By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A new report released by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has revealed that a total of N69.20 billion was generated from the solid minerals industry in 2015.
NEITI, in the 2015 Mineral Audit Report, explained that this figure was against N55.81 billion made earlier from the sector, which represented 23.98 percent increase.
The agency said in the report that the value of solid minerals exports in 2015 stood at $9.733 million, which was 1.45 percent of non-oil exports for the year.
It noted that Lead and Zinc topped the chart with 79 percent valued at $7.7 million, while 175 ounces of gold valued at $122,000 were exported during the period.
NEITI, which released the report on Sunday after its approval by the National Stakeholders Working Group, which is the board of NEITI, revealed that the solid minerals sector contributed 0.12 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, a marginal increase of 0.01 percent on the 0.11 percent contribution of the sector to GDP in 2014.
The audit report further disclosed that the total production of solid minerals in the country stood at 39.27 million tons.
This, it stressed, represents a reduction of 17 percent from the 47.1 million tons produced in 2014.
The drop in 2015’s production was attributed to insecurity in parts of the country and more stringent approval process for explosives used in mining.
However, while mineral production reduced, government revenues went up in the same year.
“This increase in revenue was due to the growth in taxes collected from the sector and review of royalty rates paid by companies which came into effect within the year under review,” the report stated.
NEITI’s previous solid minerals audit reports had recommended upward review of Nigeria’s royalty rates to align with prevailing industry and present day realities.
“This report shows evidence that the contribution of the solid minerals sector to government revenues and macro-economic indicators is beginning to improve, even if marginally,” said Waziri Adio, NEITI’s Executive Secretary. “The sector could definitely contribute more to revenues, job and wealth creation, exports, imports substitution, industrial development and overall national growth.”
“But there is a sign of progress already,” Adio added. “What we need to do is to build on, deepen and sustain this early promise to ensure that the country returns to being a major mining destination and maximizes the abundant opportunities offered by the sector”.
“Faithful and sustained implementation of the roadmap developed by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and of the recommendations in this report will be necessary.”
The report highlighted the specific contributions by companies and states to the sector revenue growth and development.
“Cement manufacturing companies were the major revenue contributors to the sector, accounting for over 60 percent, while construction companies and real mining companies contribute about 31 percent and 8% respectively.
For instance, three states- Ogun, Kogi and Cross River and the FCT accounted for about 70 percent of the production volumes in 2015. However, Ogun state topped the table with 36 percent.”
According to the report, a total of 4,305 mineral titles were valid in 2015. It was learnt that 204 were mining leases, 657 were for small scale mining, 1,865 were for quarrying licenses while exploration licenses accounted for the remaining 1579.
It noted that 1,220 of the 4,305 mining titles were issued in 2015 alone.
Mr Adio, the NEITI Executive Secretary, disclosed that the NEITI 2015 Oil and Gas report will be released next month. He also reaffirmed the commitment of the Board to ensuring that its reports are more timely.
He said “resources and processes permitting, NEITI plans to clear the backlog of reports by the middle of 2018. Our goal is not just to make our reports more timely but also to make them as real-time as possible to enhance their utility and relevance.”
“We are finalizing the procurement process of the 2016 reports and will soon commence the procurement for the 2017 reports. We are also working hard to automate our data collection and to mainstream the EITI process”.
“Once we achieve this, we hope to then concentrate more on adding extra value to the country through cutting-edge analyses, modelling and forecasting, and setting agenda for more prudent and accountable application of natural resources for the benefits of all Nigerians,” Mr Adio stated.
The just released 2015 solid minerals audit report recognized the progress being made by the government towards repositioning the sector to be a major driver of the economic and revenue diversification agenda of the present administration.
To sustain this growth and further enhance the capacity of the sector to contribute to the economy, the report called for “the speedy release of the N30 billion solid minerals development fund recently approved by the Federal Executive Council to the intended beneficiaries in order to support some of the activities already stipulated in the Roadmap for the sector”.
The report also called for the improvement of the economic value of Nigeria’s minerals across the value chain before export in order to maximize their potentials and contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy, while a ban should be placed on the importation of some minerals like gypsum, barite and kaolin which Nigeria has in good quality and quantity.
