Business Directory – Africa Investment News The Investing News Source for Investors in Africa Wed, 16 May 2018 05:16:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Business Directory – Africa Investment News 32 32 Nigeria: Restoration of N11 Billion Infrastructure in North East to Reduce Food Prices – Fashola Wed, 16 May 2018 05:16:15 +0000

Yola — The rehabilitation of the damaged electricity infrastructure by Boko Haram insurgency in North-East, estimated at about N11 billion, will enable the country see reduction in inflation, especially prices of food and address rising poverty.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who stated this yesterday at the monthly power sector meeting in Yola, said 80 per cent of the devastation had been fixed.

The repairs, according to him, would enable the country restore the international network that supplies electricity to Niger Republic and boost agricultural output from the region.

According to him, a lot of work has been done in places like Magali, Maiduguri, Borno, Mobi, Danboa between the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC).

Fashola, who also disclosed that government had retained 40 per cent share in the 11 DisCos, leaving 60 per cent to private owners, said it would invest about N72 billion in the firms to expand power grid.

He was also optimistic of incremental power supply across the country, saying that players in the power sector must raise their games in the services offered to consumers, especially as the raining season sets in.

Managing Director, Yola electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), Baba Mustapha, who put estimate of facilities destroyed by Boko Haram at N11 billion, said most of the facilities had been fixed by the state and Federal Government.

Besides, Managing Director of TCN, Usman Gur, said transmission capacity in Nigeria would hit 9,000 megawatts (mw) by December from the current capacity of 7,000mw.

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Nigeria: Govt Promises Early Completion of N22.3 Billion Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway Wed, 16 May 2018 05:14:10 +0000

The Federal Government has pledged early completion of Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta expressway to fasten socio-economic growth and international trade within Ogun and Lagos corridors.

The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the about 80 kilometres road was last week awarded by the Federal Government to Julius Berger Plc at the cost of N22.38 billion.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who spoke at the flag-off of the road reconstruction at kilometre zero, Ile-Zik, along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, regretted that the road had suffered several abandonments and contract variations owing to paucity of fund.

He, however, stressed the readiness of the present government to prioritise key infrastructure to drive the economy and address the security challenges by ensuring that critical roads like the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road is completed in record time.

Fashola, represented by Director of Highway Construction and Reconstruction, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Olalekan Busari, said the Federal Government was committed to completion of the road because of its socio-economic importance, and as an alternative to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ilorin-Ile-Ife, as well as an international link to Benin Republic.

Fashola emphasised that the re-award of the road signified a new vista as the contractors have been mandated to recover the failed portions alongside the main work for ease of traffic and to boost economic activities and security.

Construction works on the road, he said, would also generate both direct and indirect employment during the construction expected to last for one and half years.

“Already, the contractors have commenced palliative work on mostly damages portions.

He reiterated that the contractors have been mobilised to site with 15 per cent down-payment, representing about N3.8 billion, while there will be need for complete review of the drainage system occasioned by new development on the corridor, including the BRT road being constructed by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

Head of Julius Berger, West Division, Mr. Wolfgang Loesser, who spoke on behalf of the contractor, expressed readiness to complete the project within schedule.

He said the company had mobilised workers to site to carry out palliatives as directed by the government to address critical failed portions to ease traffic and lessen the travel time on the road.

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South Africa: Department of Labour’s Conduct in Parliament Undermines Meaningful National Minimum Wage Package Wed, 16 May 2018 05:12:35 +0000 The Department of Labour has placed further hurdles in the way of a meaningful national minimum wage package, this time in the course of the parliamentary process.

On Wednesday 9 May 2018, the Parliamentary Labour Portfolio Committee reconvened to consider amendments to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill and further amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Unfortunately, the Department of Labour, which played a dominant role in the redrafting process, has, in a number of instances, either ignored the letter or spirit of decisions taken by the Portfolio Committee.

This follows their selective presentation of certain issues to the Portfolio Committee. For instance, certain points raised in various submissions were left out of the summary prepared by the departmenti and others were inaccurately conveyed in the department’s verbal inputs to the committee.ii

This suggests a pursuit of particular outcomes that ignore critical concerns raised by the public and social partners, and thereby undermines the ability of the committee to conduct a balanced engagement on the bills before it.

This comes on top of the department’s sidelining of a number of aspects of the February 2017 national minimum wage Nedlac agreement between the social partners. Limited improvements made to the bills (such as increased fines for repeated offences) are outweighed by key instances were the protections that the national minimum wage seeks to provide workers have been undermined.

