By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Traders at the popular Oko-Odo market, also known as Ile-Epo market, have been given one week to put an end to illegal activities perpetrated at the market or risk being shut down indefinitely by the Lagos State government.
This warning came yesterday when leaders of Agbado Oke-Odo Market held meeting at the Lagos House in Ikeja with the state government.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the meeting, lamented that traders at the market were in the habit of displaying their wares on the road for sale beyond the confines of the market, thereby causing traffic gridlock and other environmental nuisance.
He said their activities had reached a level which the state government could no longer condone, hence the need for a final warning.
He said aside causing avoidable and needless traffic, the traders were also in the habit of dumping their refuse on the road, thereby causing environmental and health hazards.
“This is just to come and deliberate on the Agbado Oke-Odo Market because of the situation there. The market has become a stumbling block particularly to those using the road.
“The traders have blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway to the extent that even the contractors working there don’t have place to work because they have taken over the area.
“They cause a lot of traffic gridlock and people coming from Ota or from Abule Egba don’t have the road to connect other areas of the State.
“We have warned them consistently but we are yet to get any result. That is why we have summoned today’s meeting,” Mr Bello said.
“The meeting is basically to call them to order and give them the last warning. The idea initially was to shut down the market today but the Governor decided that we should give them just one week to put things in order,” he added.
He said in as much as government was not interested in shutting down markets, but it would have no choice than to wield the big stick if traders continue constituting themselves as menace to other road users.
“What we are saying is that the government is not interested in shutting down any market because of the economic implication on the people who have to survive and live.
“As a government, we are not interested in shutting down business enterprises and all that, but if it is constituting menace and inconveniencing other people, we will have no choice than to wield the big stick, and that is why we are giving the market leaders the last warning to go and re-order their market.
“The leaders of the market must sit up and look at how to help government because we cannot say because we are trading, we should inconvenience people who go to work from Abule Egba to Lagos Island for instance and to other places and they have to spend hours on that road just because of the activities of the traders.
“Apart from that, we have a lot of filth on the road because the market people just dump their refuse on the road. We don’t want that anymore and that is why we are giving this last warning.
“We don’t want anybody on the road again and whatever we have to do internally as a government, we will not hesitate to do. We will send Task Force and the men of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) to the place to ensure sanity.
“This warning to Agbado Oke-Odo traders also applies to other markets in the State. Any market where their traders are blocking the road and constituting menace to others will be shut down till further notice,” Mr Bello threatened.
Responding on behalf of others, the Babaloja Araromi Agbado Oke-Odo, Mr Mukaila Oyinlola, said as market leaders, they had warned the traders who were in the habit of selling on the road to desist, but their warnings had fallen on deaf ears, adding that the resolve of government was a welcome development.
Also, Iyaloja Araromi Oke-Odo Market, Mrs Dupe Shonola and Babaloja General of Agbado Oke-Odo Market, Mr Abiodun Kosoko, urged government to make examples of the perpetrators of the illegal act, but called for expansion and modernization of the market.
Nigerian Digital Freight Startup MVX Obtains $1.3m
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria-based digital freight startup, MVX, has announced a $1.3 million seed round to tackle the challenge of financing and booking freight operations in Africa.
Investors in this round included Kepple Africa Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures, Founders Factory and some unnamed angel investors.
The new round is coming after the startup secured a $100,000 pre-seed investment from Oui Capital in 2019 and with the fresh disbursement, MVX wants to ease trade finance and freight shipping in Africa by making the process available online.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tonye Membere-Otaji, “We make it easy and convenient for businesses. We handle everything because we have all these service providers in one platform. So, as shippers work with us, MVX works with like seven to ten other service providers.”
Prior to the establishment of the company, Mr Membere-Otaji had worked in the maritime industry but was intrigued by how there was no online marketplace for vessels.
In 2019, Mr Membere-Otaji finally launched the company with CTO Tobi Amusan after securing a $100,000 pre-seed investment from Oui Capital, a pan-African VC firm.
The company was called MVXchange at first and its business model revolved around providing a support vessel booking platform that matched vessel chartering requests made by operators with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs).
But in March 2020, the company made a sharp pivot and tweaked its model due to uncertain oil prices and the pandemic.
“We couldn’t see ourselves doing vessel chartering for the long term because the demand for fossil fuels will definitely reduce over the next few decades.
