Category: Business

US-AFRICA-POLITICS-ELECTRICITY-CLIMATE

Elumelu’s firm buys IOCs’ stakes in oil block for $1.1bn

’Femi Asu

Three international oil companies operating in Nigeria have sold their combined 45 per cent interest in Oil Mining Lease 17 and related assets in the Eastern Niger Delta to TNOG Oil and Gas Limited, an integrated energy company founded by Mr Tony Elumelu.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited assigned their interests of 30 per cent, 10 per cent and five per cent respectively in the lease to TNOG Oil and Gas.

SPDC announced in a statement on Friday the completion of the sale of its 30 per cent interest in OML 17 and associated infrastructure to TNOG Oil and Gas for a consideration of $533m.

The oil major said the completion followed the receipt of all approvals from the relevant authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Experts blame insecurity, others as inflation hits 15.75%, 37-month high

TNOG Oil and Gas is a related company of Heirs Holdings Limited and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, both of which have Elumelu as their chairman.

“A total of $453m was paid at completion with the balance to be paid over an agreed period. SPDC will retain its interest in the Port Harcourt Industrial and Residential Areas, which fall within the lease area,” the SPDC said.

The company said it was committed to transfer OML 17 in an orderly and responsible manner to the new owner, which would help to provide a sustainable long-term plan to unlock its full potential.

“As with previous divestments, we will facilitate a successful transition to new ownership. Shell has been in Nigeria for over 60 years and remains committed to a long-term presence here,” said the Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chairman of Shell companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor.

Heirs Holdings said in a statement that TNOG Oil and Gas would have sole operatorship of the asset.

It described the transaction as one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of $1.1bn provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors.

It said the deal also involved Schlumberger as a technical partner and the trading arm of Shell as an offtaker.

OML 17 has a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and, 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional one billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential, according to the statement.

The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Elumelu, said, “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs.

“The acquisition of such a high-quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.

“As a Nigerian, and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. We see significant benefits from integrating our production, with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain.”

Elumelu thanked Shell, Total and ENI for the professionalism of the process, the Federal Government, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPC for the confidence placed in the company.

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Experts blame insecurity, others as inflation hits 15.75%, 37-month high

Nike Popoola and ’Femi Asu

Economic experts have identified the lingering insecurity challenges in food-producing parts of Nigeria as one of the major factors fuelling the surge in food inflation as the country’s inflation rate jumped to its highest level in more than three years.

Inflation rose to 15.75 per cent in December from 14.89 per cent in December, marking the 16th straight month of increases, data released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

The consumer inflation rate in December was the highest since November 2017 when it stood at 15.90 per cent.

The NBS said the composite food index rose by 19.56 per cent in December from 18.30 per cent in November.

“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fruits, vegetable, fish and oils and fats,” it added.

The core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, stood at 11.37 per cent in December, compared with 11.05 per cent in November.

The highest increases were recorded in prices of passenger transport by air, medical services, hospital services, shoes and other footwear, and passenger transport by road, among others, according to the NBS.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, said the inflationary pressures were coming particularly from volatile food items.

He said, “We must recognise that the disruption we have had in the northern part of the country in terms of food production has a direct impact on food inflation.

“We should expect these pressures to continue in the next couple of months. We should expect that the price of diesel will further increase because crude oil price has moved up and exchange rate has also deteriorated.”

A professor of capital market at the Nasarawa State University Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, said the inflation rate for December was exacerbated by the lingering effects of border closure, increase in Value Added Tax, electricity tariffs and the pump price of fuel.

“Insecurity may have also accounted for why the food inflation was highest in a state like Edo. The rate of increase in urban inflation gives cause for worry. This may not be unconnected with the rise in rural-urban migration,” he said.

According to him, given that food inflation remains the major challenge, the inflation rate is expected to moderate this year following the intensification of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s interventions in agriculture and improvements in forex supply, the implementation of the 2021 agriculture budget and transport infrastructure, border reopening as well as improvements in security.

“It is important that the relevant agencies of government plans ahead to tackle flooding issues detrimental to the farming season.”

Analysts at the Financial Derivatives Company Limited, led by foremost economist Bismarck Rewane, had last week predicted that headline inflation would increase by 0.51 per cent to 15.4 per cent in December, describing it as “a hydra-headed monster that has eroded the disposable and discretionary income of consumers”.

“The continued rise in the general price level is driven largely by forex rationing, output and productivity constraints, higher logistics and distribution costs,” they said.

The analysts noted that consumer disposable income had been negatively affected by the hike in electricity tariffs, general reductions in subsidies and improved tax mobilisation.

“We believe the sustained pressure in the food basket is reflective of the impact of the underwhelming harvest season, persistent security challenges in the food-producing regions, and festive induced demand which further widened the demand-supply imbalance,” Cordros Capital Limited said in an emailed note on Friday.

