader with keen interest in providing platforms for the development of other young leaders.

The FirstBank Group, the commercial banking arm of FBN Holdings Plc, which he heads is made up of First Bank of Nigeria and subsidiaries including FBNBank UK, FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian as well as Representative Offices in France and China.

Adeduntan is overseeing one of the most extensive transformation programmes in sub-Saharan African financial services industry, with the goal to reposition FirstBank Group to market pre-eminence.

He is leading FirstBank Group on the journey to win the most significant emerging business opportunities in the financial services industry through the development and execution of a digital-led strategy that has established FirstBank as the dominant player in digital banking.

FirstBank Group’s transformation programme, under the leadership of Adeduntan has enabled the bank to grow customer accounts from about 10 million in 2015 to over 36 million (including digital wallets), become the second largest issuer of cards in Africa with over 11.8 million issued cards, onboard over 18.6 million active customers on FirstBank’s digital banking platforms, and initiate and grow the most expansive bank-led Agent Banking Network in Africa with over 170,000 agents.

His career in banking and finance, spanning almost three decades, has earned him various recognitions and awards including Forbes Best of Africa – Outstanding Leader in Africa, Distinguished Alumnus Award by both the Cranfield University’s School of Management and the University of Ibadan, African Banking Personality of the Year, African Banker of the Year Award; Banking Icon of the Decade by the Sun Newspapers and induction into the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Hall of Fame, Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia and Congressional Commendation Award from the Georgia Senate – USA, Bank CEO of the Year by the AES Excellence Club and several other awards.

He has attended various executive and leadership programmes at Harvard Business School (USA), Wharton School (USA), London Business School (UK), IESE (Spain), University of Oxford (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), CEIBS (China) and INSEAD (France). He is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Adeduntan’s leadership drive also reflected in First Bank Nigeria Limited’s recently released full year 2021 financial statement. The results clearly showed the strength and resilience of the iconic African elephant as well as the financial institution’s leadership in the industry. The impressive results were a reflection of the robust strength and growth of the iconic African elephant, showing that the bank has taken its rightful position among the industry leaders.

In addition, it showed the level of work the current board, management and staff of the bank have put in to turn the tide in the 128 years old institution with entrenched corporate governance.

The full year 2021 performance by the bank represented a shift in the financial institution’s performance trajectory and was made possible through its undeterred commitment in pursuing its transformational agenda; cutting across customer-led innovation, building a digitalised bank, culture change, reinventing the bank’s workplace and safeguarding its assets for the digital age.

For the first time, FirstBank Group posted the best result in more than a decade history of the bank by crossing the N100 billion profit line. Specifically, in the full year 2021 financial statement, the FirstBank Group reported a 73.9 per cent growth in its profit after tax to N117.8 billion, as against the N67.8 billion recorded as of December 2020, just as its profit before tax stood at N130.9 billion, which was a significant rise by 77.9 per cent year-on-year, as against the N73.6 billion it was as of December 2020.

FirstBank’s gross earnings also increased by 30.3 per cent to N716.8 billion in 2021, up from N550.3 billion it was as of December 2020. Also, it recorded non-interest income of N342.2 billion in the year under review, which was 106.4 per cent higher than the N165.8 billion recorded as of December 2020. As a result of years of strategic restructuring of its balance sheet and operations, its gross earnings also moved northwards by 30.3 per cent, its total assets was up 15.9 per cent to N8.5 trillion as of the end of 2021, as against the N7.4 trillion recorded the previous year, just as its customer deposits also climbed by 19.5 per cent to N5.6 trillion, up from the N4.7 trillion recorded the previous year. The bank’s customer loans and advances also improved by 28 per cent to N2.8 trillion in the year under review, up from N2.2 trillion the previous year.

FirstBank has shown innovation, resilience and commitment to growth by significantly reducing its non-performing loans (NPL) from 25% in 2016 to an acceptable level of 6.1% in 2021.

