Tolaram group of companies, makers of Indomie noodles, with has signed a $1 billion deal to build a port. The financing is to close this week for what is expected to be the busiest port in West Africa. According to the Singapore based entity, the project would be the biggest development Tolaram has ever undertaken and a long way from its roots as a textile trader founded by Indians in Indonesia in the 1940s. The firm’s managing director for Africa and grandson of its founder, Haresh Aswani said doing project financing of this scale is “a real game changer” for the company, considering raising $800 million. The new port will be financed with $630 million from the China Development Bank, and $470 million in equity from the state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company, which has a 52.5 percent stake and will build it, he said. This means that 22.5 percent will belong to Tolaram, while the Nigerian Ports Authority will possess five percent, and the Lagos state government owns the remaining 20 percent. The company’s fear, according to Aswani is over the Nigerian government policies that could affect it as it did four years ago when raw palm oil imports were restricted just after Tolaram had spent tens of millions on a new palm oil factory. Tolaram had first ventured into the Nigerian market when it started export Indomie in the late 1980s and has since seen a whole lot of development which includes operation in nine countries and making over $1 billion in annual sales. Despite possessing a major advantage to the state, Aswani expressed his dissatisfaction at the roads that makes it very difficult to transport goods.
The EFCC has charged two Britons for alleged money laundering in connection with the P&ID scandal. James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn pleaded not guilty in an Abuja court to 16 counts of money laundering put forward by the Commission. The judge remanded Nolan in prison until his application for bail is considered. Quinn is at large and Nolan’s defence lawyer entered a plea on his behalf. According to the EFCC, the two men were directors of two companies that the agency alleged failed to report to the anti-graft agency a single deposit of $125,000 into a local account and also failed to comply with local requirements to declare their activities to the trade and investment ministry. The EFCC has also charged a former petroleum ministry official with accepting bribes and failing to follow protocol as P&ID said the EFCC had harassed, intimidated and denied due process to individuals associated with the company and the contract. The trial of the two Britons is scheduled for 20 and 21 November.
Kasapreko, the manufacturer of the popular Alomo Bitters, has lost about $2 million in revenue as a result of the closure of Nigerian borders. The Ghanaian company said this in a report signed by its Head of International Business Development, Francis Holly Adzah. According to the report, the company had managed to transport three loaded trucks to the Nigerian market moments before the border was closed. The other trucks loaded with products have, however, been grounded at the border and its products wasted away. The firm said it lost $1 million in September to the closure, while as the end of October draws near, their checks show a loss of another million dollars, a situation, which Adzah said is getting out of hand very seriously. The company said the situation prompted it to venture into other African regions like Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo, Benin and other European markets so as to offset the loss incurred from the Nigerian market. Kasaprenko has a huge market share in Nigeria as its beverage, Alomo Bitters, is widely consumed by Nigerians. According to reports, in 2018 the company sold 580,000 cartons; 13.9 million bottles of Alomo Bitters in Nigeria alone.
The National Assembly has accused the National Pension Commission of spending over ₦12.283 billion of its Internally Generated Revenue without any approval. The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Pensions expressed concerns when PenCom appeared before them on Monday to defend its 2020 budget proposal. The Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, however, claimed that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation approved the proposal on the utilisation of the revenue accrued to the commission, which the lawmakers faulted, as the action contradicts Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, and Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The chairmen of the committees, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Ibrahim Rurum, with members; Senator Ali Ndume, Nicholas Ossai, Bamidele Salam and Senator Ubok Anang, took turns to criticise the alleged refusal by the commission to submit its IGR to the National Assembly for appropriation. According to Dahiru-Umar, the commission recorded a total sum of ₦4.077 billion as operating surplus that could not be utilised due to the non-constitution of the supervising board. She maintained that the National Assembly only had the powers to appropriate the sum of ₦33,307,782.32 released in 2019 to the commission as subvention, while the IGR was to be approved by the OSGF. The panel, therefore, demanded details of the 386 staff members who collected about ₦9 billion salaries, estimated at an average of ₦2 million monthly per staff member. The documents presented to the committees showed that PenCom realized a total sum of ₦12.283 billion between January and August 2019, out of which ₦8.264 billion had so far been expended on personnel cost, overheads cost and capital expenditure within the period under review. However, the commission had a revenue target of ₦16.676 billion by the end of 2019 from registration fees and penalties, while its expenditure for 2019 was also expected to reach ₦15.37 billion by 31 December.