The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund has signed an MoU with the United States African Development Fund to support 15,000 youth in the state. Through this MoU, both parties will provide $2 million per year
for five years to provide skill development and internship opportunities
to 3,000 youth between the ages of 18-35, yearly. Women will represent at least 50% of the beneficiaries. The acting executive secretary of LSETF, Teju Abisoye, said, “with the recent Labour Force Report by the NBS showing a 6.7% drop in the unemployment rate as well as Lagos state providing the largest number of 740,146 jobs in Q3 2018, it is obvious that the deliberate employment intervention policies of the Lagos State Government are finally impacting on job creation.” The CEO of USADF, C. D Glin, expressed pride to be in partnership with the LSETF. The initiative includes training of participants and provision of internship opportunities over a period of six months and is expected to result in sustainable job and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Heineken Nigeria has announced its decision to increase the prices of its products in an effort to offset the increased cost of production due to inflation pressure and increased taxes. The firm, according to Kolawole Jamodu, Chairman, Heineken Nigeria, expects excise duties to increase by 67 percent to ₦35 per litre of product in the second half of 2019. The company also said it would increase the volume of locally sourced raw materials from the current 57 percent to 60 percent by 2020. The FG announced in April that it would carry out a review of the excise duties imposed on wines and spirits following the former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun’s assertion that the review will increase government revenue and discourage the consumption of the items because of the associated health risks. Adeosun had said the excise duty rates would be spread over a three- year period from 2018 to 2020 to moderate the impact on prices. Paul Abechi, a spokesman for Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, said the FG has approved the review of the excise duties on wines and spirit. Nigerian Breweries Plc, Heineken’s local unit, had reported that its net income dropped by 41 percent in 2018 due to “increased excise duty rates and a challenging operating environment”.

The Western Metal Products Company (WEMPCO) has denied claims that it is planning to close its business operations in Nigeria. The firm, which denied the intention to exit the country, said that its proposed divestment in its Lagos Oriental Hotel was purely a business decision. WEMPCO, however, admitted that the country’s economy is facing tough times and such has negative effects on businesses, but its belief in the “resilience of the economy remains unshaken.” The firm also denied reports that it had relied on waivers from the government to function. It said the WEMPCO Group had relied on FG waivers and has never received special concessions outside of those extended to industries as a whole. It was reported last week that the WEMPCO Group was planning to exit Nigeria after it has shown interest in selling its flagship five-star Oriental Hotel. The report said the firm was offering to sell the hospitality business for $250 million (about ₦90 billion). The firm has been in business in the country for over four decades with established manufacturing companies that produce roofing sheets, galvanised pipes, wire nails, plywood, ceramic tiles and sanitary ware. It is also actively involved in agricultural and hospitality sectors through which it currently employs over 13,000 workers across its 11 subsidiaries.

The FG has ordered the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to make available some machines, seeds and chemicals in its stores to a rice farmer in Bayelsa State at subsidised rates. The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, explained that this is to help solve the identified problems in the farm he visited and to enable optimal production. Lokpobiri was recently on a visit to Peremabiri, Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State to inspect facilities at Tanko Boss Farm, where they plant rice and process it. Lokpobiri, who was impressed by the brilliant effort of the farmer and the level of output in spite of the numerous production and processing challenges faced at the farm, observed severe hard labour on the farm. He noted that the farm could produce a lot more than its current output if suitable machines and certified seeds were applied and made available to the owner.