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UNILEVER Nigeria Targets N3bn Net Profit In Q3,

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Board of Unilver Nigeria Plc has estimated that distributable earnings of the conglomerate would be about N3 billion by the third quarter, placing it in good stead to sustain significant growth that has characterized its reports in recent years.

In the latest window on operations of the conglomerate, directors at the weekend indicated that it could record post-tax profit of N2.87 billion on total sales of about N32.75 billion during the nine-month period ending September 30,2009.

The latest forecasts build on earlier projections indicating that net profit after tax could be about N2.01 billion by the six-month period ended June 30, 2009, indicating earnings per share of some 53 Kobo. The conglomerate had estimated that total sales would be about N20.93 billion during the six-month period while higher profit margin expected to push pre-tax project to N2.95 billion, about two-third of pre-tax earnings for the whole of 2008.

The latest forecasts indicate possible earnings per share of 76 kobo, putting the company closer to its three digit dividend target.

Unilever Nigeria’s cash payout rate was about 99 percent for the 2008 business year having paid 68 kobo to shareholders out of the year’s earnings per share of 69 kobo.

Apostle Hayford Alile, Chairman, Unilever Nigeria Plc, has said the conglomerate might round up cash payouts to three-digit value this business year as shareholders as it consolidates business growth.

He said the Unilever Nigeria would strive to sustain its progressive cash payout trend and possibly move from current two-digit rate to three digits this business year.

Following impressive performance in 2008, unilever Nigeria had distributed about N2.6 billion to shareholders, representing a dividend per share of 68 kobo. The cash payout per share of 68 kobo represented an increase of 172 percent on 25 kobo paid for 2007.

Alile said the company would translate envisaged growths in 2009 into higher dividends for shareholders.

According to him, Unilever Nigeria as well-positioned to sustain its impressive growth trend irrespective of the challenging trading environment.

He said the company would continue to focus on market growth in its leading categories while ensuring smart material cost management that enables the company to provide Nigerian Consumers with brands that offer a good value-for-money proposition.

Audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2008 showed that turnover rose from N33.99 billion in 2007 to N37.38 billion in 2008. Pre-tax profit rose by 106 percent from N2.0 billion in 2007 to N4.1 billion in 2008. Profit after tax grew by 141 percent to N2.6 billion in 2008compared with N1.1 billion in 2007.

The report showed that the intrinsic profit-making capacity of the company doubled in 2008 with pretax profit margin rising from 5.8 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2008. Alile assured that the conglomerate was poised to sustain its upwardly growth pattern as it continues to improve underlying margins, distribution and administrative expenses.

Interim report and accounts of Unilever Nigeria for the three months ended march 31, 2009 showed single-digit growths in sales and profit. The report showed that turnover rose by 8.1 percent to N10.43 billion in first quarter 2009 as against N965 billion recorded in comparable period of 2008. Profit before tax inched up by 3.73 percent from N1.58 billion in first quarter 2008 in N1.64 billion in first quarter 2009. Profit after tax also rose marginally by 4.37 percent to N1.12 billion in 2009 as against N1.08 billion in recorded in corresponding period of 2008.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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