Osun Seals Dangote Quarry Over N1.5bn Tax Default

The Osun Board of Internal Revenue Service, OIRS Thursday sealed a Dangote Quarry located at Ajebandele, Ayedaade local government area of the state.

The tax enforcement team which was led by the Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Tax and Revenue Matters, Barr. Gbenga Akano and the officials of Osun Internal Revenue Service arrived at the quarry as early as 6:30am, sealing the entrance to the site.

The Dangote quarry is said to have defaulted in tax to the tune of N1.5bn according to documents seen by this newspaper.
It was gathered that the company has been allegedly evading tax since it started operation on the land many years ago.

Explaining what transpired, Akano said the company was owing about N1.5 billion tax.

According to Akano, several letters have been written to the company but yielded no result.

Meanwhile, some private local security operatives suspected to be members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) attacked the tax enforcement team led by Barr. Gbenga Akano. Akano said the team had gone to the quarry but was initially  prevented by the suspected OPC members, numbering about 30 men.

He added that the private security operatives allegedly shot at the officials of the IRS, seized their phones and gadgets and harassed them.

He said the officials phones and gadgets were seized and they were harassed by the OPC. However, a detachment of policemen from the Osun State Command brought everything under control.

The Presidency And Its Failings

By Simon Abah

People aspire to the office of president of a country for many reasons. I hear Aliko Dangote is being pressured by admirers to run for the office. If I were him, I wouldn’t run, because he has a stature greater than that of a president. What does a Bill Gates need the presidency for? His platform extends far and above one provided by the U.S. political scene. They both don’t need political offices to make money, for they are already rich. Power, right? Then you must have forgotten the late Herman Kahn’s (U.S. political commentator) speech-mark, “authority is not power, that’s coercion. Authority is not knowledge, that’s persuasion or seduction. Authority is simply that the author has the right to make a statement and to be heard.”

Now, who was it that said, “the right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously?” You got it right. Hubert Humphrey. Everyone is an oracle and a hero to someone. So forgive me if I goof in this article. Be guided by Humphrey’s advice.

There are many reasons that make people seek political offices. One of which is to serve humanity and solve pressing challenges. Secondly is to make history and have a good time and, finally, to steal. Ken Saro-Wiwa in one of his books categorised President Shehu Shagari’s government of the second republic amongst the worst in modern history. I wonder the performance metrics he used to arrive at that and what he might have said, were he alive in this fourth republic. And so, maybe, Shagari wasn’t prepared for office but went to make history and to have a good time. I have heard people say that there aren’t legacy projects that Nigerians can remember that government for.

In the fourth republic, President Olusegun Obasanjo came to unify the country and to serve. He succeeded up to a point before he veered off, painfully. Today, some of the pangs of disunity that the nation suffers were planted by his actions and were further entrenched by President Goodluck Jonathan. But the quirks of Obasanjo notwithstanding, he never favoured any region above another and was not loyal to persons above national interests. Not even his close friends could be unwieldy. He dealt with them, jailed some and even harassed man. I am not a fan of OBJ though. He let me down in his poor handling of the Sharia crisis caused by a bearded governor who chose to be a cleric in office and not a governor.

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua didn’t aspire to be president but his antecedent showed that he came to serve. I wish he lived longer. His death was a big disservice to this nation because his successor didn’t follow his agenda the way President Lyndon Johnson astutely followed the agenda of President John. F. Kennedy in the United States of America.

Check the OPEC figures of Nigeria’s earnings in oil and gas during the administration of Jonathan without adding earnings in taxes and you would know that Jonathan, like Shagari, went to the presidency to make history and to have a good time. And he really had a good time. Just like Shagari, his lieutenants steered the ship of state. Pardon me, Rowed! They never steered.

I voted for President Muhammadu Buhari because I saw him as a better alternative. A retired soldier who had history behind him and could reform the system, not change it. I never fell for the blarney of his party’s change mantra. It is difficult to change a country without a clear-cut national philosophy. The president in my view came to serve. Regrettably, he hasn’t served well in my estimation and can do better. I hope he isn’t waiting to serve well in his second term, a return which is not guaranteed. He had better seek Jonathan’s counsel on how not to wait for a second term to serve well. I refuse to judge him on the economy. Experts know, that the straits we are in wasn’t caused by him but he seems to be telling his lieutenants how to lead instead of showing them.