As part of measures to curb the activities of illegal miners resulting in loss of revenues to government and ensure the security of field officers, the NEITI report recommended the “re-introduction of mines police to protect the officers, reduce the activities of illegal miners and subsequently increase production and investments in the sector. Government should also build the capacity and equip the states’ mines officers and surveillance teams so they can effectively verify production figures and accurately calculate royalty payments.”
The report underscored the need for synergy between relevant government agencies to ensure that all minerals export including samples have permits duly issued by the Mining Inspectorate Department while urgent measures should be taken by government to curb multiple taxation in the sector in line with its policy on Ease of Doing Business in the country.
NEITI’s first intervention in the solid minerals sector began with the conduct of a scoping study in 2011, followed by an independent audit of the sector in 2012 which covered the years 2007-2010.
The six cycles of audit so far conducted by NEITI in the sector show that Nigeria earned a total of N271.77billion from 2007 to 2015.
The NEITI 2015 solid minerals audit was conducted by Amedu Onekpe & Co, a Nigerian audit firm selected through international competitive procurement process.
The audit covered 481 companies that made royalty payments in that year. The process specifically reconciled the payments made by 42 companies to government receipts. These 42 companies met the materiality threshold of N3million royalty payment set by NEITI which accounted for about 87 percent of the total royalty payments made in the sector, NEITI said.
The report also has comprehensive information on financial flows in the sector, governance and process issues and the implications for revenues tracking, computation and management, it added.
Adrian Grenier Joins Panel Discussion about Green Bitcoin
United Nations Environment Goodwill Ambassador and actor Adrian Grenier, who starred in Netflix’s Clickbait, HBO’s Entourage and 20th Century Fox’s The Devil Wears Prada, has joined a panel discussion about Bitcoin energy consumption and sustainability at the recently concluded CoinGeek Conference New York.
Grenier is also known as a strong environmental activist who helped launch UN’s Clean Seas campaign in 2017 and co-founded the Lonely Whale Foundation, which aims to increase awareness and educate people about the status of the globe’s oceans and marine life.
Grenier also has an impact fund called DuContra Ventures, where he is a co-founder and the chief experience officer, that is focused on four categories: the betterment of humans, investing in communities, the future of finance (where his interest in blockchain comes in), and sustainable consumer goods. The actor has also invested in Blueland, which produces plastic-free consumer cleaning products.
The presence of a renowned environmentalist at a Bitcoin event is somewhat of irony as Bitcoin has been touted by the media in the past months as unsustainable and not environmentally friendly with the massive amount of energy Bitcoin mining consumes.
“I think people that want to dismiss crypto as being unsustainable don’t fully understand the complexity of the opportunity that crypto has for society across the board. It’s not just about mining efficiency, it’s also about how it’s going to improve every industry,” Grenier said.
Grenier’s presence means that he has finally found a Green Bitcoin he can support in BSV. The BSV blockchain is the largest public blockchain that can scale unlimitedly to accommodate the data the world is generating.
“If you had a crypto technology that could actually track the exchange of goods and services within the community and keep the value very hyper-local, there’s a lot less loss. I mean, when you put your money in a centralized banking system, you’re losing a lot of money, especially with inflation and the printing of money. And suddenly, they’re stealing your little value. But when you have a hyperlocal currency, you know what’s being shared, and you keep it serving your community,” Grenier explained.
Unlike BTC that has no other utility except as a speculative investment due to its price volatility, small data blocks at only 1MB in size and low throughput at seven transactions per second (tps), a 2GB block has already been mined on the BSV blockchain and the network is preparing to increase its throughput to over 50,000 tps at transaction fees of less than a penny, rivalling the capacity of the VISA network. These numbers are what make BSV the Green Bitcoin and what make BTC simply unsustainable.
“I think it’s really going to transform media. In my business, like filmmaking [and] communications, it’s going to empower artists to have exchange directly with consumers, get commercialization out of that relationship unless chosen. Even just the social media networks. Like what’s happening with Facebook, they’re literally selling our data for profit, and we don’t see any of that money. I like to see social media networks that allow both users and content creators to have a more autonomous exchange of value,” Grenier pointed out.
As BSV continues to scale, millions and even billions of tps can be realized in the future. And with this kind of powerful technology, can usher in a fully on-chain world—improving business systems and processes and maximizing profits—much like how the Internet Protocol has created the online life people are enjoying today. This kind of benefit to mankind is what more than justifies the huge energy consumption of BSV mining.
