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AKK Gas Pipeline Project at 15% Completion

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$2.8bn AKK gas project

By Adedapo Adesanya

The construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline project is currently at 15 per cent completion.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, at the inspection of the second leg of the project at Karogo community in Igabi Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

“The project is currently at about 15 per cent completion but what is important for us to know is that we are crossing the river Niger, what we call the Ndoni-Aboh river crossing in Rivers and Delta states that will deliver gas from the eastern part to the country into the western corridor.

“That means expanding gas supply into the help line and also making gas ready. We are happy that this project is going on and we will deliver it on course and schedule.

“We have all the assurances of government and particularly that this government is focused on delivering this project so that we clear the transnational gas pipeline which has eluded us.

“By completing the project and expanding the L2 lines and crossing the Ndoniabo River, we would have created a major gas trunk line for gas delivery to our domestic market,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zaniab Ahmed, assured full funding of the project for delivery at the targeted timeline.

She commended the NNPC and the contractors for the commitment and quality of the job done so far with the project.

“I have seen a very high level of work that has been done and the excellent quality, I can see the potential of what will happen to the cities that the project is passing.

“It is going to bring huge businesses and employ a lot of people, already the project is employing people at the level the work is done so far.

“This project is assured in terms of funding, we already secured a loan from China Export and Import Bank of $2.5 billion, the financing has been closed, all that is done now is disbursements for the contractors to continue doing their work,” she said.

The minister urged all stakeholders to continue to collaborate to ensure full delivery of the project at the targeted period.

On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the project symbolises transformation and revolution for development.

“This project will create a corridor of opportunities for Nigeria and drive a lot of development. We just came back from Kano and have seen what gas is already doing, a lot of factories are coming up.

“A lot of factories closed down because of the high cost of energy and running on diesel was unsustainable but with this now, it will be cheaper and cleaner and a lot of businesses will spring up around here.

“It will be quite transformational and a lot of jobs will be created, I see a lot of opportunities growing from this project,” he said.

Business Post had reported that President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the 614km gas pipeline project in June and had promised completion within 24 months of project commencement in July 2020.

The AKK Gas Pipeline is a pipeline planned to transport natural gas from Ajaokuta, in Kogi State to Kano, in Kano State, through several states and urban centres, as part of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline.

Upon completion, the project will enable the injection of 2.2 billion standard cubit feet per day (bscf/d) of gas into the domestic market and facilitate additional power generation capacity of 3,600 megawatts.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

AfDB to Establish Onion Commodity Exchange in Sokoto

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Onion Commodity Exchange

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Sokoto State Governor, Mr Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has revealed that the African Development Bank (AfDB) will soon facilitate the establishment of an Onion Commodity Exchange in the state.

According to the Governor, this was part of the outcomes of a high-level meeting he and some of his Commissioners had with the management team of the bank last week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

A statement signed by his media aide, Mr Muhammad Bello, said the Governor made this known at the closing of a three-day training for budding entrepreneurs in the state last week, adding that his administration was dedicated to supporting indigenous farmers.

The realisation of the plan will make such an establishment the 15th of its kind in Africa and the fourth in the country after the Abuja Securities and Commodity Exchange, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange; and AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited.

In economic parlance, trading in exchanges includes derivatives contracts, such as forwards, futures, options and spot trades- focusing on immediate delivery.

It could also be traded on interest rates, foreign exchange futures, freight contracts instruments and environmental instruments.

According to the statement, Mr Tambuwal revealed that “during our visit to the AfDB, we had engagements with them and agreed that an Onion Commodities Exchange will be established in Sokoto with the help of the bank on the framework and technical support.”

He said the potential for onions trade abounds in the state, thus putting it in the topmost position of states cultivating the commodity in the country.

He cited an example of an individual in Abidjan, who transacts over N2.8 billion onion trade annually from Sokoto-Côte d’Ivoire, elaborating that the result of a survey he commissioned has revealed that from onion trade alone, the state engages in an annual transaction of between N250 and N300 billion.

Over the past few months, several stakeholders have been looking at how to push the onion species produced in the country to one of the best in the world.

Experts note that because of its strong pungency, it is exported to many countries including France, Japan, India, Niger Republic, Ghana and others.

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Economy

GSK Consumer Healthcare Business Not Worth Than £50bn—Unilever

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GSK Unilever

By Dipo Olowookere

Unilever Plc has said it will not increase its £50 billion bid for the acquisition of GSK Consumer Healthcare business owned by GlaxoSmithKline, which was earlier rejected by the company.

