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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Services Provider, has taken its campaign for concerted efforts for the growth of agribusiness and commerce in Nigeria to another level as it wants the bilateral agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States to provide for a Commodity Exchange.
The two states signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on yesterday at the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit held at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe, Lagos. The goal of the pact was to ensure the collaboration between the two states boost commerce and agribusiness and consequently increase the revenue generation by the states.
Speaking at the event during the plenary session on: Growth & Investment Opportunities in Agribusiness – Value Chain Approach, Olugbenga Awe, Group Head, Agric Financing, Heritage Bank, said there was an urgent need for the establishment of a Commodity Exchange; stating that it would provide the platform necessary for the success of the MoU signed by the states.
Awe said if the Exchange was established, it would make future contracts between traders and speculators in both states and others more possible and thereby enhance agribusiness in the country generally. Specifically, he stated that the establishment of a Commodity Exchange would help to put the activities of grain farmers and others in Dawanau market, Kano; and others in spotlight.
According to him, the volume of agribusiness and commerce going on daily in Dawanau market, which is the hub of grains and seeds trading across the world, needs to be complemented by appropriate policies.
Based on this, Awe advised the two states to ensure that the MoU they signed captures the establishment of a Commodity Exchange. Doing that, he stated, would make traceability possible for every produce traded on the floor of the exchange unlike now when grains sourced in Kano or Lagos could be sold and consumed in other part of the country without knowing its source.
Today, goods sourced at Dawanau are, daily, transported to Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Ghana Central African Republic, South Africa, Libya and other African countries. Again, traders from Burma, Dubai, India, China, Britain, America, Saudi and other countries patronize the grains/seeds market for items like Moringa seed and leaf, Sesame seed, Hibiscus flower (Sobo) and other items such as Soya beans, Beans, Cassava, Millet, and Guinea corn without any credit given to their farmers and Nigeria.
Awe therefore said the Commodity Exchange would help to address issues like that, adding that it would also encourage farmers to put in more efforts in planting more grains. 
Similarly, Dr. Sani Hussaini Sagagi, Deputy Country Director, Sasakwa Africa Association, Nigeria; said any country that wants to progress must take cognizance of its population structure when formulating policies.
According to him, the Africa’s population would increase to 1.4 billion in the next 12 years, while it would be 2.5 billion in 2030. Sagagi warned that over 50% of that would be majorly young men and women who would choose to live in urban areas with the motive of getting white collar jobs. He disclosed that there would be food shortage and climate change, which would cause 50% yield reduction in agribusiness.
Sagagi therefore said the two state governments must, as from today, begin to put the mechanism in place to address the social menace that would arise because of the surge in populace. He expressed optimism that the agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States would help a lot in finding solace to the possible challenges that would arise in the future.
Also present at the occasion was Richard Sandall, Senior Private Sector Development Adviser, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Sandall identified financing, security and land as some of the challenges militating against smooth agribusiness in Africa. However, he said the DFID was established with the aim of supporting Africa to address issues like that.
Sandall stated: “Apart from working on alleviating the constraints, DFID also focuses on assisting in formulating appropriate policies that would nip those challenges in the bud”.

BIG STORY

Business: CBN Raises Interest Rate From 24.75% To 26.25%

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The monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 24.75 percent to 26.25 percent.

Banks base their interest rate decisions on the monetary policy rate (MPR), which serves as the economy’s benchmark interest rate.

The rate change was declared at a press conference on Tuesday during the 295th meeting of the committee in Abuja, by CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso.

The benchmark rate will be increased by the top bank for the third time this year.

Since May 2022, the central bank has hiked interest rates eleven times in a row in an effort to control inflation.

However, between May 2022 and April 2024, inflation soared from 17.71 percent to 33.69 percent.

Speaking to journalists, Cardoso said the committee retained the asymmetric corridor at +100 basis points and -300 basis points around the MPR.

He said MPC also retained the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 45 percent for deposit money banks (DMBs) and 14 percent for merchant banks.

According to the apex bank governor, the liquidity ratio (LR) was left unchanged at 30 percent.

Cardoso said the reason for the hike is to tighten inflation, which according to the governor “is working”.

“Following an extensive review of risks and the near-term inflation outlook, the balance of risks suggests further tightening of policy to build on the benefits accrue from previous rate hikes,” he said.

Cardoso said the key focus of MPC at the meeting was to achieve price stability by effectively using tools available to the monetary authority to rein inflation.

Citing the last inflation report, the CBN governor said the efforts by the committee to reduce inflation are having an effect.

“In terms of looking at the inflationary figure over the past year, inflation is indeed getting more and more of an issue. And, frankly, the need to moderate that by saying that any kind of inflation in my view is an issue,” he said.

“However, I think there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that is because as much as we see an increase in the inflationary figures when you go down to the specifics in terms of food, core and headline, you’ll see that it is moderating and decelerating in increment, and that’s the good news.

“Because for the first time, since October we’ve seen a relatively significant moderation in the rate of increase on the news components of inflation that I was talking about.

“I believe very strongly that the tools that the central bank is using are working.