Apple Rolls Out New AirPods, MacBooks, Processor
By Adedapo Adesanya
At its virtual MacBook event on Monday, tech giant, Apple, launched the new generation AirPods which will support spatial audio, thanks to new sensors that support features like spatial audio.
The new Airpods sport a new design, closer to the AirPods Pro, but they lack the rubber in-ear tip. The case also charges magnetically using Apple’s magnetic charger MagSafe.
Apple says the third-generation AirPods have more powerful bass than previous models and that the AirPods now have six hours of battery life for listening to audio.
The new AirPods cost $179 (N102,388) and will hit the shelves next week.
Apple launched its first AirPods in 2016 and turned the wireless earphone market on its head.
Apple is the largest AirPods brand as it holds 29 per cent of the market share in the third quarter of 2020, three times that of its closest competitor, Xiaomi.
Also at the event, the company announced new chips, M1 Pro and M1 Max, for new high-end MacBook Pro laptops.
The M1 Max is a more powerful version of the M1 and M1 Pro. It has 57 billion transistors, Apple said, and a 32-core graphics processor, saying that its graphics processor compares favourably to current laptop graphics processors, especially when using less power.
Apple said the new MacBook Pro laptops are completely reimagined as they will come with Apple’s M1 Pro chip, a new processor Apple says has a 10-core processing unit that is 70 per cent faster than its current M1 chip.
The new models have an HDMI port to connect to displays and TVs, an SD card slot for photographers. It also uses a MagSafe magnetic connector, bringing back a beloved feature from older MacBooks.
Users can still charge using the USB-C ports, of which there are three, which support Thunderbolt connections.
It comes in 16-inch and 14-inch sizes with denser screens and ProMotion screens with a higher refresh rate, a feature that landed on the iPhone 13 this year. The displays are using MiniLED technology, the company said.
The new models do not have a Touch Bar touchscreen on the keyboard but have a fingerprint sensor on the power button.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 (N1.1 million). The 16-inch model starts at $2,499 (N1.4 million), representing a slight price increase from previous models.
Apple’s $99 (N56,628) smart speaker, HomePod Mini, will also be available in a variety of new colours including orange, yellow, and blue. Previously, it was only available in white and dark grey.
** FX rates were calculated at N572 per Dollar, the black market rates.
Fidelity Bank to Issue $500m of 5-year Unsecured Notes
By Dipo Olowookere and Adedapo Adesanya
Fidelity Bank Plc has announced its intention to approach the international capital market again for a fresh Eurobond worth $500 million.
A notice to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited signed by the company secretary, Ezinwa Unuigboje, disclosed that the unsecured and unsubordinated notes would carry a maturity of five years and would rank parri passu with all other previous papers sold by the lender.
In the disclosure, Fidelity Bank said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given its approval for the transaction to go ahead as it “has no objection” to it.
The lender said it was requesting the fresh capital “for general corporate purposes, including supporting its trade finance business” and that after issuing the Eurobond, it would be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange to allow it to be traded on “its regulated market.”
Already, Fidelity Bank commenced the planned investor meetings concerning the notes on Monday, October 18, 2021, though the final decision to issue the papers is “subject to finalising the necessary transaction documentation and prevailing market conditions.”
Business Post reports that this development is coming after the Nigerian government raised $4 billion from the debt market last month. Also, another lender in the country, Access Bank Plc, which is listed on the nation’s stock exchange like Fidelity Bank, raised $500 million from the same market at 6.13 per cent. This sale was oversubscribed by investors because of the strong confidence they have in the bank.
Recall that in 2017, about this month, Fidelity Bank, a tier-two financial institution, issued $500 million Eurobond to investors.
Stocks of the company closed flat at the bourse on Monday at N2.74 each. The bank, since the assumption of office of Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe as the Chief Executive some months ago, has witnessed a rising profile in the Nigerian banking industry.
One of her ambitions is to ensure that the lender attains a tier-one status by 2025. At the moment, only five of the over 20 banks in the country are in the category and they are Zenith Bank, Access Bank, GTCO, UBA and First Bank, altogether known as ZAGUF banks.
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