In a statement issued last Saturday, GSK confirmed that it “received three unsolicited, conditional and non-binding proposals from Unilever” for the acquisition of its consumer healthcare arm, which is jointly owned by GSK and Pfizer, with GSK holding a majority controlling interest of 68 per cent and Pfizer 32 per cent.

According to GSK, the acquisition value of £50 billion comprising £41.7 billion in cash and £8.3 billion in Unilever shares was below the true value of the business.

The offer was rejected, according to the company, because the consumer healthcare business was “fundamentally undervalued” as the business has great “future prospects”, which was not factored into the proposals.

“The board of GSK is strongly focused on maximising value for GSK shareholders and has carefully evaluated each Unilever proposal.

“In doing so, the board and its advisers assessed the proposals relative to the financial planning assessments completed to support the proposed demerger of the business in mid-2022, including the sales growth outlook,” a part of the statement noted.

But reacting to the rejection in a statement on Wednesday, Unilever said it does not feel that the value of the GSK consumer business is worth more than its £50 billion valuations and because of that, it would not increase it.

“We note the recently shared financial assumptions from the current owners of GSK Consumer Healthcare and have determined that it does not change our view on fundamental value,” the statement said.

Unilever said, “Accordingly, we will not increase our offer above £50 billion,” noting that it will continue to maintain “strict financial discipline to ensure that acquisitions create value for our shareholders.”

“Unilever also reiterates its commitment to continuing to improve the performance of its existing portfolio through its ongoing focus on operational excellence, its upcoming reorganisation and by rotating the portfolio to higher growth categories,” it added.

Unilever and GSK both have subsidiaries in Nigeria and are also listed on the local stock exchange.

Business Post reports that on Wednesday, shares of Unilever Nigeria closed flat N13.20, while GSK rose by 0.84 per cent to N6.00 from N5.95.

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Economy

Airtel Africa, Others Lift NGX All-Share Index Above 45,000 Points

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NSE All-Share Index

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited appreciated by 1.73 per cent on Wednesday amid interest in some blue-chips equities trading on the platform, including Airtel Africa.

The stock price of the telco rose by the maximum 10.00 per cent at the midweek session to close at N1,155.50 and was trailed by Cornerstone Insurance, which gained 6.00 per cent to trade at 53 kobo.

Courtville appreciated by 5.26 per cent to quote at 40 kobo, Union Bank rose by 4.46 per cent to N5.85, while Seplat improved by 4.36 per cent to sell for N720.10.

On the flip side, FTN Cocoa topped the losers’ chart yesterday with a price depreciation of 7.69 per cent to trade at 36 kobo, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance lost 7.25 per cent to close at 64 kobo, Regency Assurance fell by 6.67 per cent to 42 kobo, Japaul depreciated by 4.76 per cent to 40 kobo, while Jaiz Bank went down by 4.55 per cent to 63 kobo.

At the close of business, a total of 16 stocks appreciated in price while 17 stocks depreciated in price, indicating a negative market breadth and a weak investor sentiment.

Business Post reports that only the consumer goods sector ended bearish as it dropped 0.02 per cent as the industrial goods sector closed flat, with the energy, insurance and banking counters appreciating by 2.21 per cent, 0.59 per cent and 0.50 per cent respectively.

When the closing gong was beaten by 2:30 pm yesterday, the All-Share Index (ASI) rose by 774.25 points to 45,430.14 points from 44,655.89 points, while the market capitalisation expanded by N417 billion to N24.477 trillion from N24.060 trillion.

It was observed that the activity level improved on Wednesday as investors traded 252.9 million stocks valued at N8.9 billion in 4,218 deals as against the 235.2 million stocks valued at N1.9 billion transacted on Tuesday in 4,151 deals, indicating an increase in the trading volume, value and number of deals by 7.53 per cent, 365.28 per cent and 1.61 per cent respectively.

GTCO emerged as the most active stock of the session with a turnover of 25.5 million units valued at N649.4 million, followed by Dangote Cement, which commenced its share buy-back scheme during the session with the sale of 24.5 million units worth N6.5 billion.

FBN Holdings traded 23.1 million shares for N277.2 million, Fidelity Bank exchanged 21.1 million equities worth N57.2 million, while FCMB exchanged 12.9 million stocks for N38.8 million.

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