Ugandan Farmers Laud UN Report Citing Flaws With Bidco
By Dipo Olowookere
Embattled Ugandan farmers fighting threats and land grabbing by Bidco have praised a draft report by UN investigators that calls into question the company’s business practices.
The report is the result of a complaint by the Bugala Farmers Association to the UN’s Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU).
In the complaint, the farmers stated that the United Nations had not performed sufficient due diligence on Bidco before inviting it to join Business Call to Action, which is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The farmers provided evidence that Bidco has engaged in human rights, labour and environmental violations in the Kalangala District of Bugala Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda, where Bidco has grabbed land from smallholder farmers and cut down over 18,000 acres of rainforest to make way for a large-scale palm oil business.
The UN investigators found fault with the decision to invite Bidco into partnership with UNDP: “After the fieldwork and additional research, SECU concluded that the processes employed by UNDP for admission of Bidco were not consistent with UNDP policies.”
The report acknowledges that a partnership with Bidco “could adversely damage UNDP’s reputation and the communities it seeks to help” and Bidco’s activities “may be considered risky”.
Kenya-based Bidco has tried to distance itself from the allegations of land grabbing and environmental destruction in Uganda, but the UNDP investigators found there is a clear link between the company’s corporate structure, overseen by CEO Vimal Shah, and operations in Uganda.
The investigators also determined that Bidco’s claim of not being involved in land acquisition in Uganda is not accurate. Bidco “knew of, relied on, and encouraged the purchase (of land) by the government.”
Bidco Uganda also was “engaged in decisions and discussions related to the purchase,” the report says.
John Muyisa, a representative of the Bugala Farmers Association, commended the work of the UN investigators, who visited remote Kalangala District as part of their research.
“We are very pleased that the United Nations has performed an objective evaluation of its internal processes and determined that it is risky to partner with Bidco. The United Nations is a globally admired organisation, and it is absolutely correct that, as the report says, ‘Communities should be empowered’ and not be trodden upon by predator corporations like Bidco.”
In light of the report’s findings, the Bugala Farmers Association has called on the United Nations to terminate its partnership with Bidco.
Any member of the public can comment on the UN draft report until 7 December.
Dangote Says N300bn Bond Listing Reflects Nigerian Capital Market Depth
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The listing of Dangote Industries Limited’s N300 billion series 1 and 2 bonds on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has been described as an indicator of the depth of the Nigerian capital market.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the conglomerates, Mr Olakunle Alake, said this on Wednesday when a closing gong ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the listing of the corporate debt instrument on the local stock exchange.
Mr Alake, represented by the Group Chief Finance Officer, Mr Mustapha Ibrahim, said, “We are pleased to have showcased the depth and liquidity of the domestic capital market whilst we reflect the strong quality of the issuer, despite the current global market realities.”
According to him, the depth of the market was reflected in the successful issuance of the bond, which was the largest aggregate local currency bond issued in the capital market so far within the year.
He further noted that the listing of the bond recorded participation from a wide range of investors, including domestic pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies and further demonstrated investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s credit reality.
On his part, the Divisional Head of Capital Markets at NGX, Mr Jude Chiemeka, speaking at the event, applauded the listing of the bond, which provides corporates with the opportunity to raise capital.
“The listing of this transaction on our platform not only allows for a more liquid capital market, but it also shows our capacity to facilitate large transactions towards enabling a more robust ecosystem,” Mr Chiemeka said.
He further noted that NGX remains committed to fostering similar transactions through its digital gateways such as this and a confident market where corporates and investors can achieve their respective objectives.
Unlisted Securities Market Closes Flat at Midweek
By Adedapo Adesanya
Trading activities ended in a stalemate on the floor of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange on Wednesday, with no single price gainer or a price loser at the close of business.
As a result of this development, the market capitalisation of the bourse remained intact at N1.03 trillion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) also remained unchanged at 743.15 points.
The unlisted securities market closed flat in the midweek session amid low investor appetite for the market, as attention shifted to the fixed-income market, where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold treasury bills at the primary market, with the stop rate over 14 per cent.
Data from the bourse showed that the volume of securities traded yesterday was abysmally low as it went down by 99.9 per cent to 8,299 units from the 20.1 million units transacted a day earlier.
Likewise, the value of shares traded during the session dropped to N1.2 million, 97.3 per cent lower than the N44.5 million posted in the preceding trading day.
These transactions were carried out yesterday in nine deals, 75 per cent lower than the 36 deals executed on Tuesday.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 482.1 million units valued at N544.1 million, UBN Property Plc occupied second place with the sale of 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc was in third place with the sale of 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
Also, VFD Group Plc ended the session as the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc was in second place with a turnover of 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with the sale of 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
Naira Sells N461.24/$1 at I&E, N764/$1 at P2P, N747/$1 at Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Naira appreciated against the US Dollar in the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) windows of the foreign exchange market on Wednesday, March 30, but depreciated in the black market.
In the P2P segment, it gained N3 against its American counterpart to quote at N764/$1, in contrast to the N767/$1 it was traded on Tuesday as the demand for cryptos, which most traders in this category use the funds to buy, was relatively mild.
In the I&E window or the spot market, the Naira appreciated against the greenback yesterday by 51 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to settle at N461.24/$1 compared with the previous day’s N461.75/$1, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange, with the forex turnover put at $74.31 million.
But in the parallel market, the domestic currency depreciated against the US Dollar in the midweek session by N4 to trade at N747/$1 versus Tuesday’s exchange rate of N743/$1.
Also, in the interbank window, the Naira lost N1.93 against the Pound Sterling to sell at N567.68/£1 versus Tuesday’s N565.52/£1, and against the Euro, it slid by N2.25 to at N499.21/€1 compared with the preceding day’s N496.66/€1.
Meanwhile, the digital currency market swayed to the bulls yesterday as most of the tokens tracked by Business Post ended in the green territory amid better-than-expected consumer confidence figures from the United States.
Data from the US Conference Board showed that its monthly survey rose to a reading of 104.2 basis points, better than the 101 mark expected, lifting Bitcoin (BTC) by 4.2 per cent to $28,519.76, as Ethereum (ETH) rose by 0.5 per cent to $1,788.52.
Solana (SOL) grew by 2.1 per cent to $21.08, Dogecoin (DOGE) gained 1.4 per cent to sell at $0.0751, Litecoin (LTC) increased by 0.6 per cent to $90.14, while Cardano (ADA) chalked up 0.5 per cent to quote at $0.3797.
However, Ripple (XRP) dropped 0.4 per cent to trade at $0.5336, Binance Coin (BNB) lost 0.2 per cent to settle at $313.02, and Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) traded flat at $1.00 apiece.
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