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Foreign investors sold off Nigerian stocks valued at 846.5 billion naira ($4.5 billion) last year, Reuters news agency said citing stock exchange data today. The shares sell off, 65 per cent more than in 2013, was caused by several factors including the slump in oil prices and the naira crisis as well as the boko haram insurgency in the country’s northeast and the political tension brought on by the 2015 national elections.

Reuters said Nigeria’s main share index shed 16 per cent in 2014 and has fallen 14.7 per cent so far this year. Top decliners this year include Dangote Cement, which accounts for a third of market capitalisation, down 22 per cent, and Transcorp down 13 per cent, the agency said.” Foreign investors increased the pace of stock market outflows from September, selling out of the relatively liquid banking, consumer and oil sectors as the price of Brent crude, the benchmark against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, slumped.”

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and top exporter of oil, but its dependency on the commodity, which contributes about 80 per cent of government spending, means the country will go through a very tough time this year because of the 60 per cent drop in price since June last year and steady decline in crude production. According to the NBS, production stood at 2.26 million barrels a day in the first quarter of last year and 2.15 million barrels per day by the third quarter.

In November, the Central Bank devalued the currency by 8 per cent in a bid to halt the decline in its foreign exchange reserves. Despite the devaluation, the naira has hit record lows against the dollar since this year, opening at 190.50 to the dollar on Monday. Nigeria’s foreign reserves dropped to $34 billion by January 28, down 20 per cent from a year ago.

The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SO&U Mr Udeme Ufot has been appointed as the chairman of Advertisers’ Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON), by the Federal Government, MARKETING EDGE reports. He will take over from Mr Lolu Akinwunmi, who was the last chairman of the prestigious and influential association of the council has been advertising practice for 32 years.

Mr Ufot obtained BA in Industrial Design specializing in graphic design from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria 1981, and started my his advertising career with Desmark Advertising and later Insight Communications where he rose to be Deputy Creative Director and briefly as Creative Director of CASERS (now DDB) before he co-found SO&U in 1990. He is a Fellow of APCON and Member, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (MNIMN).

Udeme was president of Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria (AAAN) and a board member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

He remains one of Nigeria’s most revered figures in integrated marketing communications sector in Nigeria

Although Government admitted their blunder in the appointment of Ngozi Enyioma, a non-advertising individual as the chairman APCON) against the law and act of parliament since July 2014, the resilience of the sectorial group and other stakeholders culminates in victory at last for the profession’s plan.

The Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, has been awarded the Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia, United States of America, in recognition of her continued contributions to the development of the Nigerian State, according to a press release made available to CSMagazine.

The Director General was notified of the award last Tuesday while receiving a delegation of visiting US lawmakers from the Capitol Hill of the Georgia General Assembly, comprising the Chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Hon. Rep. Dee Dawkins – Haigler, and Senator Donzella James, including the chief executive officer of African Leadership Magazine, Dr. Ken Giami.

According to the Chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, the award of honorary citizenship of Georgia is conferred on “individuals deemed worthy, and who have great experience and knowledge, doing great work abroad”.

She commended the Director General and her team for the good work they are doing in CPC, stressing that “it is admired, not just here (in Nigeria) but abroad, because we can learn a lot from you as far as consumer protection is concerned, because you have brought the protection of consumers up to a new level”.

Senator Donzella James, who said she had heard and read so many good things about Mrs. Atoki, presented the Director General with an official senate pin on behalf of the Senate and Governor of the State of Georgia, which in her words represents the key to the State of Georgia.

The Director General was formally invited to the State of Georgia for the conferment of the award of the honorary citizenship in March 2015, as according to the delegation, “it is an honour that cannot be done outside the State of Georgia.”

The chief executive of the African Leadership Magazine, Dr. Ken Giami, who is hosting members of the Georgia General Assembly in Nigeria, said earlier that they are on ground and are in the Council to say that they are proud of the Director General.

