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How N23 billion in CBN-PPP funds were distributed to 28 companies

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A total of 28 companies have received N22.3billion the Central Bank of Nigeria official launch of the 100 for 100 Policy for Production and Productivity (PPP), an intervention of the Apex Bank designed to stimulate investments in Nigeria’s priority sectors.

The Fund which has the core objective of boosting production and productivity, which will aid efforts to stimulate greater growth of the economy and create employment opportunities was launched by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele in Abuja Monday.

Under this initiative, every hundred days, manufacturers in critical sectors that seek to engage in greenfield projects or in expanding their existing facilities will have access to cheaper forms of credit at single-digit rates, as well as the foreign exchange to procure plants and machineries.

Emefiele disclosed at the launch that specifically, “for this first cycle of the initiative ending today, 243 applications valued at N321.06 billion, spread over key sectors such as agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and services sectors were submitted on the portal.

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“After much engagement, 79 applications were received from banks, valued at N121.87 billion, for projects in six (6) sectors, namely agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, mining, and services sectors. The requests were carefully screened and scrutinized against a set-out selection criterion, which is categorized into production efficiency and scalability; local content capacity; job creation and human capital development; operating sector relevance; and potential contribution to economic growth.

He said following the due screening of the applications received, 28 companies with projects that have clearly articulated proposals were selected for funding. “These projects, valued at N23.20 billion, comprise 14 in the manufacturing sector, 12 in the agricultural sector, and 2 in the healthcare sector.

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“When fully operational, these projects are expected to create over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as generate close to US$125.80 million in foreign exchange earnings. It is important to note that five (5) of the selected projects are greenfield projects seeking to exploit the huge opportunities in key sectors of our economy.”

He said the Programme has the potential to significantly accelerate manufacturing output, promote further diversification of our economy and enable faster growth of our non-oil exports.

More specifically, the PPP will help to reduce the over-reliance on imports as well as stimulate productivity in agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, extractive industries, logistics services, trade-related infrastructure, and renewable energy.

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Speaking on the application that was not successful, Emefiele said: “For the ones that have not qualified, we will go back and review the applications and deal with the issues to enable them to qualify.”

He also disclosed that the Apex bank will engage with commercial banks on the non-oil stimulation facilities in the coming days because there is a need to look into export stimulation in Nigeria.

“We have to make sure that all the transactions are properly recorded to boost export earnings in the country,” He added.

There are no limitations about the sectors. It only just happens that they brought just a few of these sectors.

The governor further hinted that the selection of subsequent beneficiaries will be rolled over every 100 days with new sets of 100 companies and details of these companies will be published in the major national dailies.

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Under the Programme, eligible applicants will be required to submit their applications to their banks, after which, a notification is submitted on a dedicated portal – https://100for100ppp.ng, which has been created to ensure transparency and allow applicants to track the status of their applications.

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Emefiele said for those seeking to invest in new greenfield or existing brownfield projects, the Bank will continue to provide all the needed support, both in Naira and dollars specifically for the importation of plants and equipment to actualize these investments.

He said: “It is pertinent to point out that the foreign exchange support will be solely for the importation of spares, plants and equipment needed to increase production capacities of these companies.

“Let me emphasize that our mission through this initiative is to ensure that priority is accorded to companies who display verifiable progress in our imports substitution and job creation drive. Consequently, we would soon unveil a new FX bidding regime that is market-driven and supports companies that accord utmost priority for our local production and job creation drive.”

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige in his remarks said: “Unless the country gets to be productive, all we are doing comes to nothing.

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“All the CBN innovative finance has paid a lot of attention to agriculture because it is a low hanging fruit and it is in agriculture that you have real production.

“These initiatives align with the federal government drive to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. So we have no choice but to stimulate productivity programme in the country.”

He called for sustained collaboration between the Monetary and the fiscal authorities noting that the economy will suffer the most if they fail to synergize to move the economy forward.