To demonstrate that the bank’s performance in 2021 was not a fluke, the Bank equally performed excellently well in Q1 2022. FirstBank recorded 32% increase in gross earnings to N180bn in Q1’22 from N136.6bn in Q1’21. Profit after tax was up 108% to N32.4 billion (Q1’22) relative to N15.6 billion (Q1’21). This impressive performance is hinged on robust loan portfolio, effective cost structure and increased digital services.FirstBank recorded the highest decline in its cost-to-income ratio in Q1 2022, dropping from 79.5% recorded in Q1 2021 to 67.03% amongst tier-1 Banks in the review period.

With FirstBank under Adeduntan, the safety of customers and the security of their transactions come first. This has ensured the bank keeps the trust of Nigerians gained over the many years of its enduring legacy of safety and security.

The bank also delivers unique and bespoke financial services solutions across all customer segments underpinned by its commitment to innovation and the customer experience. It also leverages its strong investment banking capabilities to support clients in defining and executing innovative debt solutions as well as offer strategic advice at the highest level, arrange tailor-made financing structures, manage risk and ultimately help clients to realise their aspirations

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership.

Over the years, the bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the federal government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner. It is expected that the leadership excellence and recognitions accorded to Adeduntan would continue to reflect positively on the FirstBank brand and fundamentals of the bank so that the elephant will continue to stand ‘gidigba.’

Culled from ThisDay

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Fuel Scarcity: Marketers Notify FG On Planned Price Hike, Queues Persist



Oil marketers confirmed that they had escalated their call for an increase in the petrol pump price, to the Federal Government, as the current cost of the commodity was no longer sustainable.

Also, PMS transporters confirmed that they had resumed operations in full following last week’s rise in the freight rate being paid by the Federal Government for the transportation of petrol nationwide.

Amidst the call for a petrol price hike and the full resumption of operations by transporters, the motorist queues in Abuja and neighbouring states grew longer.

The Deputy National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Zarma Mustapha, told our correspondent that the Federal Government had been put on notice concerning marketers’ intentions to increase petrol price.

“The current pump price is no longer sustainable and we have made this know to the government. However, we must acknowledge the efforts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited in ensuring product availability,” he stated.

Also, the National President, Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association, Bennett Korie, said Nigerians would have to adjust to the current reality, as it was no more feasible to dispense petrol at the approved rate of N165/litre in filling stations after purchasing the product for about N170/litre in some private depots.

“So everybody is suffering and the only way out is for Nigerians to take or accept a little increase in petrol price. This will also ensure that the foreign exchange spent on petrol subsidy is reduced for us to have forex for diesel imports too.

“If not our construction companies, industries, hotels, etc, will all come to a standstill because they will not be able to buy diesel. You use diesel to get fuel to fillings stations, you use it to run the generators of various businesses in Nigeria because there is no light across the country. So this is the only way out.”

Asked whether marketers had informed the government about these concerns, Korie replied, “Of course, we’ve reached out to them about this. And the response is still the same problem that we are facing – petrol.

“You can’t buy petrol at a high price and sell this low. Crude oil is about $130/barrel, the cost of fuel, if you hear it, you will run away; but you are selling at N165/litre. So definitely you don’t expect money to remain for government to run other activities when it spends heavily on subsidy.”

Efforts to get the official position of the Federal Government did not yield the desired result, as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory authorities, the regulator, stayed mute when contacted.

NMDPRA’s spokesperson, Kimchi Apollo, did not answer several calls to his mobile phone and stayed mum when he was sent messages on the matter.

This came as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners confirmed that its members had resumed operations fully with respect to the transportation of petrol, following the increase in freight rate by the government.

The National President, NARTO, Yusuf Othman, told our correspondent that the association was optimistic that the petrol queues caused by the earlier suspension of operations by some members, particularly in Abuja, would clear fast.

Last week, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved an increase in the freight rate being paid to transporters of petroleum products in a bid to clear the persistent fuel queues by motorists in parts of the country.