While I do not regret voting for him, I do not fancy his style of leadership. Why for instance should he keep pampering certain establishment players at the cost to national growth? We still travel to lands to pray not privately but at a cost to the nation. Why should sections of the country think they are more of stakeholders to the Nigerian project than other people owing to the president’s place of origin caused only by an accident of birth? I can’t understand why he should settle to be a president for four regions instead of six. I can’t understand why certain people aren’t pursued in the fight against corruption but some are. Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (Republican) was once quoted as saying that, “it makes no sense to investigate fellow Republicans.”

This was after Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump resigned over his alleged clandestine contacts with Russian government officials to favour Trump against Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections.

Has Nigeria’s democratic space-grown to that level? Aliko Dangote has what it takes to give PMB a run for his money in the next general elections, should he decide to run. The drawback is that the business tycoon doesn’t have the popular appeal with the masses in the north like PMB and may not be supported by the establishment. Dangote should be another John D. Rockefeller who was quoted to have said:” I believe the power to make money is a gift of God to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess. I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.”
Abah wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Dangote Cement Takes 65% Market Share

Dangote Cement, with plants spread across Africa, has maintained its dominance in the Nigeria domestic cement market accounting for 65 percent of the Nigerian market volume.

Outside of Nigeria, other African plants’ volumes went up by 7.5 percent to 7.0 mta.

The Cement company has in the past months expanded its operations across Africa with the coming on stream of the 1.5 mta integrated cement plant in Mfila, Republic of Congo even as an acting chief executive officer has been appointed for the company.

According to the unaudited results for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the plant which began operations last month has almost doubled the size of the cement sector in the country. The Congo plant brings to 10 the number of Dangote Cement plants across Africa.

Analysis of the results indicated that the company recorded strong volumes in Senegal, Ethiopia and Cameroon.

In the nine months under review, the 1.5 mta clinker grinding facility in Douala, Cameroon sold approximately 938 kt of cement, indicating an increase of 16.4 percent on the 806 kt sold during the same period in 2016.

The company attributes the increase in sales to a number of factors ranging from strong brand recognition, increased point of sales branding, improvements in sales and marketing strategies to higher visibility through trade shows.

Dangote Cement Ethiopia increased sales by 16.8 percent to nearly 1.7 mta in the first nine months of 2017 representing capacity utilization of approximately 88 percent. The cement plant in Pout, Senegal sold 1.0 mta of cement in the period under review, up by 21.7 percent on the comparable period of 2016. This represents almost 89 percent capacity utilization at the factory.

Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Cement, Onne van der Weijde, speaking on the results said, “Our Pan-African operations are performing strongly with excellent sales growth in Cameroon, Ethiopia and Senegal. We are consolidating our success across Africa and have just commissioned our 1.5Mta factory in Congo, the tenth country in which we have established operations.”

“In our key operations in Nigeria we have significantly improved our fuel mix and this has helped increase margins across the Group. It is especially good for Nigeria because most of the coal we are using is mined in our own country”.

The Board of the cement company also announced changes in the leadership of the company with Mr. Onne Van der Weijde, stepping down as the company’s CEO at the end of 2017 having completed three years in this position, in order to return to his home country, The Netherlands. He will be appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Dangote Cement PLC, with effect from 1st January 2018.

The Board expressed appreciation to Mr. Onne for his contribution during his period as CEO in the last three years, in which he managed an important growth phase in the company’s development.

Engr. Joseph Makoju, Honorary Adviser to the Chairman and former MD of WAPCO/Lafarge, will be acting MD/CEO of Dangote Cement PLC.

NAN

Dangote’s Biggest Refinery in Africa Shapes Up

The completion of Dangote Refinery in 2019 will mark another milestone in the Nigerian oil and gas industry as the $11 billion refinery hold the prospect of stopping of refined petroleum products by Nigeria.

The Dangote Refinery will produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products to meet all the country’s refined petroleum products needs as well as export to other countries.

Nigeria spent N2.59 trillion to import refined petroleum products in 2016, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics. founder of Dangote Group of Companies and the richest man in Africa.

Dangote, the promoter, said that the refinery projects were primarily meant to diversify the resource base of Nigeria.

“This is the biggest industrial site anywhere in the world from the fertiliser, petrochemical and refinery plants. The Dangote Refinery will produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products to meet all the country’s refined petroleum products needs as well as export to other countries.