“I’ve said several times, and I’ll say it again, there’s no magic wand. These are things that need to take their own time. They pass through and the effect of the measures in advanced countries, in developing countries, they do take time.”

He added that he is pleased and confident that the figures show that we are beginning to get some relief.

Cardoso also said he believes that in another couple of months, there would be more positive outcomes of what CBN has been doing.

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BIG STORY

Transcorp Power Plc Reports Strong Results Post Listing: N142 Billion Revenue, N52.8 Billion PBT, And Declares N23.46 Billion Dividend

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Transcorp Power Plc, a subsidiary of Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group), announced impressive financial performance at its recently concluded 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM), the first since the Company went public, via a listing by introduction of its shares, on March 04, 2024.

The Company recorded gross earnings of N142.1 billion, a 57.3% increase, compared to the previous year. Profitability remained strong, demonstrating its resilience amidst evolving market dynamics. Profit before tax showed an impressive year-on-year growth, up 84.4%, from N28.6 billion reported in 2022 to N52.8 billion in 2023.

At the AGM, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Emmanuel Nnorom highlighted Transcorp Power’s achievements over the past year, while assuring shareholders of the Company’s commitment to maintaining its exceptional financial results and improving the lives of Nigerians.

He said: “Last year’s strong performance is a testament to the resilience of our business strategies, underpinned by a culture of strong corporate governance. We know that with our strategy and the dedication of our team, we will continue to deliver exceptional value to all stakeholders.”

Speaking on the Company’s performance, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Power, Peter Ikenga, stated that the Company’s success is as a result of the rigorous execution of our strategies and deliberate focus on enhancing operational efficiency.

“As we celebrate last year’s achievements, we remain committed to continuous improvement. This year, our strategic focus is on recovering plant available capacity, enhancing operational excellence and efficiency, and rigorously implementing our plant maintenance schedule. We will continue prioritizing and investing in human capital, aiming to enhance in-house capabilities. Our commitment to incident and injury-free operations remains strong, as we leverage our talent, foster ingenuity, and nurture teamwork. We are determined to build on our successes and leverage strategic investment opportunities to deliver even greater performance and sustainable growth for our stakeholders.”

Shareholders at the AGM lauded the Company’s professionalism and commitment to growing value for shareholders. Mrs. Bisi Bakare, one of the company’s shareholders, commended Transcorp Power for continuously exceeding shareholder expectations. She said: “I am very satisfied with Transcorp Power’s performance. It demonstrates their commitment to creating value for us shareholders, which is what we are all here for.”

Transcorp Power’s social responsibility activities were also commended at the AGM. The Company has contributed to Nigeria’s sustainable development, particularly in the areas of education, community development, and environmental sustainability.

Operationally, the Company’s focus on excellence and optimisation has contributed to its position as a market leader in the power sector. Through strategic investments and operational strategies, Transcorp Power continues to enhance its generation capacity and optimise plant performance.

Transcorp Power Plc is an electricity generating subsidiary of Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group), a leading, listed African conglomerate with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors. Transcorp Power is committed to creating value and driving economic growth, by improving lives through access to electricity and transforming Africa.

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BIG STORY

ICAN, NGX Honour Dangote Cement For Excellence In Corporate Reporting [PHOTOS]

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Dangote Cement has been honoured with the top prize at the inaugural Corporate Reporting Award, jointly organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and NGX Regulation Limited.

The leading cement manufacturer received the Platinum award for excelling across all three reporting categories, showcasing exemplary reporting practices that comprehensively address all relevant aspects of corporate reporting. According to the organisers, the scoring criteria involved a combination of average scoring and assessments from individual judges.

In addition to the Platinum award, Dangote Cement also clinched the Best in Class Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, surpassing other nominees such as Access Holdings, Airtel Africa, ETI, MTN Nigeria, SEPLAT Energy, and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc. Airtel Africa and Seplat Energy were recognized for Financial Reporting and Sustainability Reporting, earning Gold and Silver awards respectively in the overall category.

Edward Imoedemhe, the Company Secretary/General Counsel of Dangote Cement Plc, expressed gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the company’s dedication to corporate reporting standards. He said that the awards will serve as motivation to continually elevate performance in this area.

“We are grateful to the organisers for this honour which is a testament to our commitment to corporate reporting and best practice. We will continue to raise the bar,” he assured.

Olufemi Shobanjo, CEO of NGX Regulation Limited, highlighted the significance of the award in promoting transparency and accountability among listed companies, anticipating a positive ripple effect on both listed and private companies in Nigeria.

ICAN’s 59th President, Innocent Okwuosa, underscored the importance of corporate reporting excellence in attracting capital flows to the market. He emphasized the role of transparency in fostering investor confidence and reiterated ICAN’s commitment to promoting accountability and transparency in the private sector.

“It is generally agreed that capitals will flow to markets that foster greater transparency and this effort is aimed at this. It also re-enforces the public interest mandate of ICAN in extending accountability and transparency to the private sector,” he said.

The maiden Corporate Reporting Award recognized the top 30 most capitalized companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited for the 2022 financial reporting year.

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