Responding, the Director General identified the award as a good new year present for CPC and herself, saying that in anything that she had been entrusted with, she had tried to put the most aggressive passion to it in order to make the desired impact.

According to Mrs. Atoki, the task of protecting consumers in Nigeria is a huge one as consumer abuse and the impunity of business reign side by side.

“But where you have strict compliance measures, everybody streamlines. For us here we have had and continue to have gross consumer abuses which have remained in the system over the years and have expectedly led to consumer apathy”, she stated.

The Director General told the delegation that for the few months that she had been in the Council, she had tried to sensitise consumers to their rights and responsibilities and also take up businesses that have had the reign of impunity.

She said it will be a long process to make the desired impact, but hinted that the “journey has already started” and the Council should be given time to succeed.

Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:04

MTN May Cut More Jobs This Year

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Multinational telecommunication company, MTN Group, says it plans to reorganise its enterprise business unit in South Africa, as revenues dwindle due to competition, VenturesAfrica reports.

“We are reorganising to enhance our customer service and market differentiation. We also acknowledge that the success of the new structure lies in a strong value proposition for our employees,” MTN South Africa’s Chief Enterprise Officer, Alpheus Mangale, was quoted by IT News Africa to have said.

The telco, which is Africa’s largest mobile service provider, operates in 22 African countries and the Middle East, but its home market has been struggling in recent times. With the voice market saturated with four mobile networks – MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom SA, the company is leveraging on its enterprise solutions to boost revenue and strengthen its competitive advantage, hence the need to restructure it for optimum growth.

MTN said in a statement that employees likely to be affected by the reorganisation had been informed at a meeting held on Wednesday. It however did not disclose the number of staff that could be affected. However, in keeping with employment legislation, engagements with staff working in MTN Business will continue in the coming weeks.

Last October, MTN said it would lay off about 850 of its managerial staff in South Africa where stiff competition has stalled growth. The company’s place in Nigeria, its biggest market, is also threatened by cut-throat competition from other players.

According to Mangale, MTN intends to expand its operations into certain market segments and therefore its staff need to acquire the right set of skills to successfully do so.

Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:49

Coca-Cola to cut up to 1,800 jobs Worldwide

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Following its October announcement of its plan to save $3b in annual costs, beverage giant, Coca-Cola is set to cut up to 1,800 jobs worldwide. The job cuts will affect the firm’s Atlanta headquarters, as well as its international operations. The firm said it had already started to inform those workers who will be affected by the cuts.

A spokesperson from Coca-Cola, in an emailed statement told BBC that the firm has started informing associates in the United States and in some international locations about the impacts to their departments,”

Further cuts would be made by different departments at various times. We have identified 1,600 to 1,800 positions in Corporate, Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola International that will be eliminated in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

Coca-Cola’s chief executive officer Muhtar Kent said the firm was aiming to save some $3bn (£1.98bn) in annual costs by 2019, which would include job cuts. At the time, Mr Kent said he recognised the need for the company “to increase the scope and pace of change” as it continued to face a challenging economic environment.

He said the firm was focused on “streamlining and simplifying” its operations and that it was proceeding with plans “for refranchising the majority of company-owned North American bottling territories by the end of 2017″.

Last year, Coca-Cola reported a 14% fall in earnings for the July to September quarter last year and a sluggish revenue growth. This has cause the beverage giant to cut its coat according to its cloth.

Thursday, 15 January 2015 18:26

Transcorp Hotels Finally Goes Public

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Transcorp Hotels Plc (THP) will finally go public in 2015, as it concludes preparations to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange today, January 15, 2015. The move makes it one of the first companies this year to listed on an exchange experiencing its biggest negative growth in the last half-decade.

According to a report by Thisday, the Company had said the shares would be listed on the NSE at the conclusion of the IPO it carried out last year and in fulfilment of its promise to investors. The NSE will on Thursday admit the shares of THP to the exchange’s daily official list.