“We wanted to do something scalable, something that was impactful, and something that we could be proud of in the next 20 years,” he added.
This led to the launch of MVXtransit, a digital freight booking platform, helping cargo owners find deals on moving containers across Nigeria.
In April 2021, the company launched MVXpay, a finance and payment solution to provide trade finance for freight operators. However, both offerings are now rolled into one: MVX.
According to the CEO, MVX wants to make freight shipping and trade finance easier for African businesses by bringing booking and deployment processes online.
The startup has expanded beyond Nigeria and claims that merchants from the West African country, as well as Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda, can use its platform to move freight in and out of their countries.
MVX charges a commission for the services provided, including trucking, warehousing, shipping, and cargo stuffing.
Nigeria Picks JP Morgan, 7 Others for $6.2bn Eurobond Sale
By Dipo Olowookere
Eight companies have been chosen from a pool of 38 bidders to ensure the successful sale of the $6.2 billion Eurobond to be issued by the Nigerian government.
The federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari had informed the National Assembly when it presented the 2021 Appropriation Act that the sum of N2.3 trillion ($6.2 billion) would be required to finance the budget deficit.
After the parliament’s approval, the Debt Management Office (DMO) swung into action by asking interested organisations to bid for the transaction through an open competitive bidding process as stipulated in the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (as amended) and 38 responded.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the debt office said it rigorously evaluated the bids of the companies to ascertain their technical capacities to execute the Eurobond sale.
It said after this process, it found eight of them worthy, with four chosen as international bookrunners/joint lead managers, one taken each as Nigerian bookrunners, financial adviser, international legal adviser and Nigerian legal adviser.
Business Post reports that JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs were picked as international bookrunners/joint lead managers.
Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Limited was taken as the Nigerian bookrunner, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited scaled through as the financial adviser, White & Case LLP was selected as the international legal adviser, while Banwo & Ighodalo was chosen as the Nigerian legal adviser.
In the statement, the DMO said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has authorised these firms to be part of the Eurobond sale, which should start very soon.
“With the approval of the transaction advisers by FEC, the DMO will now accelerate activities towards the issuance of the Eurobonds,” a part of the statement read.
The debt office further said, “The Eurobonds to be issued are for the purpose of raising funds for the new external borrowing of N2.343 trillion (about $6.2 billion) provided in the 2021 Appropriation Act to part-finance the deficit.
“Whilst the government expects a successful outing, it will be mindful of costs and risks (in terms of tenor and pricing) in determining the amount of Eurobonds to issue.”
“Since the Eurobonds are being issued to part-finance the 2021 budget deficit, the proceeds will be used to fund various projects in the budget.
“In addition, the proceeds will result in an inflow of foreign exchange which in turn, will increase Nigeria’s external reserves and support the Naira exchange rate,” it added.
FEC Okays NNPC 20% Stake in Dangote Refinery for $2.76bn
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been given the approval to acquire a 20 per cent stake in the yet-to-be-completed Dangote Petroleum and Petrochemical Refinery in Lagos.
The state-owned oil agency intends to be a minority shareholder in the company, which has the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
Nigeria is blessed with crude oil but this commodity is not refined in the country despite having four refineries. The oil is taken out and imported as premium motor spirit (PMS) commonly known as petroleum and other derivatives.
The Dangote Refinery located in the Lekki area of Lagos State is expected to change this narrative, though efforts are now being made to rehabilitate the public oil facilities to stop petrol importation.
But before then, NNPC wants to be a part-owner of the private refinery being built by Mr Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, according to Forbes.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian government held its weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Osinbajo because of the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in London for medical attention.
This issue of the proposed purchase of a 20 per cent stake in Dangote Refinery by the NNPC was discussed and after deliberations, the council authorised the agency to acquire the minority shareholding for $2.76 billion.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, disclosed that the transaction would be beneficial to Nigerians.
He also said FEC approved the rehabilitation of both Warri and Kaduna refineries for $1.484 billion, noting that Messers Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Limited would do the repair works in three phases of 21, 23 and 33 months.
According to him, 15 per cent of the amount has been paid to the construction firm, clarifying that $897.7 million is for the Warri refinery and $586.9 million for the Kaduna refinery.
“The completion of the rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna refineries is going to be in three phases. The first phase will be completed within 21 months, in 23 months phase two will be completed and in 33 months, the full rehabilitation will be completed,” Mr Sylva said.
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