The International Maritime Bureau said Nigeria loses an average of 400,000 barrels amounting to $1.5 billion monthly to the activities of sea pirates. The loss, the IMB said, represents almost 5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. This is even as the country is listed as the Gulf of Guinea’s most dangerous piracy zone for oil companies, with a huge record of attacks in recent years. The report showed that the first quarter of 2020 was marked by a peak in maritime piracy worldwide, where the Gulf of Guinea recorded 21 of the 47 reported attacks where 17 crew members were kidnapped during these attacks in the country. 38 attacks were reported throughout the year worldwide in 2019 where 121 kidnappings for the Gulf of Guinea, 90 percent of the total sea abductions in the world were carried out. The majority of the incidents occurred in Nigerian territorial waters, in particular around the Niger Delta, in Equatorial Guinean waters, but also, to a lesser extent, on the maritime platform of the port of Lagos.
UAC plans to complete an unbundling of its majority stake in its loss-making property arm UPDC by July, subject to coronavirus disruptions that might affect approval timings, the group managing director said on Thursday. Fola Aiyesimoju said UAC would unbundle the stake to shareholders, subject to regulatory approvals. UAC said it upped its stake to 93.9% in the real estate unit from 64.2% following a rights issue, where it converted its bridge loan to equity to conserve cash. UPDC, which widened losses in 2019, got a fresh cash injection of ₦250 million ($694,000) from a share sale in April. UPDC invested in the luxury real estate market at a time when the Nigerian economy was growing. But high-interest rates have hurt margins coupled with economic challenges following a recession four years ago before the ongoing pandemic. The company — with interests in food and restaurants, agricultural feed, paints and logistics — said it expects consumer demand to be constrained and supply chains disrupted with delays to capital investments. UPDC has not paid a dividend to the parent company for some time, but Aiyesimoju said the real estate company was conserving cash especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Helium Health, West Africa’s largest electronic medical records provider, on Thursday said it had completed a $10 million funding round, as investors step up the hunt for health-related startups amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dubai-based Global Ventures co-led the investment round with Asia Africa Investment & Consulting (AAIC), which is backed by Japanese investors. The startup, based in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, also received investment from China’s Tencent in the Series A funding round. “Helium Health has the opportunity to solve large problems through its software and help accelerate healthcare accessibility,” said Noor Sweid, general partner and founder at Global Ventures. The startup said it will use the investment to grow its customer base in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, and to fund a planned expansion this year into North Africa, East Africa, and Francophone West Africa.
The FG has decided to utilise COVID-19 donations from the private sector to fund a 2020 supplementary budget, a document from the ministry of finance has shown. This includes all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the FG towards the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. The office of the accountant-general of the federation, via a new framework, said President Buhari has approved the opening of five COVID-19 Donor Accounts with Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA; and First Bank. This is in addition to the main CACOVID Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria. All the new accounts will be subject to the existing Treasury Single Account arrangement as the new framework covers all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against the pandemic including the Fiscal Stimulus Package. The donation, which includes that collected under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 Fund domiciled at the CBN was also to mitigate the social and economic effects of the pandemic on the Nigerian citizens at large including donations. Finance minister Zainab Ahmed, according to the framework, may liaise with the National Assembly for the passage of the 2020 supplementary budget so the funds can be utilised based on estimated total collection for the year. All the funds collected through the CBN and the five commercial banks shall be disbursed through appropriation, the framework read. As of 17 April, 2020 donations to the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 fund domiciled at the CBN was ₦25.8 billion.