After enormous opposition from the department, the Portfolio Committee resolved that the NMW commission must be empowered to update existing sectoral determinations – mechanisms through which the Minister of Labour sets sector-by-sector conditions of employment and minimum wages (above the new national minimum wage) – and institute new ones. This appears in the amendments but in the weakest possible form.

The Bill, for example, does not stipulate that regular reviews of sectoral determinations must be undertaken, as is mandated for the national minimum wage. Further, Section 51(3) of the BCEA amendments stipulates that sectoral determination wages must increase proportionally to adjustment to the national minimum wage, indicating a desire to not manually review and alter sectoral determinations. This is a reversion to the original position of the department that sought to phase out the use of the sectoral determinations.

Regarding instituting new sectoral determinations, the Bill leaves it up to the minister to trigger the investigation needed to create a new sectoral determination rather than allowing the commission discretion to do this off its own bat, thus potentially limiting the institution of new sectoral determinations. This undermines the commission’s ability to co-ordinate a coherent wage policy using the national minimum wage and sectoral determinations in tandem.

Weakening the independence of the NMW commission unfortunately occurs in other instances, despite the department touting the importance of the independence of the commission in their parliamentary engagement.

The Portfolio Committee agreed that the commission secretariat will be housed within the department but the amendments made have further subordinated the commission to the department (instructions not made by the Portfolio Committee). The commission no longer has its own budget appropriated by Parliament but now must have funds defrayed from the department at their discretion.

The commission has limited operational authority over the secretariat despite the Parliamentary Law Adviser flagging this as concerning during the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations. This will potentially impact the commission’s autonomy to undertake research, implement complex aspects of its mandate, such as setting a medium-term target, and to independently manage its affairs, and is most concerning regarding its role in amending and adding sectoral determinations, as noted above.

This is despite all social partners and the Portfolio Committee stressing the value of independence and the international evidence overwhelmingly indicating that the most effective commissions have operational autonomy from government departments. An Achilles heel of the existing Employment Conditions Commission has been its lack of independent resources.

Both the Nedlac agreement and Portfolio Committee agree that the lower levels for domestic workers and farmworkers (R15 and R18 respectively) should fall away after two years unless research indicates otherwise. This agreement was supposed to be reflected in the amendments but does not.

As has been raised previously, the NMW Bill does not guarantee, or even promote, an annual increase. This was agreed to by the Portfolio Committee but the department’s failure to include this in the first place violates the Nedlac agreement which noted:

“It is specifically agreed that the adjustment should not lead to the erosion of the value of the NMW taking into account all of the above factors.”

The Bill only instructs the commission to “consider” as one among other factors “retaining the value of the minimum wage” rather than as a factor that should be specifically promoted subject to considering other factors.

Along with annual increases, the perceived low level of the national minimum wage was due to be offset by a strong medium-term target. This would have allowed government to argue that they were starting at R20 but have an ambitious framework to increase this. However, the medium-term target in the Bill is a damp squib.

In the Bill, the target must only be set within three years, with no mention of what benchmarks to use or when it must be implemented by – if the target is only reached three to five years after it is set, then, in the current formulation, it could take until 2026!

After engagements with unions on the sidelines of the Portfolio Committee a minimal improvement was accepted by the department – changing “within three years” to “within two years”. When the Portfolio Committee lacked appetite for this the department made little attempt to advance this improvement (in other instances the department stridently advanced its position).

On this matter, the Nedlac February agreement reads:

“The NMW Commission to be established will, as part of its mandate, establish a medium-term aspirational target for the NMW and take into account appropriate benchmarks and International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines.”

The lack of guidance given to the commission on establishing the target may lead to the sort of paralysis that characterised the national minimum wage negotiations.

The accommodation of the Expanded Public Works Programme is another element that is weaker than the Nedlac agreement (in addition to the R11 per hour being extremely low). By not including any guaranteed increase in line with the national minimum wage, the Bill ignores that the agreement stipulates that the level should be 55% of the national minimum wage, thereby implying that it should at least increase in line with it.

In what can only be a deal struck with employer organisations, the Bill includes the ability of employer organisations to apply for exemptions on behalf of their members. This does not appear in the Nedlac agreement which notes that the department should be “fully equipped to provide the necessary assistance”.