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The Chairman of the Body of banks CEOs and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe in his remarks said: “We take our responsibility to economic development very seriously because Nigeria has for its benefit, a very young population.

“COVID-19 has proved to us the need to come together to support production, increase and reduce import.”

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He said the CEOs will do all they can to support the policy

The CBN Governor presented symbolic cheques to the seven (7) participating financial institutions whose customers have been selected as pioneer beneficiaries under the PPP’s first cycle.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) received a total of N1.1bn. Fidelity bank received N5.7bn. Keystone bank, N998million. Stanbic IBTC N3.3bn. Union Bank, N2.3bn. Wema bank N450million and Zenith bank, N9.2bn

One of the beneficiaries, the Chief Operating Officer of Harvest field and Agro-processing ltd, Adedolapo Adeyemi said: “With the new finance, we will be able to increase production by 60 per cent and employ additional 300 people.

“This is a breakthrough for us and we are really happy and we hope to take the Agriculture sector forward.”

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Emefiele urged the beneficiaries to judiciously use the funds for the purpose for which they had indicated in their applications, as independent monitors and evaluators will be engaged to regularly follow up on the progress of the project, with particular focus on the socio-economic impact of the financed projects on their immediate community and the economy in general.

 

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Port Harcourt refinery begins operation July

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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port-Harcourt refinery may finally commence operations by the end of July after several postponements.

The new date was disclosed on Monday by the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu.

He stated that the development would stimulate economic activities, reduce the price of petroleum products and ensure adequate supply.

Last year in December, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the biggest crude refinery in Port Harcourt.

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The refineries comprise two units, with the old plant having a refined capacity of 60,000 barrels per day and the new plant has 150,000 BPD.

The refinery shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repair works after the government secured the service of a technical adviser of Itay’s Maire Tecnimont to handle the reviews of the refinery complex, with oil major Eni appointed technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, it was reported that the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, stated that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operations in about two weeks.

The NNPC boss disclosed this during a press briefing after he appeared before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

He said, “We did a mechanical completion of the refinery that was what we said in December. We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in two weeks.”

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However, the machinery had yet to begin operations two months after he made the promise.

In an exclusive interview on Monday, the IPMAN official stated that the work done represented a complete turnaround, not just rehabilitation, emphasising that every effort would be made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “Yes when we visited the place, the MD told us that the refinery was almost ready and by the end of July, they would start producing. It has been turned into a new one they changed all the armoured cable to brand new and everything there is almost like a brand-new refinery.

“The turnaround on maintenance is very massive and the job is being done day and night. All hands are on deck to make sure that they meet that target. By ending of July the refinery should be ready.”

When reminded of several promises by the government to kick start the project, Ukadike replied, “Yes, there have been delays but they didn’t tell us any reason for the delay of the last deadline given in April.

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“They are not facing any challenges at all; I can say the refinery is 99 per cent ready.

“What we want is competition. I am very sure that with the two refineries, the price of petrol will be reduced. Dangote is coming soon and the Port Harcourt refinery is almost ready too and that is very good. We need that competition for the benefit of the nation.”

The new timeline coincides with a proposal by the Dangote Refinery to commence petrol production by ending of next month (June).

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The Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, while speaking at the Africa CEO forum annual summit in Kigali, assured Nigerians that following the laid-down plans of the Dangote Refinery, Nigeria would no longer need to import petrol starting next month.

According to him, the refinery can meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand.

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With an average monthly consumption of 1 billion litres, Nigeria currently spends approximately N520bn on the importation of PMS every month.

This means the government may cut approximately N6.2tn yearly import bill.

Commenting, the NNPCL Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Femi Soneye, said regulatory approvals from international bodies were the only impediment stalling the operational commencement of the refinery.

Soneye in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Monday reiterated that mechanical completion had been achieved, and all pipes were operating flawlessly, transporting crude oil supplied by Shell.

He said, “We have said that the mechanical completion has been done and every other thing is done. There is crude oil and all the pipes are working; we are only waiting for regulatory approvals. Like I said, some of our materials and the things we use have to do with nuclear and we need the nuclear authorities to give us approval to use all those things at the site.

