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Group Accuses Okomu Oil of Using Fake RSPO Certification

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Group Accuses Okomu Oil of Using Fake RSPO Certification

By Dipo Olowookere

Nigeria-based company engaged in processing of oil palm, Okomu Oil Plc, has been accused of deceiving members of the public by falsely saying it has the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificate.

RSPO certification is an assurance to the customer that the standard of palm oil production is sustainable.

Palm oil producers are certified through strict verification of the production process to the stringent RSPO Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production by accredited Certifying Bodies, and can be withdrawn at any time in case of infringement of the rules and standards.

At a press briefing in Benin City, Edo State on Tuesday, a group known as the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FOEN) alleged that Okomu Oil Plc has not met the RSPO requirements and asked the firm to stop parading the certificate.

“Okomu Oil Plc, RSPO certification is a false solution because it does not address environmental and socio problems in a community. The oil firm should stop parading itself as having RSPO certified compliance.

“They are not meeting RSPO guidelines and standards yet they continued to enjoy the advertisement and putting this logo on their signpost. We called on them to remove the RSPO certification from their narrative forthwith,” the group told newsmen at the briefing.

According to the Executive Director of ERA/FOEN, Mr Godwin Uyi Ojo, who addressed the media, Okomu Oil Plc is not amongst the over 3,500 companies, who are worldwide members of RSPO.

He explained that the palm oil giant was not certified by RSPO, but pointed out that its mainstream shareholder firm, Socfin, which controls its major shares, is an RSPO member.

Recall that Okomu Oil Plc and other investors in the palm oil industry in the state last April presented and launched the Nigeria National Interpretation of Round table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to the public in Benin-City.

The communities are located in Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East, Uhunmwode and Owan West local government areas.

“On Socfin’s website there are some certifications Okomu Plc has in Nigeria, but are not directly linked to RSPO certification, covering its acclaimed 36,000 hectares plantation. Okomu Plc is not known to have formally applied to be a member.

“Okomu Oil Plc has no RSPO certification. Still, it publicly claims to uphold RSPO certification procedures in its operations, whereas this does not amount to direct RSPO membership. It does not also suggest the certification of its plantations and socio-economic gauges. Evidently, the company was part of RSPO meeting. The company is not certified by the RSPO.

“Okomu Oil palm company Plc asserts to have been given some certification in the category of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), through a bureau Veritas. Nevertheless, Okomu Plc’s certification status with the main Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), is vague, but the company is hesitant declaring its true standing,” he informed journalists.

Mr Ojo noted that the RSPO categorically state that there shall be no deforestation in areas of oil palm, whether new or expanding plantation, stressing that from Odiguette community in Ovia North-East, Igbobazuwa, Okomu communities in Ovia South-West to Sabo-Gida community in Owan West and Uhunmwode local government deforestation has taken massively.

He maintained that with the continued deforestation, Okomu Oil Plc cannot parade itself as having RSPO certificate.

He further admonished Okomu Oil Plc to stop all forms of oil palm plantation expansion that are detrimental to community farmlands, biodiversity hotspots and historical sites, settle all outstanding cases of compensation arising from destroyed crops and farmlands, halt environmental and rights violations and evictions of communities in its areas of operation and halt using any form of armed military personnel to molest and intimidate the people among.

Meanwhile, efforts by Business Post to reach out to the management of Okomu Oil Plc proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.

However, we promise to intensify our efforts to reach the company to have their reaction to this issue.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Hyde Energy Advocates Ways to Reduce Cost of LPG

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Domestic LPG

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s leading energy trading company, Hyde Energy, has proffered strong recommendations for making Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) affordable and available in Nigeria.

This was discussed at the just-concluded 2nd West Africa LPG Expo & NLPGA Summit 2022 held in Lagos themed Energizing the Future: LPG as a Sustainable Fuel in African Economies as part of efforts to address the sector’s need for significant investments in infrastructure.

The conference, which has continued to gather momentum in Nigeria, is a platform for industry players to engage both indigenous and international stakeholders to attain insight into the LPG market and network with more than 3,000 delegates across the value chain.

The first day of the two-day conference featured a panel discussion where the Chief Executive of Hyde Energy, Mr Oladimeji Edwards, encouraged more collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders in the industry to develop necessary measures that can improve infrastructural development in the sector to reduce the cost of LPG and increase supply.

“To reduce the cost of LPG, it is very important to build infrastructure to a captive market, to take it from truck to skid, to dispensing unit, all the way down to the cylinders, and ultimately at some point, the next generation will reticulate as part of standard code for construction at which point in time, we would have had ample supply of LPG distribution across the country,” he said.