A range of organisations have opposed this provision on the basis that it risks creating a sophisticated conveyer belt of applications.iii It is worth noting that exemptions are rare internationally and already abused in South Africa.

Further, there is no framework for the exemption regulations (i.e. stipulating broadly what the minister should take into account when making regulations) as there is in Section 50 of the BCEA regarding current exemption mechanisms.

The amendments to the BCEA guarantee that workers must be paid for four hours of work even if they work less – this is an international innovation and a win for workers. However, it is marred by ignoring the Nedlac Committee of Principles agreement that the commission must investigate the feasibility of increasing the minimum number of hours from four to five, something which was captured in an earlier draft of the Bill. (Other ways in which the department has ignored either the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations or Nedlac agreement can be found here.iv)

These examples highlight that not only has the department not (within sensible limits) maximised gains for workers, but has also actively weakened (or distorted) decisions taken by both the social partners and the Portfolio Committee that would have strengthened protections. This cannot go un-noted and the department officials should be asked to account.

The national minimum wage has been promoted since 2014 as the first step in a multi-pronged strategy to reduce wage inequality. This has not found expression in this round of the process. Hopefully the President will announce the next steps in this engagement and the Labour Portfolio Committee will hold the social partners at Nedlac to account.

Parliament still has a window of opportunity to amend the bills to ensure they offer maximum protection to workers and a strong, independent and well-resourced commission to oversee this critical policy intervention. DM


One excuse the Department has given is that the summary only includes “new” points raised that were not contained in the original submissions made to the Department by January 2017. This is not accurate as the summary does contain some issues raised in those previous submissions. The omissions were so egregious that we prepared a supplementary document that was circulated to the Portfolio Committee on the second day of deliberations.

ii Recordings are available on the website of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group and the Department’s verbal inputs can be compared to the original submissions.

iii The Department has touted their changing of Section 15(1) “on behalf of their members” to “on behalf of a member” as responding to these objections. This is disingenuous, does not address the concerns raised, and was a change suggested, during the deliberations, by the Parliamentary Law Advisor as a narrow technical correction.

iv One point worth noting here is that all timeframes for promulgation, reviews and amendments to the level have been removed and it is unclear when the NMW Commission will start operating. Some flexibility is understandable given the failure to meet the 1 May 2018 deadline but it creates a great degree of uncertainty. It is essential for predictability in this respect as changes to the national minimum wage will also impact other wages and collective bargaining in the economy. Therefore new target dates should be transparently stipulated.

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Tanzania: Tizeba – Tanzania Has Sufficient Food Covering 120pc of Demand Wed, 16 May 2018 05:10:32 +0000

Dodoma — The Minister for Agriculture Dr Charles Tizeba has said that Tanzania has sufficient food supply covering 120 per cent of the demand for the current financial year.

Dr Tizeba who tabled his budget on Tuesday, said Tanzania needs 13.3 million tonnes of food including 8.5 tonnes of cereals. But he said the recent assessment indicates that there is a surplus of 2.6 million tonnes.

“With the current situation, the government has continued to issue export permits for farmers and traders to sell maize outside Tanzania,” said Dr Tizeba.

Agriculture contributed 30.1 per cent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 compared to 29.2 per cent in 2016, he said.

He also said the sector’s performance was improving but did not give the figures of the growth rate.

Dr Tizeba also explained that the sector provides 65 per cent of the raw materials in Tanzania and employs 65.5 per cent of Tanzanians.

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Nigeria: Diamond Bank Posts N203.3 Billion Gross Earnings in Full Year Wed, 16 May 2018 05:08:39 +0000

Diamond Bank Plc has achieved nine per cent increase in gross earnings from N187.3billion in 2016 to N203.3billion in 2017.

Specifically, the bank’s audited result for the year ended December 31, 2017, showed nine per cent increase in turnover to N203.3billion from N187.3billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2016.

However, the bank’s profit before tax year-on-year dipped from N3.2billion in 2016 to N2.1billion during the period under review due to high operating expenses.

The Bank’s net fees and commission were down by 1.3 per cent year-on-year. Impairment charges also trended downwards 0.3 per cent year-on-year to N56.8billion following continued efforts to improve the quality of the loan book, particularly in the Oil and Gas mid-stream sector.

Operating costs of the Bank rose by 6.2 per cent due to foreign exchange rate impact following the devaluation of the naira during the year.