The Expansion Scheme

Transcorp concluded an N8 billion public offer in September 2014, which it later revealed was oversubscribed. The profits from that offer are being invested into a series of five star, upper market and middle market properties, the first of which will be two new hotels in Lagos and Port Harcourt at a cost of $140 million and $100 million, respectively.

Managing Director of the company, Valentine Ozigbo, had shown enthusiasm by explaining that Nigeria’s hospitality industry is experiencing a period of extensive growth. This in addition to the demand for expanded capacity and improved quality in service delivery. “We have a strong brand and success story in Nigeria as well as good long term relationships with established suppliers in Nigeria,” he said. “These, coupled with our partnership with the Hilton Worldwide for management of our facilities, opens up a large opportunity for our proposed developments in the high density areas of Nigeria to attract a considerable portion of business travel and tourist traffic which should translate to adequate guest patronage.”

FirstBank Nigeria, known for its conservative risk asset management, especially in the security of their customer’s money and the very young and ‘swag’ mobile brand, Etisalat has come together to offer a mobile money product to the Nigerian public to drive the mobile payment systems and support the CBN cash-less policy. 

The partnership which involves FirstBank’s Firstmonie Mobile Money and Etisalat easywallet, a SIM application solution, is expected to significantly impact the uptake of mobile money in Nigeria. It would also make mobile payments more accessible and secure.

In a statement, FirstBank said the aim of the partnership is to promote the use of Firstmonie mobile money on the easywallet STK menu, adding that by doing so, there would be value added to all stakeholders in the mobile money segment including customers, Agents and merchants.

FirstBank’s, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, FirstBank, Folake Ani-Mumuney,  said “Firstmonie has continued to show its commitment to upholding the financial inclusion drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that this is evident in its recent award of the Best Mobile Money Operator in Nigeria by the EFInA Financial Inclusion Awards.

She said partnering with Etisalat to promote the use of the STK menu as the preferred Mobile Money channel, further demonstrates “our commitment to lead innovation in the development of secure mobile payment solutions.” 

The management of Nigeria Mystery Shoppers Provider (NMSP) is calling on the general public to maximise the opportunity it is providing to train interested individuals on how to make money while shopping.

In a press release signed and made available to Nigeria Customer service Magazine, “You only need to be trained to become a mystery shopper for a little fee and you start making earnings on the go.”

It stated further: “The NMSP is the first in a series of training in the field of Customer Service totally committed to helping organisations create an environment that delivers excellent customer [service] experiences which are truly engaging, empowering and of immense benefit to the overall wellbeing of the every establishment.”

It outlined benefits of attending the training which include: Provision of a tool to reference and benchmark an organisations ability to manage customers efficiently and the handling of an increased volume of customers; a clearer understanding of the issues that prevent organisations from successfully managing customer service; a clear understanding of the roles customer service professionals play in the transformation of business; access to a supportive network of peers to better understand whether the issues you face are inherent or unique to your organisation in relation to customer service transformation,  earn a certification that makes you a certified Customer Services Assessor and also help you enhance your CV. 

Participants are to pay the sum of N10,000.00 and N50,000.00 for General Training and Executive Training respectively. The trainings will hold in two cities – Abuja and Lagos.

For more information, participants are encouraged to visit www.mysteryshoppers.org.ng

Thursday, 08 January 2015 11:36

Calabar Becomes Nigeria’s First Digital City

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Calabar, the capital of south eastern Cross River State has become Nigeria’s first digital city following the successful installation of its metropolitan dark fibre optic network infrastructure, VenturesAfrica reports.

 

 

 

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has said it is committed to providing $6 million (N1.1 billion) to support Nigeria’s smart cards manufacturing industry. This is a part of broader move to support backward integration plans that will facilitate the emergence of profitable local manufacturers within Africa’s largest economy.

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