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PTAD postpones resumption of walk-in verification for pensioners

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate has postponed the January 19, 2021 resumption date for walk-in verification for pensioners at its offices nationwide.

It announced the postponement on Friday but gave no new date for the resumption of walk-in verification, adding that the decision was to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The agency disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by its spokesperson, Olugbenga Ajayi, and signed by the management of PTAD.

It said, “PTAD hereby informs the general public that the proposed resumption of the walk-in verification of pensioners at its headquarters and state liaison offices for all pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme earlier scheduled for January 19, 2021 has been postponed till further notice.

“The postponement is in line with the Federal Government’s directive on ensuring safe practice of the COVID-19 protocols, through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.”

The agency stated that pensioners under the Civil Service Pension Department and Police Pensions Department and the Customs would be affected by this suspension.

Others to be affected include pensioners under the Immigration, Prisons Pension Department, as well as the Parastatal Pension Department.

The PTAD, however, assured all pensioners who had requested for the walk-in verification that they would be contacted and scheduled for the exercise when the walk-in verification resumed.

It said pensioners with urgent complaints should send their complaints as emails to the agency or should upload their complaints on PTAD’s website complaint link.

The agency had announced the suspension of its walk-in verification for pensioners on December 10, 2020, and had stated that the exercise would commence on January 19, 2021.

But with the latest announcement on Friday, the exercise had been postponed indefinitely as a result of the recent second outbreak of COVID-19.

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Passenger sues Dana, seeks N1bn damages

A passenger with disability, Dr Chike Okogwu, has sued Dana Air for alleged unlawful infringement of his fundamental human rights on December 20, 2020.

In a letter by the passenger’s solicitor, Wahab Egbewole & Co. dated January 11th, 2021, he sought N1bn damages for alleged unprofessional conduct of the airline that allegedly worsened Okogwu’s underlying health conditions.

The letter addressed to the airline’s managing director titled ‘Discriminatory and unprofessional conduct of Dana airlines against Dr Chike Churchill Okogwu’ outlined how the passenger’s flight was rescheduled on the morning of his flight to 9:15pm.

It read in part, “We are reliably informed by our client that on December 17, 2020,  he booked two business class tickets for his carer and himself for a flight from Abuja to Lagos scheduled for Sunday, December 20, 2020. However, in the morning of the scheduled flight, he received an email from Dana Air notifying him of a rescheduling of the flight to 9:15 pm on the same day.”

The solicitor explained that while his client arrived the airport by 7pm in anticipation of the flight, he was informed by a Dana staff that he could not travel after being earlier issued a boarding pass.

The staff allegedly added that a policy forbade the carrying the passenger in a wheelchair at night.

The letter stated that Okogwu did not plan for a night flight and that it was forced on him by Dana. It also added that it was not communicated to him before he was issued a boarding pass, noting that the policy was discriminatory. This forced the passenger to reach out to the duty manager. However, it was a futile effort.

The letter read, “Though, the duty manager asked our client to return the next day by 7pm in a very rude manner, she failed to give further assurance whether this would not happen again, and the demand by our client to be accommodated for the night in a hotel in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities regulations was bluntly turned down.

“Our client views the conduct of the duty manager as not only unprofessional, unconscionable but also a violation of his rights to freedom.”

When contacted, the spokesman for Dana, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, promised to revert to our correspondent. At the time of filing this report, he was yet to respond to revert as promised.

However, in a press statement by the airline in December, the airline described the passenger’s conduct as violent, noting that he hurt the airline’s staff and destroyed their booking system in Abuja.

It also warned the passenger to be civil in his engagements as the airline would not tolerate any act of violence against any staff.

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Steadily Creating New Frontiers

By Eric ElezuoHe will never cease to create firsts. That is what he was created to do, and Tony Elumelu never disappoints, and his accolades resonate across the globe. In faraway Belgium on November 15, 2020, the man many referred to as chairman of chairmen was conferred with Belgium’s oldest and most important national honour titled: “The honorary distinction of Officer in the Order of Leopold.”

The award is said to be in recognition of his commitment to the eradication of poverty and the economic empowerment of young Africans.

“…the Kingdom of Belgium conferred on me with the honorary distinction of Officer in the Order of Leopold, the country’s oldest and most important National Honour.

“I am humbled by this recognition of the work @TonyElumeluFDN in catalysing entrepreneurs across Africa and will continue to drive the economic empowerment of our brilliant young #Africanentrepreneurs to propel development in Africa,” the distinguished entrepreneur said.Vintage Tony Elumelu is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. A Nigerian national honours holder, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON), and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). It is worth noting that Tony has successfully held various editions of his annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurial Forum with not less than 54 African countries participating each time.Adding another glorious feather to his retinue of feathers, Elumelu and his team of dedicated achievers, have been granted licence to operate new group insurance companies, namely Heirs Insurance and Heirs LifeBorn Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu on March 22, 1963, in Jos, Nigeria, the economist by training, visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist, acquired and turned Standard Trust Bank into a top-five player in Nigeria. In 2005, his corporate reputation as an African business leader was sealed when he led the largest merger in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire United Bank for Africa (UBA). In five years, he transformed it from a single-country bank to a pan-African institution with over seven million customers in nineteen African countries.In 2011, New African magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa, and a year later (2012), he was recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People” by Forbes Magazine.