Nigeria spent N2.59 trillion to import refined petroleum products in 2016, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.

FG, Dangote And Apapa Roads

A new chapter in road development in Nigeria is being opened with the announcement that the Federal Government has sealed an agreement with the Dangote Group to reconstruct the Apapa- Oshodi-Oworonshoki expressway and three ancillary routes. It will be gratifying to note even a belated attention to the long-neglected economic routes. Although this is not the first attempt at this model, the pedigree of the concessionaire and the scope of work show positive signs for private sector participation in providing transportation infrastructure in the country.

The routes are: Creek Road to bridge into Tin Can Island, Marine Beach through Ajegunle to Mile 2 on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Liverpool Road, from Point Road to Marine Road Roundabout, and Tin Can Island-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Tollgate of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (leaving out a 7-kilometre stretch “around Mile 2” and the section that Lagos State Government is reconstructing from Oshodi to Toyota interchange and the International Airport Terminal. Each of these routes is a separate engineering project with its peculiar requirements. As for the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the Federal Highways Division has the original consultants’ designs used by Julius Berger for the initial construction. For this new reconstruction project, a major aspect is the costing, especially with the use of reinforced concrete for the surfacing.

There is much wisdom in the choice of cement at this juncture. In 1989, the International Road Federation World Highway Conference in Seoul Korea alerted road builders worldwide that the deposits of heavy crude (that yields bitumen as bi-product) were dwindling and cement would have to replace asphalt for road construction.

Nigeria does not produce heavy (bitumen) crude but imports from Venezuela. However, the country has vast deposits of limestone for cement production. The Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has been canvassing the use of cement for roads.

To encourage the Dangote Group and others with similar interest in private sector participation, the government announced extending the existing period of five years rebate to 10 years. Although this is a matter for financial engineering by experts in the related fields, it is not likely that the number of years can be rigidly determined, as it depends on the finances expended on the construction and the annual taxes that may be due from Dangote Group based on its taxable earnings.

It is a public interest assignment even as this project provides exciting days ahead for lawyers (in drawing up the legal framework) and the special purpose consortium of engineers, quantity surveyors, bankers, insurers and auditing firms of repute.

The Federal Government has expressed hope that the construction would be quickly handled because of its determination to solve the problems of congestion in the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. Can the nation expect a quick result, in this regard, considering the scope of work and the preliminary negotiations? As the major aspect of the projects involves the evacuation route for the nation’s busiest seaports, there must be extensive planning for traffic movement during the construction period. This is where we would like to call on the inter-ministerial agencies concerned and the Lagos State government to be diligent about the peculiarly messy roads to Apapa seaports.

By deciding to enter into negotiations with Dangote Group, the Federal Government has again taken a bold step based on its decades-long recognition that it cannot solely cope with the burden of funding federal roads in the country. It was that realization, which informed the 1997 Road Maintenance Initiative tagged Road Vision 2000 and its Steering Committee charged with the responsibility for setting up a National Road Fund. Although the Abubakar 11-month regime did not promulgate the draft decree into law for the Road Fund, the successive Obasanjo administration excised a part of the recommendations and established the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). That option has not been a significant success, after all.

In February 2008, a stakeholders meeting organized by the Ministry of Transportation and Federal Roads Maintenance Agency recommended setting up the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to handle the details of concessions segments of the federal road network. In June of the same year, the ministry promptly staged the workshop on Road Sector Reform, (in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprises) and drew up a definite timetable for establishing the Road Fund. However, there has been no executive will to set up the road agency. This has been part of executive procrastination that has taken some steam out of needed attention to many economic routes among others.

The Lagos-Ibadan expressway was the first federal road to be concessioned but many factors contributed to the failure. On the other hand, Lagos State entered into a successful concession for the Lekki Expressway involving capital recovery from toll earnings. The Dangote deal, however, promises to be different. Although the Group has not been so visible in the business of road construction, it has a track record of mobilizing capital to deploy the required expertise for major projects. This justifies optimism in a new era for road development in the country.

As the nation awaits the details of the strategic agreement with Dangote Group, we commend this development as a remarkable dimension in Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS). Beyond the profit motive, enlightened self-interest often reiterates an enduring message that meeting the increasing needs of society is the business of business.

 

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Dangote Approves N250m Relief Assistance To Benue Flood Victims

Chairman, National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, says he has provided N250 million as relief assistance to victims of the devastating flood in Benue State.

