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Economy

FG Unveils Phases of Autogas Rollout Plan

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autogas rollout plan

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has unveiled the phased plan to convert 200,000 commercial vehicles to run on gas this year.

This followed a meeting between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva and oil marketers in Abuja towards the deployment of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) popularly called autogas in Nigeria.

According to Mr Sylva, the autogas rollout plan is to ensure that it made available alternatives required before the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, stressing that the deployment of autogas was one of such key alternatives.

He also stated that the government would be supporting them with 50 per cent of the conversion kits to fast-track the process, adding that additional support as required would be given, going forward.

“We said we must provide alternative fuel and the alternative that we concluded on was the autogas alternative. To provide it for our people,” he stated.

He added, “Since this agreement between us (government and marketers), a lot of work has been going on and we have come to a certain point where we need to take it further. But we cannot move further without ensuring that you as our partners are fully on board.”

In the framework, the government explained that with abundant gas reserves of about 206.53 trillion cubic feet, a population of about 200 million people, and the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, which eliminated the continuous absorption of petrol subsidy, it was now vital to deploy autogas.

It stated that its priority now was the rapid and strategic introduction of Natural Gas Vehicles as an alternative fuel for transportation in Nigeria in line with the approved National Gas Policy.

“This will pave the pathway to full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector in Nigeria while reducing the effect of deregulation on transportation costs,” the document read in part.

It added, “The Ministry of Petroleum Resources was charged with the responsibility to provide autogas (LPG, CNG, LNG) as an alternative and competitive fuel for mass transportation

“CNG was selected as the fuel of choice because it holds a comparative advantage due to its ease of deployment, its comparatively lower capital requirements, commodity’s supply stability, existing in-country volumes, and local market commercial structure which relies predominantly on the Naira.

“Hence a single track CNG deployment is proposed in the initial phase and other alternatives can be considered as the market attains maturity.”

Three implementation options were highlighted in the document, as the government stated that in the first option, its target was to convert one million public transport vehicles and install 1,000 refuelling centres within 36 months.

For the first 18 months, it targets to achieve 500,000 conversions and 580 refuelling centres supplied by five Original Equipment Manufacturers, among other targets.

In the plan, the government targets to convert 200,000 commercial vehicles this year, including tricycles, cars, mini-buses and large buses.

The cities captured in Phase 1 of the project include Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Niger, and Rivers.

Cities under Phase 2 were listed as Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Plateau. For Phase 3 cities, they were listed as Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Benue and Ebonyi

On the selection criteria for network operators, the government stated that the marketer must own and/or operate a minimum of 21 stations nationwide.

The dealer must own and/or operate a minimum of five stations in each proposed city and must be willing to demonstrate creditworthiness and the ability to pay back within the stipulated time frame.

Senior officials of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, as well as other key players in the downstream sector, attended the meeting.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, explained that marketers were willing to partner with the government and expressed delight in the government’s resolve to support marketers with 50 per cent of the required conversion kits.

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

Sterling Bank Assures Shareholders More Value With New Structure

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sterling bank logo

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Recently, shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc authorised the board of the company to transform its organizational structure into a holding firm to be known as Sterling Financial Holdings Company.

A holding company or Holdco is a company set up for the purpose of making and managing, for its own account, equity investment in two or more companies, being its subsidiaries, engaged in the provision of financial services, one of which must be a bank.

The Chief Executive of Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said with the new arrangement, shareholders would have value for their money as the company would have the opportunity to increase its income streams because of its involvement in new ventures.

He disclosed that the advantages of the newly formed holding company include value creation to maximise earnings through new businesses, agility to optimise for opportunities and adapt to a rapidly changing market, maximise current and future talent potential with opportunities within the group and subsidiaries to nurture and engage its wealth of young and innovative talent.

According to him, the holding company also affords Sterling another opportunity to leverage its successful HEART strategy, which has seen the bank make consolidated investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors, growing the company’s year-on-year profits to record highs despite strong economic headwinds.

