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ETI Deposits N45bn For Ecobank Rights Issue

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Ecobank Transnational Corporation (ETI) has deposited about N45 billion for Ecobank Nigeria Plc proposed rights issue.
Ecobank Nigeria confirmed receipt of the money at weekend.
The Nigerian bank in which ETI holds 71.30 per cent equity is planning to do rights issue later this year.
ETI had last year floated the first regional share offer with the aim to some N300 million to finance its expansion programme subsidiary among others.
But at the close of the offer, it was only N47 billion subscribed.
In a related development Ecobank Nigeria has recorded 30.86 per cent growth in gross earnings during the first quarter ended March 31, 2009.
The unaudited result of the company showed gross earnings of N14.8 billion as against N11.4 billion in the comparable of 30.86 per cent.
Profit after tax rose marginally by 5.29 per cent, from N1.75 billion in 2008 to N1.84 billion in 2009.
Dr John Odeyemi chairman of the bank said recently that the bank has migrated from the Globus Banking Software to the Flexcube Universal Banking System (FCUBS) in order to improve its service delivery by providing a more robust platform for banking transactions, adding that the company intends to further grow its capital base this year to enhance the expansion drive and fund other strategic business initiatives and developments.
Odeyemi noted that the company would continue with its growth plan by attaining its strategic objectives to build scale, consolidate on the enhancement of its information technology platform and build capacity amongst others.
He said that despite challenges at the banking sector, the company remains committed to achieving its mission of transforming into a world class African banking group
Odeyemi noted that the bank renewed its growth plan with the opening of new branches and purchase and assumption of branches of Hallmark Bank in Liquidation which increased the branch network to 197 in 2007 as against 131 in the previous year.
He said that in consistent with the bank’s commitment to investing in the youth in area of corporate social investment, the bank continued its expansion of youth friendly centres across the nation’s compuses.
Odeyemi explained that the centres, a collaborative initiative between Ecobank and National Action Committee on Acids (NACA) provide HIV/AIDS screening facilities and information through leaflets posters, booklets internet among others on HIV/AIDS education adding that guidance and counseling for the youths as well as recreational and educational facilities such as cyber café’ and library are also provided.
He noted that through community partnership, the bank is constructing a building for the Science Secondary school Ojapo-Okpokwu Local Government, Benue State, which according to him the building when completed is expected to provide decent and modern learning facilities for the community.
Odeyemi noted that the project would be replicated in more communities in order parts of the country, adding that the bank’s foundation, a corporate philanthropic arm of the Ecobank group had also continued to touch lives of the people and communities in Nigeria and across West, Central and East Africa.
He attributed the bank’s performance to more efficient operations and processes resulting in increased customer base, a more robust loan portfolio and a resounding commitment by all stakeholders, which according to him shareholders fund increased to N35 billion from N26.7 billion achieved at the close of the consolidation programme in 2005.
The bank recorded a significant growth in 2007 as its gross earnings appreciated by 90 per cent.
The bank’s gross earnings rose from N17 billion in 2006 to N33 billion in 2007, representing an increase of 90 per cent while profit after tax increased by 109 per cent, from N3.6 billion in 2006 to N7.4 billion for the year-ending 31 December 2007.
Non interest revenue improved significantly to N14 billion in 2007 representing 123 per cent growth over the 2006 figures of N6 billion.

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Nembe Oil Spill From Aiteo Facility Worst I’ve Seen – Diri

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The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday returned from visiting the oil spill site in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, describing it as the worst he had seen in his lifetime.
The OML 29 Well 1 platform, which is operated by Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited, has been spilling crude unabated into the Santa Barbara River for about one month.
An estimated two million barrels of crude has reportedly been spilled into the river, polluting the flora and fauna of the area, the governor’s spokesperson Dan Alabrah, said.
The Minister of State of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, had said the scene of the spill was like a war zone.
Overwhelmed by the spill, Aiteo hired Halliburton’s Boots and Coots to “kill the well” by injecting cement into it. It bought the well from the Royal Dutch Shell in 2015.
As at Wednesday, the Bayelsa government said the spill that began November 5 was still ongoing.
Governor Diri said the continuous spillage has further endangered the lives of people of Nembe, Bayelsa and indeed the Niger Delta.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Alabrah, the governor, who expressed shock over the quantity of crude that has been spilled into the environment, called on the Federal Government and operators of the oil field to immediately take action to stop it.
According to him, the prolonged oil spill into the water and air had an immediate and long term effect on the health of the inhabitants.
While assuring the people that appropriate measures would be taken to seek redress, he noted that the quest by oil firms to make money would not be at the expense of the lives of the people.
Describing fishing as the source of livelihood of the people of the area, Mr Diri noted that just as there are grazing routes, Bayelsa State has fishing routes and must be protected.
His words: “Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life, I have not seen such magnitude of oil spillage.
“Our people are endangered. Our people’s source of livelihood is endangered. I empathise and sympathise with the people of Nembe on behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa governor also decried the exclusion of indigenes of host communities in the running of the oil industry, saying that if indigenes were part of the operations of the oil field, they would have looked for ways to address the problem.
To ameliorate the suffering of the people, the governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency and Ministry of Health to immediately provide relief materials and healthcare services to the people.
Earlier, the chairman of Nembe Local Government Area, Hon. West Alalibo, and member representing Nembe Constituency 2 in the State House of Assembly, Edward Brigidi, appreciated the governor for embarking on an on-the-spot assessment visit to the site.