Dangote said on Sunday in Lagos that this was in response to the request by the Benue State Government.

He said that the committee had also approved the release of one of its completed IDP Hostels in the state as a temporary shelter for some of the displaced people.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan had on Oct. 11, 2012, inaugurated the Dangote-led 34-member National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation.

The committee was charged with raising additional funds to support the government’s efforts to provide adequate relief and post-impact rehabilitation to persons and communities affected by floods in the country.

Dangote said the State Emergency Management Agency had disclosed that more than 110,000 people in 24 communities, including Makurdi, were displaced by the recent flood in Benue.

The committee chairman said that asides the donation to Benue, his committee had also donated N150 million to provide relief assistance to flood victims in Anambra,

Dangote, in a statement by Mr. Sunday Esan of the Corporate Communication Department of Dangote Group, said that the committee had also released N118 million to the National Emergency Management Agency.

He said that this was to augment the N1.6 billion released by the Federal Government for procurement of food and non-food relief materials in aid of flood victims in 16 states.

According to him, the states are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Abuja FCT, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, and Sokoto.

He said that the committee was currently implementing the various projects in the 24 states affected by the 2012 nationwide floods.

Dangote said that the rationale behind the projects was to assist the benefiting states to better handle future emergencies, including flooding.

 

Billionaires list: Dangote, Adenuga gain, Bezos overtakes Bill Gates

The President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, saw his net worth increase by $162m to $16.2bn on Thursday, as the Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, briefly overtook Microsoft’s Bill Gates to claim the title of the world’s richest person.

According to a real-time billionaires’ index compiled by Forbes, the net worth of the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga, rose by $7m to $6.2bn.

The net worth of the Founder and Executive Chairman, Famfa Oil Limited, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, was unchanged at $1.6bn.

Bezos leapfrogged Gates, who has been the richest man on the planet since 2013, after a rise in the share price of Amazon ahead of its latest results due later on Thursday.

According to the Forbes’ index, the rise pushed the value of Bezos’s fortune to $91bn, compared with Gates’ wealth of $90bn.

But as Amazon shares fell back, Gates regained the top spot.

Their riches are calculated on the share prices of their respective companies and at the current values, Bezos’s stake is twice as big as the carmaker Ford.

Amazon shares have soared this year, making the company worth more than $500bn and boosting Bezos’s wealth, as he owns 17 per cent of the company, according to The Guardian.

He also has a number of other investments, including in Google, Uber, Twitter and airbnb, worth more than $5bn.

At the start of 2017, Bezos was ranked the fourth richest in the world, behind Gates, the investor Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega, who founded Inditex, the company behind retailer Zara.

 

Dangote to Invest $800M into Dairy Production in Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has revealed that he plans to invest $800 million in Dairy production in Nigeria. This is part of Dangote’s diversification plans into the Nigerian Agricultural sector.

Nigeria’s economy has suffered greatly from the fall in oil price. This affected the naira, which depreciated against the dollar to an all time low. It also resulted in stringent policies being put in place to save the economy from total collapse thereby leading to scarcity of foreign exchange. Following the economic woes as a result of depending on oil for about 75 percent of its revenue, the country decided to diversify its economic activities by looking into other sectors such as the Agricultural sector.

Nigeria has opened the doors of opportunities in the agricultural sector, which has attracted the interest of so many Nigerians, which includes the youths. Most youths have seen agriculture as a source of livelihood owing to the high rate of unemployment and under employment in the country. Prior to this economic downturn, which the country is gradually coming out from, Nigeria relied so much on importing foods there by making the local production to be less appealing.

Recently, Aliko Dangote has also joined the train of invests in the Nigerian Agricultural sector in order to help the government in its diversification plans that will bring the country out of recession. In May, the Dangote Group announced that it was investing about $1 billion in rice cultivation through its out-grower scheme. Dangote has an out-growers scheme where thousands of farmers are empowered with improved seeds and items needed to cultivate rice. A few days ago the company announced again that it was investing $3.8 billion Dollars into sugar and rice production. The conglomerate plans to increase its production of sugar to 1.5 million tonnes a year by 2020 from 100,000 tonnes that it currently produces. It also seeks to add one million tonnes of rice.

Apart from increasing the production of Sugar and rice, Dangote also plans to invest $800 million in Dairy production in Nigeria. The company plans to breed 50,000 cows to produce 500 million litres of milk a year by 2019.