“We increased our market share and drove scale through a combination of technology and expansion of our services across additional platforms. For instance, we made additional inroads to the unbanked and under-banked populations with the support of our international partners. In addition, the rapid rollout of products and services for entrepreneurs, and small and medium business owners gained significant traction and is a trend that is set to continue.

“At a macro level, the economic environment improved, albeit marginally. Against this backdrop and Nigeria’s broader positive fundamentals, we disposed of some non-core assets to optimise the use of our resources and focus on the significant potential of our domestic market. By taking this action, Diamond Bank is better positioned to accelerate its growth, productivity and profitability in the short to medium term,” he added.

Furthermore, to restore its technology-led retail banking strategy, he said the bank successfully delivered new initiatives, by building additional ecosystems and the expansion of customer services across different platforms.

These include the DreamVille platform – the first Nigerian gamification portal for banking aimed at improving financial literacy and participation amongst youths.

“Although more work is to be done, particularly in relation to our oil and gas exposure, overall the quality of the loan book has improved. This will remain a key area of focus over the next 12 months. Looking ahead, I am optimistic that due to the actions we have taken as well as an improving economy, Diamond Bank will continue to make good progress and achieve greater profitability.”

Furthermore, to restore its technology-led retail banking strategy, he said the bank successfully delivered new initiatives, by building additional ecosystems and the expansion of customer services across different platforms.

These include the DreamVille platform – the first Nigerian gamification portal for banking aimed at improving financial literacy and participation amongst youths.

“Although more work is to be done, particularly in relation to our oil and gas exposure, overall the quality of the loan book has improved. This will remain a key area of focus over the next 12 months. Looking ahead, I am optimistic that due to the actions we have taken as well as an improving economy, Diamond Bank will continue to make good progress and achieve greater profitability.”

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East Africa: Grab Funding Opportunities, Investors Urged Wed, 16 May 2018 05:07:36 +0000

Arusha — OUT of over 5.5 trillion/- worth of foreign grants donated to boost capital for local industrial developments in five East African countries, only 17 per cent of the sum trickled into Tanzania.

The founder of Tanzania Venture Capital Network (TVCN), Mr Salum Awadh stated that most local investors in the country missed out on the opportunity to get the 2.4 Billion US dollars boost disbursed within a period of six years between 2012 and 2017.

Mr Awadh was speaking here, during a special seminar to educate investors, industrialists and entrepreneurs on alternative ways of raising capital for industrial development, in the country.

According to Awadh, the grants are usually provided for Eastern African countries including Tanzania and its EAC siblings, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as well as Ethiopia but it’s only Kenya which seems to benefit having applied for 60 per cent of the funds, Tanzania got just 17 per cent or around 900 billion/- in six years.

The money was channeled to 108 firms, in the five East African countries but only about 11 companies in Tanzania seem to have benefitted from the grants.

“The grants are simple and straightforward, and they don’t come with strings attached in form of interests or overwhelming collaterals,” Awadh stated.

The Head of Forex Exchange at the National Microfinance Bank (NMB), Ms Gladness Clara Deogratius, said her institution offers financial advisory services prior to firms soliciting grants from abroad or local loans and that is why they also participated in the training.

Tanzania Venture Capital Network is not-for-profit initiative established by SSC Capital, a financial and investment advisory firm, to promote the growth and development of private equity and Venture capital industry in Tanzania.

The TVC Network carries out various activities for creating awareness, knowledge, data, intelligence, advocacy, and organise events and networking for promoting industrial growth in Tanzania.

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Nigeria: Chivita Active Nectar Wins Brand of the Year At LCCI 2018 Awards Wed, 16 May 2018 05:06:33 +0000

A fruit juice brand, Chivita Active Fruit Nectar, was announced Brand of the Year, ahead of other brands at the recently held Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 2018 Awards. The awards celebrate iconic brands and corporate institutions that have distinguished themselves. The LCCI’s Brand of the Year 2018 award is seen as a befitting recognition for a brand that has maintained leadership through superior quality and an innovative approach to integrating active consumer lifestyle and their needs.

The award has reinforced Chivita Active’s growing popularity as a high quality, wholesome fruit juice and an enabler for a healthy active life.

While speaking on the awards, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, stated that the annual LCCI Awards recognises, celebrates and promotes institutions and brands that have exhibited the core values of best business practices, growth through innovations and have positively impacted the society.