With the adoption of a Holdco structure, Sterling now possesses the latitude to make inroads into other sectors within financial services, such as pensions, asset management, payment services, real estate, and different verticals, along with the current banking licenses held by the commercial and non-interest banking subsidiaries, Sterling Bank and The Alternative Bank.

In recent times, the bank has doubled down on digitisation with specialised products through the development and introduction of Specta, OneBank, I-invest, Gazelle and Omni X to fulfil the market’s needs for innovative retail and commercial banking solutions.

On his part, the Chairman of Sterling Bank, Mr Asue Ighodalo, said, “Following the implementation of the scheme, shareholders will exchange their shares in the Bank for shares in HoldCo in the same proportion as their current holdings in the Bank, which will be a regulated entity for CBN purposes.”

He added that the scheme would provide several benefits to the shareholders of the bank, some of which include facilitating diversification into other permissible business lines, thereby promoting growth and enhancing shareholder value and facilitating a consolidated financial strength of the group, which will improve access and ability to raise capital.

It was gathered that upon the final ratification by the regulators, the commercial banking subsidiary of the holding company, Sterling Bank; will continue to operate with its current name as a limited liability company, with shares transferred from the publicly traded company transferred to the newly formed Sterling Financial Holdings Company.

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Economy

Friesland Extends NASD OTC Securities Growth by 0.98%

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Friesland shares

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc extended the bulls’ presence at the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange by 0.98 per cent on Tuesday, September 27.

This expanded the market capitalisation of the bourse by N9.38 billion to N963.94 billion from N954.56 billion and jerked the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) up by 3.19 basis points to end the day at 762.12 points as against the 765.31 points it recorded in the previous session.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc appreciated yesterday by N4.90 to sell at N78.00 per unit compared to the N73.10 per unit it was transacted a day earlier.

Despite the growth posted yesterday by the NASD OTC securities, there was a price loser and it was Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc, which declined by N1.00 to settle at N199.00 per share compared with Monday’s value of N198.00 per share.

During the session, there was a rise in the volume of securities traded by 408.8 per cent to 189,296 units from the 37,205 units transacted by market participants in the preceding session.

In the same pattern, there was a rise in the value of shares traded by 129.1 per cent to N6.2 million from the N2.7 million recorded on Monday.

These transactions were completed in 18 deals, the same amount of deals carried out in the previous trading session.

At the close of trades, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with the sale of 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc stood in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units worth N313.4 million.

The most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis was CSCS Plc with the sale of 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, as FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc was in third place with 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Appreciates at P2P, Falls at I&E, Stable at Black Market

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Naira devaluation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The value of the Naira appreciated against the United States currency in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the foreign exchange market on Tuesday by N2 to close at N740/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N742/$1.

However, it depreciated against the American Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the FX market yesterday by 33 Kobo or 0.08 per cent to trade at N436.33/$1 in contrast to Monday’s value of N436.00/$1.

Data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange disclosed that the value of forex transactions recorded at the spot market yesterday went up by 27.31 per cent or $21.33 million to $99.43 million from the $78.10 million reported a day earlier.

In the interbank segment of the market, the Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling at N463.96/£1 and against the Euro, it also remained unchanged at N416.15/€1 on Tuesday.

In the same vein, the exchange rate of the local currency paired with the greenback closed flat at the parallel market yesterday at N722/$1.

Meanwhile, the digital currency market was bearish yesterday, with Bitcoin (BTC) falling below the $20,000 mark again after it managed to rise above that level a day earlier.

On Tuesday, its value went down by 6.5 per cent to close at $18,765.50 as Ripple (XRP) recorded a 10.1 per cent slump to trade at $0.4282.

Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go down by 6.9 per cent to sell at $1,284.29, Solana (SOL) recorded a 6.5 per cent slide to quote at $32.44, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 5.6 per cent decline to settle at $0.4312, Binance Coin (BNB) shed 5.1 per cent to sell for $270.03, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 5.0 per cent to trade at $52.07, and Dogecoin (DOGE) saw a 4.5 per cent slump to trade $0.0594.

But Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00.a

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