This is a welcome development for Dangote and the Nigerian economy at large. According to research, Nigeria spends about $1.3 billion on the importation of dairy products and Dangote’s investment could help meet up with domestic consumption and if possible export some of its product. With a population of about 180 million people, the country is currently going through a shortage in local milk production, while importing more than 70 percent of its dairy products.

It is also worthy to note that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has shown interest in the development of the Nigerian Dairy market. It would be recalled that the president in the company of a high-powered delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development visited Denmark in May 2016 where he held talks with Arla Foods Denmark on the development of the dairy sector in Nigeria. Although the government identified that there is a long way to go before reaching self-sufficiency in Dairy production. During the visit, the government established that what is required, amongst other things, is a more formal ranching system to improve processes, yield and quality as well as to extract higher value.

Ventures Africa

Dangote Feeds 371000 IDPs

Africa’s foremost businessman, Aliko Dangote has donated food items worth more than N200 million to the Internally Displaced People in Borno State, to complement government’s humanitarian interventions.

The food will take care of an estimated 371,000 IDPs.

He said he had always felt for those in the IDP camps and that the donation became more urgent given that it is Ramadan period.

The business mogul who made the donation of the items through his Foundation, The Aliko Dangote Foundation, pledged that he would be willing to complement any government efforts designed to ameliorate the suffering of the IDPs anywhere.

Chief Executive of the Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, who made the donation and distribution of the food materials on behalf of Dangote, explained that the gesture was part of the Foundation’s humanitarian efforts contributing to the well-being of Nigerians in need.

“This gesture is in continuation of the Group’s efforts to provide succor to Internally Displaced Persons in Borno State”, she stated.

According to her, the decision to bring down to Borno the food items was the demonstration of the Foundation’s undertaking “to ensure that the IDPs also have a successful Ramadan period just as their other Muslim counterparts in other parts of the world. ”

“The Foundation is providing food items worth N200 Million to support the IDPs in the state. Today, the Items the Aliko Dangote Foundation have delivered include: Rice, Spaghetti, Sugar, Salt, Millet, Maize, Noodles, Semolina and Wheat Meal”, she said.

The Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Kashim Shetima, who formally flagged-off the distribution, thanked the Dangote Foundation for its continuous support to the people of Borno state, epecialy to the victims of insurgency.

Said he, “words are not enough to describe how grateful the people of Borno are to Alhaji Aliko Dangote and his Foundation, who has relentlessly come to support and share in our plight in our time of need.”

He asserted that since the inception of the insurgency, the Dangote Foundation remains the largest single individual donor to the IDPs in the state after the Federal and State governments.

Also, the Executive Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency, Engr. Ahmed Satome, said that the Dangote Foundation is unique in the sense that it provides all classes of food required by the IDPs in line with the global acceptable standards.

While commending the efforts of the Foundation, he said that a total of 371,000 individuals will benefit from this Ramadan intervention.

Other dignitaries at the occasion include the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly and other members of the Borno State Executive Council.

It would be recalled that following the report, earlier of unhealthy conditions in which the IDPs live in 2016, Alhaji Dangote visited some of the camps and his Foundation made a jumbo donation of N2 billion and hundreds of millions of Naira worth of food items.

Within a spate of five years, the total amount donated to various camps of IDPs, across the country by the Dangote Foundation has grown significantly to N6.3 billion. The Foundation donated N364 to IDPs in Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states after the 2011 post-election violence which rendered many homeless, while in another breath the sums of N100 million and N60 million were respectively donated to victims of flood disaster in Lagos and Oyo State also in 2011.

NAN

Cameroon Emerges as Africa Battlefield for Big Cement Makers

Cameroun os fast becoming a battleground for international cement makers drawn by an abundance of major infrastructure projects and the end of a monopoly long held by LafargeHolcim Ltd.

Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest producer of the building material, and Morocco’s Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha SA have both announced an expansion of production capacity in the central African country this year, challenging Cimenteries du Cameroun, a unit of the world’s biggest cement maker, LafargeHolcim. Demand for cement is estimated to grow 8 percent a year by 2020 from 3 percent now, according to Trade Minister Luc-Magloire Mbarga Atangana.

