By Adedapo Adesanya
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has assured that the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited will commence operations to capacity soon.
Mr Adegbite gave this assurance during the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, stating that efforts are being made to ensure the factory functions before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which is less than two years from now, precisely on May 29, 2023.
He said that the federal government had made effort to ensure that the Russian company that built the steel industry would come to Nigeria to conduct a technical audit of the company.
The Minister said that the Russian team would have been in Nigeria since 2020 for the technical audit but the COVID-19 pandemic distorted the plan.
This, he said, was part of intense efforts being applied by the FG as the minister had earlier said that a 60-man team from Russia would arrive in Nigeria to start a technical audit of Ajaokuta steel.
The agreement on how to revive the steel company was reached during a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2019.
The Russian government had nominated TPE, the original builder of Ajaokuta Steel Company, to conduct the audit of the steel company to ascertain the level of work remaining to be completed on the steel company.
However, the Minister said that the main purpose of the steel company when it was conceived and built was to produce liquid steel, adding that the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) was set up at Itakpe in Kogi State to feed it with iron ore.
He explained that liquid steel would help drive the country’s dependence away from oil as it could be used for building aeroplanes and car engine parts, among others.
“Ajaokuta Steel Company has not been able to produce liquid steel since it was built –the little hurdles we need to address.
“The steel company has worked in the past whereby billet was imported to produce reinforcement but that was not what Ajaokuta steel was built for,” he said.
Mr Adegbite also said that the ministry had recently trained some youths in the metal sub-sector on national development to ensure human capital development with special emphasis on vibrant metals operators.
He said that the workshop was an appropriate strategy meant to launch and mainstream youths into the sector, adding that the three weeks intensive workshop was to work towards the development of the sector.
NDEP, Geo-Fluids Lift OTC Bourse by 0.06%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange recorded a 0.06 per cent appreciation on Tuesday, January 31, spurred by higher buying interests.
In the session, the bourse, which admits unlisted securities, saw improvement in the prices of Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc and Geo Fluids Plc.
NDEP Plc gained N13.00 yesterday to sell at N200.00 per unit versus Monday’s closing price of N187.00 per unit, while Geo-Fluids grew by 6 Kobo to settle at N1.04 per share compared with the previous day’s 98 Kobo per share.
The gains reported by the duo reined in on the N1.07 loss posted by FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, as it closed at N65.00 per unit, in contrast to the preceding session’s N66.07 per unit.
As a result, the market capitalisation of the OTC bourse appreciated yesterday by N520 million to N932.15 billion from N931.63 billion, and the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) swelled by 0.40 points to 709.39 points from the 708.99 points reported on Monday.
Tuesday’s market data revealed that there was a jump in units of securities exchanged as investors bought 20.4 million units of stocks which is 531.2 per cent higher than the 3.2 million units traded previously.
However, the value of securities traded amounted to N29.5 million, 15.3 per cent lower than the N4.9 million achieved a day earlier, as the number of deals went down by 17.7 per cent to 14 deals from 17 deals.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis for selling 321.2 million units worth N317.2 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 35.7 million units valued at N25.7 million, while FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was in third place with 2.0 million units valued at N133.0 million.
Also, Geo-Fluids Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 321.2 million units valued at N317.2 million, VFD Group slid to second with 561,810 units sold for N137.0 million, while FrieslandCampina Wamco Group Plc was in third place with 2.0 units valued at N133.0 million.
Tinubu Lambasts Buhari Over Fall in Naira Value at Forex Market
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023, election, Mr Bola Tinubu, has again criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for weakening the Naira in the foreign exchange (FX) market.
Speaking on Tuesday in Cross River State for his campaign, the former Governor of Lagos State said Mr Buhari’s administration had bastardised the Naira’s value from N200 to a Dollar he met the rate in 2015 to nearly N800/$1 at the moment in the parallel market.
“They (the government of Mr Buhari) moved the exchange rate from N200 to N800 (in the black market).
“If they had repaired it, if they have arrested this, we won’t be where we are today. We will have been greater.
“They don’t know the way, they don’t know how to think, they don’t know how to do [it],” Mr Tinubu, who clinched the party’s ticket for the exercise, said.
This is not the first time the seasoned politician has slammed President Buhari openly.
Recall that a few days before the APC presidential primary in Abuja, he claimed to have helped Mr Buhari chase the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Aso Rock in 2015 after past attempts without success.
He said this in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he also returned to some days ago to accuse the government of working to frustrate his success at the polls later this month through anti-people policies.
“We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis; even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote.
“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally.
“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring a stone and use it to break it; then the kernel will come out. It’s not easy to…
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he said.
MTN, NGX Partnership Has Attracted Younger Investors to Capital Market—Popoola
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, has described the deal signed between the bourse and MTN Nigeria in 2022 as a game-changer, saying it has successfully attracted younger investors to the capital market.
Recall that in February 2022, both parties sealed a partnership aimed at using technology to offer financial securities to retail investors who had stayed away from the capital market.
The two-year deal was sealed to promote financial literacy further and enhance retail participation in the Nigerian capital market. It was made to develop capital market solutions collaboratively, leverage technology to support data dissemination and technology-as-a-service, promote capacity development and eliminate barriers to retail participation in the capital market.
Yesterday, to mark the first anniversary of the collaboration, the chief executive of MTN Group, the parent firm of MTN Nigeria, Mr Ralph Mupita, was hosted to a closing gong ceremony.
At the event, he said within a year of signing the MOU, a lot has been achieved due to the hard work invested on both sides in forging and sustaining a productive partnership:
“At MTN, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure that our customers not only stay connected but can access increasing value and better services through our network, deepening their participation in the digital economy.
“Our collaboration with NGX gave us the opportunity to empower our customer base with the tools and knowledge to engage effectively with the capital market and meet their financial and investment objectives.
“For this, NGX deserves to be commended for democratising access to financial securities and thereby empowering more Nigerians,” he stated.
Also, the chief executive of MTN Nigeria, Mr Karl Toriola, said, “We will continue to identify other areas of cooperation with NGX, and we look forward to a continued mutually beneficial partnership that will contribute to the inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.”
On his part, Mr Popoola commended MTN for its unwavering efforts in advancing Nigeria’s technology landscape through substantial investments in infrastructure and digital transformation.
“We are proud to acknowledge the advancements made through the successful public offering in 2021 and the MoU signed last year. These initiatives have successfully attracted a notable portion of the younger generation to the capital market, aligning with our goal to increase retail participation.
“I would also like to specially acknowledge the efforts of the financial advisers on the landmark offering led by Chapel Hill Denham.
“We are optimistic about the prospects of a mutually beneficial partnership with MTN that will reinforce the Nigerian economy and foster sustainable growth for the African continent,” he stated.
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