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Tuesday, 17 February 2015 12:16

Fashola Now Managing Director, IGI

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Following the death of Mr Remi Olowude, the company’s founder and executive vice chairman, the Industrial And General Insurance Plc has appointed Mr Rotimi Fashola as its functional group managing director effective immediately. This was contained in a recent statement released by the insurance brand after the decision was taken at a meeting of the board held in Lagos.

The board also named the former executive director, special risks, Mr Sina Elusakin, as the deputy managing director, while Mrs Foluso Gbadamosi was appointed the executive director, human resource, administration and information communication technology.

The appointment was guided by proper corporate governance procedures and best practices, aimed at ensuring seamless business continuity, stability and growth in the overall interest of all stakeholders.

“With his over 20 years’ experience and a remarkable track record in the insurance and financial services industry, Fashola has earned a reputation as a truly accomplished and highly respected professional. The board believes that he possesses the core values upon which the IGI was founded and has the capacity to take the company to greater heights,” the statement added.

Prior to his new position, Fashola served as the deputy managing director and later acting managing director when the late executive vice chairman/chief executive officer went on medical leave.

The consummate insurance practitioner is expected to uphold the vision of the company and drive its growth, re-position and transform the erstwhile top brand for continued competitiveness in the industry.

Nigeria’s capital market might have lost $2 billion in two days just last week, but leading financial markets analyst, Bismarck Rewane, insists this is the best time to invest in the market.

“This is the right time to come into the market, but investors need courage and money and a lot of people don’t have the courage, neither do they have the money to invest,” said Rewane, MD/CEO of diversified financial services institution, Financial Derivatives Company Limited.

He continued: “If you have the two, then you are good to go. But those who have money don’t have the courage and those who have courage, don’t have money. There are very few people that have both.

“So, you need the two Cs, which is courage and cash to play in the stock market at this time,” local media platform Thisday quoted him as saying.

He predicts that the stock market would appreciate after the 2015 elections, which had been responsible for most of the recent shocks suffered by the market.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index and Market Capitalization depreciated by 8 per cent to close at 27,585.26 and N 9.204 trillion respectively, on Friday, ending another poor week for the bourse this year.

All indexes also did worse than the previous week, except the NSE Oil & Gas Index which climbed 0.38 per cent. NSE Alternative Securities Market (ASeM) Index closed flat.

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 18:07

Airtel Touching Lives Lifts Two

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Airtel Nigeria, one of the leading telecommunication brands has empowered two women, Foluso Pamilerin and Blessing Danladi to fulfill their life-long ambitions of economic independent during the second episode of the Airtel Touching Lives, a social investment project targeted at the downtrodden of the society, MarketingEdgeMag reports.

Blessing Danladi, has turned her love of spoken word into a skill, amazingly beyond her age and circumstance. The young poet lives with her widowed mother Rhoda who is unable to fund her education.  Airtel offered Blessing’s mum a means of livelihood so that she can train her daughter and help her realize her dreams of becoming a medical doctor.

Foluso Pamilerin, the second beneficiary is paralyzed from waist down for the past 12 years due to a motorcycle accident and at the same time was duped of her life savings by her lover five years ago, and abandoned with a young child.

Foluso, a natural born survivor, overlooked her immobility and started a small beading business, providing training to others, empowering them to survive their own situations to become entrepreneurs. Her situation particularly highlights the odds faced by people living with disabilities. For her courage she got a motorized wheelchair and finance to help her continue with her bead business.

Emeka Oparah, Airtel director of communications and corporate social responsibility says, “For now, it's time to celebrate these lives that have been touched by Airtel. Of course, this is just episode two, but it truly felt like a statement effort, an effort to continue to awaken a cycle of giving among Nigerians," he said.


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.” 

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