“Not only is the essential building material now sufficiently available even in the remotest hinterlands, production trends are steadily sloping uphill,” Mbarga Atangana said in a May 5 interview in Yaounde, the capital. “Our country is currently under construction with major infrastructure projects including ports, dams, bridges, roads, stadiums and housing.”

The arrival in Cameroon of three foreign cement makers — the other is Medcem, a unit of Turkey’s Eren Holding — since the end of Cimenteries du Cameroun’s monopoly in 2012 has come alongside economic growth of 4.4 percent last year, compared with a sub-Saharan African average of 1.4 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. Projects include the more than 300-kilometer (186 mile) dual-lane highway between Yaounde and Douala, the commercial capital, and a deep-water port in Kribi, a southern coastal town.

As the 2019 host of the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament, Cameroon’s government is also spending heavily on stadiums. There’s also a shortage of housing, with the urbanization rate in the country at about 3.5 percent.

Annual cement production stands at 4.2 million metric tons, according to the Ministry of Trade, compared with 1.6 million tons three years ago. That’s before including planned expansion projects, the latest of which was announced by Addoha unit Ciment de l’Afrique last week.

Cimaf, as the company is known, said May 4 it plans to triple the production capacity of its factory in Douala to 1.5 million tons by 2018 to become “a key player” in Cameroon and an exporter to neighboring countries including Gabon, the Central African Republic and Chad. For its part, Cimenteries du Cameroun last year started building a third plant in the country, at Nomayos, near the capital.

Meanwhile, Lagos-based Dangote Cement has this year started construction of a $150 million plant with annual capacity of 1.5-million tons in Yaounde, part of the company’s strategy of expanding outside its home market of Nigeria.

Dangote has been growing market share in Cameroon over the past two years, Paavo Wiro, the company’s country manager, said in an interview. The producer was forced to buy 200 trucks because local truckers initially didn’t want to work with the Nigerian cement maker, he said.

“At the start of 2016, the interest from the local truckers grew again and they came to us,” Wiro said.

Bloomberg

Dangote to Pump N106b into Sugar Refinery

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) on Thursday said that N106 billion would be invested in the company to boost profitability and enhance dividend payment.

Dangote told shareholders at the company’s 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2016 financial year in Lagos that the money would be invested in the next four to six years.

He said the investments, when concluded, would boost the company’s market share as well as dividend payable to the shareholders.

The chairman added that about N101 billion had been committed toward actualisation of the company’s Backward Integration Project (BIP).

“To date, about N101 billion has been committed toward the actualisation of these projects on equipment purchase, land studies and survey, and sensitisation campaign for the local communities,” Dangote said.

He stated that part of the funds was committed to the rehabilitation and expansion of Savannah Sugar Company.

Dangote also expressed optimism that the company’s target to produce 1.5 million tonnes of refined sugar from locally-grown sugarcane in the next six years was achievable.

The industrialist said that the company remained committed to the actualisation of its backward integration plans, and would continue with the effective management of resources to achieve the set target.

He noted that the company realigned the BIP strategy during the year under review, with focus on the full expansion of Savannah Sugar Company, the Greenfield Project in Nasarawa, and the Lau/Tau Project in Taraba.

Dangote told the shareholders that the Nasarawa State Government had approved the project, noting that the company was in the process of cultivating 50-hectare sugarcane nursery at the site.

He said that the board was working very closely with the management to ensure that the projects were executed with financial discipline and integrity.

Dangote said that 2016 was characterised by unparalleled events such as low oil prices, increased inflation rate, depreciation of naira and tight monetary policies.

He added that other challenges experienced during the period were foreign exchange scarcity that affected procurement of key raw material supplies and reduction in consumer spending.

Earlier, Dr Farouk Umar, the President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, commended the board and management for the enhanced performance in spite of challenging operating environment.

Umar also commended the company for increasing its dividend payout to 60k, from 50k per share, and urged the management to ensure sustainability.

Mr Sunny Nwosu, the National Coordinator Emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) also commended the company for the improved performance, and stressed the need for shareholders to claim their dividends.

Nwosu decried the spate of fraud in the market, and called on the regulatory authorities to address the issue. He alleged that unapproved selling of investors’ shares was affecting their confidence in the market.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2016, posted a turnover of N169.72 billion, against N101.06 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2015.

Profit after tax stood at N14.39 billion, against N11.14 billion in 2015, while profit before tax rose to N19.61 billion, in contrast with N16.16 billion recorded in the previous year.

NAN