Oil marketers had repeatedly complained that the lingering fuel queues in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states, among others, were due to the inability of petroleum product transporters to purchase the diesel required to run their trucks.

This, they said, was due to the hike in the pump price of diesel, which was currently dispensed at about N850/litre.

To address this concern, the NMDPRA announced last week that Buhari had considered the issue and had approved an upward review of the freight rate.

Reacting to the development, Othman said, “This is good for the sector because in the last few months, due to the high cost of diesel we have more or less been operating at a loss.

“But with the increase of the freight rate, most transporters who have hitherto parked their trucks due to no gain in the business, have now come out and continue their business.

“At the same time, there will be some new investments, those who are in the system and are willing to put more money will now put more trucks into the business. So this will gradually reduce all the queues that you are seeing.”

When asked specifically whether transporters who parked their trucks had resumed operations, Othman replied, “Yes, of course, with this development those transporters are now back on stream.

“This is because there is now a guaranteed increase in the freight rate.”

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Why Cyndi’s Empire Still Stands Tall After 10 Years – Foluso Oguntola



Cyndi’s Empire CEO, Foluso Oguntola Reveals Why She Dumped Entertainment for Skin Care Business

With a track record of experience, professionalism, safety, perfection, and above all customer satisfaction, Cyndi’s Empire, an aesthetics, skincare, and dermatology clinic which was set up at the commercial nerve center of Nigeria, Lagos State has continued to set tongues wagging with series of skincare products and services the company has reeled out in the past ten years of its existence.

The beauty and skincare outfit is formed to equip Nigerians with global best aesthetic practices and access to innovations that help to personalize individualistic treatments in offering aesthetic procedures that boost aesthetic trends.

Cyndi’s Empire was established a decade ago to close the gaps of skincare-related issues in Nigeria and West Africa at large and has remained innovative and fully operated by the popular and qualified Cosmetologist, Foluso Oguntola.

As the competition in the beauty industry is getting intense by the day as more investors are looking to catch in, Cyndi’s Empire has remained afloat and flown by evolving new ways in the production of her products and service delivery nationwide beyond.

Oguntola disclosed that the procedures are safe, tested, and proven to defy environmental factors that cause and rapidly increase aging and skin damage among the youths and the aged ones.

“At Cyndi’s Empire, the company unarguably has the best skincare products for the treatment of all skin types and problems. We don’t experiment on our customers’ bodies. We carried out a lot of research before concluding on the type of procedures that would give our clients satisfaction and value for their money. We are exceptional in this business and we intend to build more on the trust we’ve had from our long-time clients”.

In this part of the world, nothing grows without some challenges on the way and the Chief Executive Officer of Cyndi’s Empire reeled out the challenges she has had to surmount to remain relevant and at the zenith of the ladder in the business.

“The major challenge we’re having is the epileptic power supply and also competent staff to manage this business, in particular, my staff is properly trained for at least 3 months before they can attend to clients.”

However, Foluso Oguntola who was once a famous face on the television before embarking on this new journey revealed that her emergence in the beauty industry is borne out of her love for looking good and her passion for the skin care business.

“I was in the Nigeria Entertainment industry for 10 years. I left immediately after I got married, to focus on my family. Secondly, I’ve always had a passion for skin care. I noticed I couldn’t joggle both at the same time and I decided to walk out of the industry and focus on what I’m presently doing. Skin Care gives me joy and it’s making me more money than entertainment could ever,” she asserted.

Oguntola was trained and certified as a medical aesthetician and cosmetologist in the United Arab Emirates, Laserderm Aesthetics Academy, Lagos, Nigeria. She has also undergone a series of researches and practicals to make her relevant in the industry over the years.

Cyndi’s Empire remains one of the foremost aesthetic skin clinics in Nigeria and it’s positioned to provide her clients with the highest quality in non-surgical procedures to treat and improve their skin’s texture & tone and also slow down the aging process.

You can reach Cyndi’s Empire on 08170776500 and IG with this handle @cyndisempire

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