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“And some of these approvals come from bodies outside of Nigeria. Until they give us those approvals, we can’t begin operations. We are ready to go but if something happens without it, which would be another issue. Everything has been completed in terms of our work, and once we get those approvals, it will start operations.”

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Real estate firm approves N14.50 dividend

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SFS Real Estate Investment Trust says it will pay N14.50 per share as dividends to its shareholders for 2023.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilodianya, disclosed this during the company’s general meeting held on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Ilodianya, the SFS Real Estate Investment Trust, formerly known as Skye Shelter Fund, a subsidiary of SFS Capital Nigeria, witnessed a 70 per cent growth in net income to N317.5m in 2023 from N186.6m in the prior year.

“Concurrently, we observed a growth in dividend payouts of 71.60 per cent, nearly doubling,” he stated.

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The managing director explained that despite encountering challenging market conditions, SFS REIT consistently delivered dividends every year since its inception.

“In 2023, SFS REIT is proposing a dividend of N14.50 per share, marking this the highest dividend ever distributed in the Fund’s 17-year history.

“To contextualise these achievements, consider an investor who acquired SFS REIT shares on January 1, 2023, at a share price of N77.00. This investor would witness a capital appreciation of N24.35 per share (31.62 per cent), with the current share price standing at N101.35 per share.

“The overwhelming demand for shares has rendered them currently unavailable for purchase, as demand far exceeds supply. A dividend payout of N14.50 per share translates to an 18.83 per cent return compared to the share price on January 1, 2023, resulting in an estimated total return of over 50 per cent annually,” Ilodianya enunciated.

He spoke further that SFS REIT had invested in multiple units within organised and efficiently managed residential estates along the expanding Lekki corridor.

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He listed some notable investments, including Milverton Court Estate, Victoria Crest V Estate, Sapphire Gardens Estate, Maben Phase 2 Estate, Bourdillon Court Estate, Victory Park Estate, and Cromwell Court Estate.

He added that real estate returns remain stable while adjusting to inflation and consistently appreciating under skilled fund managers.

“Within SFS REIT, our Average Occupancy rate exceeds 98 per cent, while the average rental default rate remains below 1.5 per cent. Over the years, we have implemented various Proptech initiatives aimed at optimising rent collection, increasing occupancy rates, and reducing default occurrences.

“Leveraging technology, we have streamlined our property acquisition and disposal processes, enhanced tenant sourcing and appraisal procedures, automated entry/access control, and facilitated electricity vending.

“With 17 years of experience under our belt, SFS Capital Nigeria Limited remains exceedingly optimistic about the future. Positioned strategically, we are poised to implement innovative strategies to expand the fund and enhance its yield. While our current dividend payout of N14.50 per share represents the pinnacle in the history of REITs, we anticipate no decline. Instead, we envision SFS REIT continuing to deliver higher dividends in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.

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Cement price 69% higher in Nigeria than India – Reps C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the arbitrary increase in the price of cement in Nigeria has lamented the cost of the commodity, compared to what obtains in other African countries.

Recall that on March 13, 2024, the House resolved to investigate the incessant increase in the price of cement following the adoption of the motion co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

On February 13, the Federal Government and cement manufacturers agreed to peg the price of a 50kg bag of cement between N7,000 and N8,000.

At the public hearing on the subject matter on Tuesday organized by the House Joint Committee in Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Gaza Gbefwi said there’s a need to address the situation, noting that in most African countries, the price of cement is lower compared to what obtains in Nigeria.

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He said, “Our findings showed that the price of cement is 69 per cent higher in Nigeria than in India, 39 per cent higher in Nigeria than in Zambia and 29 per cent higher than in Kenya given the official exchange rate.”

Speaking at the event, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, assured the manufacturers that the public hearing was not intended to witch-hunt them but an avenue to prefer solutions to the challenges affecting the housing sector, particularly the high cost of cement across the country.

…Details later

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