“Our Brand of the Year, Chivita Active, emerged the top brand in the highly competitive category following a pain-staking selection process, robust research and extensive market intelligence. The brand has grown through innovation and is positively impacting on society by encouraging consumers to embrace wellness through active health,” he said.

Filled with the power of vegetables and fruits, perfectly blended with the goodness of vitamins and fibre, with no preservatives, Chivita Active is currently one of the fastest growing and sought-after juice brand in the Nigerian juice market.

The LCCI Brand of the Year 2018 Award is the latest recognition for Chivita Active. In 2017, Marketing World Award honoured the brand for ‘Best Use of Packaging’ for its ambient and aseptic packaging, as well as cutting edge designs that allow for the best delivery.

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Nigeria: National Assembly Receives 2018 Budget Report Wed, 16 May 2018 05:05:02 +0000

The National Assembly on Tuesday received the report of its appropriation committees on the 2018 budget.

The report was submitted at both Senate and House of Representatives.

At the Senate, the report was submitted by Danjuma Goje, chairman Senate committee on appropriations.

President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2017 presented an N8.6 trillion 2018 budget before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Passage of the bill was however delayed as the lawmakers accused heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of refusing to submit details of budget proposal and failing to make appearances beforerelevant committees.

The MDAs on the other hand accused the federal lawmakers of demanding bribes as conditions for passing the 2018 budget.

The report is expected to be deliberated upon by the lawmakers before the end of the week. The deliberation is expected to be followed by the passage of the bill.

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Nigeria: Power Sector Records N163.9 Billion Loss in First 131 Days of 2018 Wed, 16 May 2018 05:04:06 +0000

Abuja — A data of the power sector’s operations obtained from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has shown that the power sector lost N163.944 billion in the first 131 days of 2018- January 1 to May 11.

This is coming as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it would not take the current rainy season as an excuse from operators in Nigeria’s power sector for any case of electricity accidents in the country, stating that it would not hesitate to penalise any of them whose operations result to such accidents.

According to the data, the estimated amount lost to insufficient gas supply, distribution, transmission and water reserves in the first 131 days of 2018 is N163, 944,000,000.

The report showed that the country’s power sector has continued to record massive losses in its operations owing to various operational constraints which include inadequate gas supplies, poor distribution and transmission facilities, as well as water reserves management.

In a related development, NERC in a statement from its head of public affairs, Dr. Usman Arabi, in Abuja, explained that in line with its mandate to ensure that electricity is produced and consumed in strict observance of the electricity industry’s health and safety standards, it has noted the impact of rainstorms on electricity installations especially with the onset of the rainy season and would want operators to live up to their responsibilities in this regards.

It stated that the seasonal natural disruptions occasioned by the rainy season has further imposed on the industry operators additional responsibilities to operate in strict compliance with the terms and conditions of their licence and health and safety standards in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

NERC advised consumers of electricity to report damaged and vandalism of electric installation at the nearest service or business units of their electricity distribution companies to avert loss of lives and property.

The agency noted that it was committed to ensure that quality electricity is supplied across the country in safe and reliable processes.

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South Africa: Cosatu Condemns Massacre of Palestinian Children By Israel in Gaza – Supports Recall of SA Ambassador By Our Government Led By the ANC Wed, 16 May 2018 05:03:02 +0000 COSATU is extremely horrified by the unbelievable barbarism of Israel against the Palestinian people. The ruthless massacre of innocent children, women and ordinary Palestinians in Gaza represents the continuation of the colonial, apartheid and racist policy of occupation against the Palestinians.

The genocidal attacks by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza and the simultaneous recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, are a gross violation of International law and the intensification of the occupation.

COSATU has and continues to be vocal against the apartheid rule of Israel, supported by the US in its brutal annexation of lands of other people; from the Golan Heights in Syria to the whole of Palestine to Lebanon.

We firmly welcome and support the South African government for acting decisively and recalling our Ambassador to Israel by our government led by the ANC, with immediate effect, as an expression of both outrage and solidarity to isolate the apartheid state of Israel. We call on all other countries, particularly BRICS, G77, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and AU member states to also isolate the colonial occupying state of Israel.

The world must stop being hypocritical and call Israel for what it is, an apartheid colonial state that murders children and women, steal the land of the indigenous people of Palestine, as well as controls US Foreign Policy and mainstream international media to spread lies and distortions about the reality of the horror in the Middle East. The shame of the so-called civilised world in our era.

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