He further revealed that for infrastructural development to come into place, there is a need for all hands to be on deck and show the will to make it happen.

Mr Edwards stated that Nigeria has tremendous gas deposits but there is an inadequate infrastructure around gas resources.

“To reduce imports, adequate investment is required. Gas suppliers are importing LPG, paying in US Dollars, and due to inflation and devaluation this affects retail prices, but with good infrastructure, I assure you that we will have an enabling environment for investment to thrive and everyone will be happy,” he advocated.

Mr Edwards commended the effort of the NLPGA to bring together industry stakeholders to share ideas on contentious topics and share strategies to help Nigeria’s LPG market unlock its incredible potential saying, “this is a brilliant platform for relevant stakeholders in the industry. It is a great event which brings in international and indigenous experts to exchange ideas, opinions, trends and outlook for the future.”

Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing LPG markets in the world with more than 20 per cent average growth per annum for the past 10 years. In 2020, Nigeria recorded a national LPG consumption of 89.91 thousand MT (PPPRA, 2020), with a positive variance of 7.9 per cent above the targeted estimated figure.

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Economy

NASD OTC Securities Exchange Opens Week 0.81% Lower

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unlisted securities exchange

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange opened the week in the negative territory following a 0.81 per cent drop on Monday, June 27.

At the session, the bourse, which admits unlisted securities, recorded a poor outcome following losses reported by three companies — FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, and Food Concepts Plc.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc saw its equity drop N2.96 or 3.09 per cent to N98.76 per unit from N95.80 per unit, CSCS Plc lost 42 Kobo or 2.84 per cent to close the day at N14.38 per share as against N14.80 per share of the preceding session, while Food Concepts Plc went down by 5 Kobo or 5.00 per cent to 95 Kobo per unit from N1.00 per unit.

As a result, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) dropped 6.21 points to settle at 762.06 points versus last Friday’s 768.27 points as the market capitalisation went south by N8.18 billion to N1.003 trillion from N1.011 trillion.

At the market yesterday, there was a jump in the units of securities exchanged by investors to 647,785 units from 323,519 units, implying a 100.5 per cent increase.

The value of securities traded amounted to N5.6 million, 37.6 per cent lower than the N8.9 million achieved at the previous trading day, while the number of trades depreciated by 27.27 per cent to eight deals from 11 deals.

AG Mortgage Bank Plc finished the trading session as the busiest stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 2.3 billion units worth N1.2 billion, CSCS Plc also retained the second spot with the sale of 674.3 million units valued at N14.1 billion, while Food Concepts Plc was in third place for trading 146.5 million units valued at N127.2 million.

When the coin is flipped to the other side, CSCS Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 674.3 million units valued at N14.1 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 10.9 million units worth N3.2 billion, while FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc retained the third place with the sale of 9.7 million units valued at N1.2 billion.

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Economy

Naira Now N617/$ at Peer-to-Peer, N605/$1 at Parallel Market

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Nigerian Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated by N1 or 0.16 per cent against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Monday to close at N624/$1 compared with last Friday’s N618/$1.

At the parallel market, according to data harvested by Business Post from the various traders of forex on the streets of Lagos, the Nigerian currency was exchanged against its American counterpart at N605/$1.

At the interbank market, the local currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling by 20 kobo to trade at N509.82/£1 versus the preceding session’s N510.02/£1 but against the Euro, it lost N1.89 to sell for N439.49/€1 compared with last session’s value of N437.60/€1.

Also, at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment, which is the official market, the Naira recorded a 0.21 per cent or 88 kobo loss against the American Dollar as it was sold at N421/$1 in contrast to last Friday’s N420.12/$1.

The domestic currency was weakened despite a $10.02 million or 6.1 per cent slide in the turnover for the trading day as forex worth $152.96 million exchanged hands compared with the $162.98 million recorded in the preceding session.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market saw the value of TerraClassicUSD (USTC) rising by 33.0 per cent yesterday to $0.0191 as other digital coins monitored by this newspaper struggled for life.

Dogecoin (DOGE) depreciated by 7.2 per cent to trade at $0.0695, Solana (SOL) recorded a 6.4 per cent slide to sell at $37.38, Ripple (XRP) went down by 6.0 per cent to trade at $0.3429, while Litecoin (LTC) followed with a 5.9 per cent depreciation to quote at $54.41.

Further, Cardano (ADA) slumped by 3.8 per cent to settle at $0.4798, Ethereum (ETH) suffered a 3.6 per cent loss to trade at $1,174.74, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 2.3 per cent retreat to sell at $20,642.92, Binance Coin (BNB) declined by 1.7 per cent to finish at $232.0, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) moderated by 0.05 per cent to sell for $0.999.

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