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‘Emerging Challenges May Frustrate Dev Of Gas Resources’

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Although the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is expected to unlock gas potential in Nigeria, especially the current 206 trillion standard cubic feet proven reserves, stakeholders Wednesday said the goals might remain elusive.
Investment to unlock the series of the opportunities outlined by the country according to the stakeholders, may remain a daunting task amidst heavy levies on the sector, domestic gas pricing challenges as well as lack of necessary technology and skills set.
Coming as the price of natural gas Wednesday, tumbled further to $4.4 per MMBtu after rising close to $7, the stakeholders at the 10th Practical Nigerian Content Forum stated that without the right environment, Nigeria may miss out of the window of opportunities available through the energy transition phase.
The Senate Chairman, Local Content, Teslim Folarin at the event also insisted that the cross-sectorial local bill in the National Assembly would make existing executive orders on patronage of Nigeria goods and services a law across sectors of the economy, stressing that it won’t however scrap the NOGIC Act.
With the current high price of cooking gas, the inadequacies of gas to power plants, the experts noted that data challenges, legal framework, lack of collaboration, weak research and development, lack of technology, imposition of taxes on the gas value chain lay heavy siege to the country’s aspirations in the gas revolution.
Group Executive Director, Gas and Power at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Abdulkadir Ahmed, insisted that declining funding for fossil fuels would create challenges for existing gas resources in the country, stressing that the sector must devise a means to fund projects and also produce more with cost.
Ahmed was also concerned about the infrastructure that transports and ensures utilisation of gas, adding that a transparent and market-driven pricing remained sacrosanct.
“We can not make progress without a market-driven and transparent gas price. No one will put in money if they have no feasibility of how they will recover their cost. There won’t be any gas to process if we do not invest in upstream activities,” he said.
Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Gas, Ed Ubong stated that there was a need to build local capacity for gas and ensure that the resources are used to spur industrial development.
According to him, there was a need to support indigenous companies to thrive, adding that the gas space remained a key avenue to grow local content.
A Governing Council Member at Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mina Oforiokuma said with progress being made by countries like Mozambique, Nigeria needs to learn and move fast to address bottlenecks.
Speaking on the expansion of local content across sectors, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote noted that the government may consider a local content department across ministries to develop.
Wabote said: “That’s the only way you can get benefit out of the implementation because what people forget is that NCDMB is like a department within the ministry of petroleum resources saddled with the responsibility of driving local content within the oil and gas industry and controlled by the Ministry in the same way.”
Senator Folarin noted that the government remained concerned about the development of indigenous companies, adding that the move would address inefficiencies, in the long run reduce cost of projects and build strong local companies that can compete globally.
He revealed that some of the key sectors that would be primarily targeted are power, ICT, manufacturing, agriculture and others.

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PHCCIMA Boss Lists Core Service Areas

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The 62nd President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industries and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Sir Mike Elechi said his administration shall have member oriented,  inclusive programmes and opportunities as its hallmark and guiding principles.
Elechi said this during his investiture as the PHCCIMA President in Port Harcourt during the week.
He also listed  consolidation of growth, peace, unity,  increased scope of programme dispensation and internally generated revenue as part of his core mandate to be delivered to the people.
He said that these would be achieved within the confines of PHCCIMA’s constitution and that of the Country.
The President who was  a  permanent secretary before his retirement,  pointed out that the choice of the key areas was as a result of deep reflection and wide consultation with relevant stakeholders in the society.
He said that his administration would reintroduce the monthly PHCCIMA meeting, develope a calendar of member oriented programmes and opportunities as well as trade mission travels and access for the benefit of its members.
On the issue of increased scope of programme dispensation and internally generated revenue, he said that  it would be realised by creating an atmosphere of welcome and corporate opportunity.
“Another way out among others, was engagement of various governments both state and local, with business strategies especially non oil businesses”, he said.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion,  Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra, urged those that are yet to be registered with PHCCIMA to hurry and do so in order to meet up with the current speed of the organisation.
Anabrabra, anchored his point on the passion that the new President and his team have for the body, which will definitely pay off.
Also speaking, the former President of Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA), Hon Onueze C.J . Okocha,  said that Elechi’s whealt of experience would  enable him  do the expected.
”As a career Civil Servant and a successful businessman cum Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Vintage Farm and Products in ElelIkwerre Local Government of the state, his administration would be successful.
The Tide gathered that the Elechi-led PHCCIMA executive would elapse in the next three years.

By: King Onunwor

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