Following his retirement from UBA in 2010, Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, which invests in the financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, agribusiness, and healthcare sectors. In the same year, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropic organisation dedicated to the promotion of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship, and to enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector across Africa.His stated objective at the formation of Tony Elumelu Foundation was to “prove that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.” The Foundation is charged with the mission of driving Africa’s economic development by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector. As a premier pan-African-focused not-for-profit institution, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of entrepreneurship and excellence in business leadership across the continent, with initiatives like The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP)In a bid to expand his conglomerate as well as his business horizon, in 2011, through Heirs Holdings, he acquired a controlling interest in the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a publicly quoted conglomerate that has business interests in the agribusiness, energy, and hospitality sectors. Elumelu was subsequently appointed chairman of the corporation.His enterprise is not limited to self financed enterprises as he serves as an advisor to the USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum. He also sits on the Nigerian President’s Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC). He is also vice-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) whose formation he was a key driver in, and serves as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Global Food Security.

Elumelu additionally chairs the Ministerial Committee to establish world-class hospitals and diagnostic centres across Nigeria, at the invitation of the Federal Government and the Presidential Jobs Board, engineered to create 3 million jobs in one year. He also serves as a member of the Global Advisory Board of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) and USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa Partners Forum.One will not be wrong to address him as a philosopher as well as he is the originator of the term Africapitalism. According to him, Africapitalism is an economic philosophy that embodies the private sector’s commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investments that create both economic prosperity and social wealth. Elumelu sees Africans taking charge of the value-adding sectors and ensuring that those value-added processes happen in Africa, not through nationalisation or government policies, but because there is a generation of private sector entrepreneurs who have the vision, the tools and the opportunity to shape the destiny of the continent. He insists that Africapitalism is not capitalism with an African twist; it is a rallying cry for empowering the private sector to drive Africa’s economic and social growth.Having studied under Professor Porter at Harvard Business School, Elumelu subscribes to Michael Porter’s concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV). Professor Porter is the Founding Patron of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. In the same vein, CSV refers to the idea that “companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together.” It asserts that “businesses acting as businesses, not as charitable donors, are the most powerful force for addressing the pressing issues (society) face(s).”

Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holding

In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Tony Elumelu the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), a national honour, and in 2006, he was voted African Business Leader of The Year by the Africa Investor magazine and was also recognised as  African Banker of the Year in 2008 by the African Banker magazine. In 2009, the Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua honoured him with a place on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise. Apart from being recognised as one of “Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012” by Forbes Magazine as well as being featured in the New African Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential Africans in Business”. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the Benue State University and an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.In 2013, Elumelu received the Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute (AAI) Awards. He was also named African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards.

Dele Momodu with Tony Elumelu

In addition, ESI-Africa, frequently described as “Africa’s power journal”, named Elumelu in its 2015 ‘ESI Most Influential Figures in African Power’ list, in January 2015.Elumelu is not just a financial wizard; he also writes as well as provides incredible inspiration to writers. Some works that involves him include:How to Excel at Work – Proven strategies for achieving superior work performance by Bili A. Odum -a book inspired by Elumelu’s work ethics.Elumelu has contributed to the Nigeria Leadership Initiative White Papers, writing on Leveraging private sector approaches in transforming government delivery.The Power of Vision: Insights on Tony Elumelu is a testimonial compiled on the occasion of his retirement as Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer at the United Bank for Africa. It contains messages from Aliko Dangote, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Michael Porter, former World Bank managing director and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President of Sierra Leone; Ernest Bai Koroma, former United States Comptroller of the Currency, Eugene Ludwig and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Tony Elumelu, Chairman

He has written about his philosophy and the economic development of Africa for several publications around the world including The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.The TOE Way: A handbook that offers insights into Elumelu’s philosophies, business practices, values and secrets of success, written by the man himself.Tony Elumelu is happily married to Awele Vivian Elumelu, who he married in 1993, and they are blessed with five wonderful girls; Nneka, Ugo, Ogor, Oge and Onyinye.It will not be worthwhile to end this article without stating the humble philanthropist’s one of most important quotes:“Everything I have today is because of Africa, I was born here, went to school here, I work here and I’m achieving some level of financial comfort here.”Sir, for your steadfastness in business and transformation of lives as well as unleashing the Midas magic to anything you are involved in or touched, you deserve once again to be our Boss of the Week.Congratulations sir and hearty cheers to Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life!

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