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Wema Bank Charges Stakeholders On Digital Empowerment 

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Wema Bank has charged stakeholders to prioritise digital empowerment for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as a measure for championing a sustainable MSME ecosystem in Nigeria.
The pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank gave the charge at the International MSMEs Day and MSME Awards Night 2024, a two-fold event organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Office of the Vice President in commemoration of the Day
The event, which was held in Abuja, not only acknowledged the successes in the Nigerian MSME Sector, but also targets developing sustainable solutions for the continuous growth and development of the sector, to ultimately boost the Nigerian economy.
The programme, themed “Call to Action: Provision of Sustainable Single-Digit Loans for MSME”,  gathered top reputable institutions and entities to brainstorm and proffer sustainable financial solutions in providing affordable loans and funding for MSMEs, in addition to ensuring that these financial solutions are easily accessible and available to MSMEs.
The Bank’s Executive Director of Retail and Digital Business, Tunde Mabawonku, who represented Wema Bank’s MD/CEO,  Moruf Oseni, further emphasised the pressing need to prioritise technology and digital empowerment to complement, “capacity development, financial empowerment and collaborative efforts, towards building a supportive ecosystem for MSMEs to thrive.
“At Wema Bank, our approach is ‘Give a man fish, he will come back, but teach a man to fish, he will learn to fend for himself and others’.
“Technology and digital are the future, and intelligence is here to stay. What we are doing for these MSMEs is beyond providing the finances they need. We are also focusing on empowering them with relevant and transferrable digital skills to ensure they are not left behind in this digital evolution.
“We often ask ourselves what are the skills they need to sell in this fast-growing digital world? To operate effectively? To compete? To maximise the resources at their disposal? These are the questions that drive us at Wema Bank.
“The goal is digital empowerment for scale and to maximise our impact, we continue to partner with several esteemed bodies and institutions across the world, from Banks to Agencies, Regulatory organisations, etc.
“Collaboration for us is continuous so from small alliances that allow us to empower smaller businesses through significant platforms within their ecosystem to the bigger partnerships like the FGN-ALAT Digital Skillnovation Programme.
“We will continue to combine efforts and pool resources together to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, provide financial support and other resources that these businesses need and empower them to skillfully utilise the resources available to them for maximum impact and growth”.
Wema Bank continues to prove its mettle not just as an enabler for MSMEs, but also as the partner of choice for all.
At the event, the Bank also awarded a brand-new car to the female winner of the “Outstanding MSME Clinic” award category, in addition to the N2,000,000 prize slated for this category.
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PH Refinery Under-goes Licensing, Minister Defends Rehabilitation Exercise

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The Port Harcourt Refining Company is currently undergoing various licensing processes following the supply of crude to the plant after it was mechanically completed in December 2023.
Senior officials at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited disclosed this last Saturday. Similarly, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, earlier insisted that the plant was at its final rehabilitation stage.
“The mechanical work at the Port Harcourt refinery has been completed. Also, crude oil has been sent to the plant. What is being awaited now has to do with licensing and the like. Now, these licenses are given based on some set of time-frames.
“Some officials involved in issuing these licenses are still observing the plant. Some of them came in last month and they are still there checking everything. They will also have to test-run the plant and all this will be at their pace. Most of them are foreigners and you can’t rush them.
“They have their integrity to protect, for if anything contrary happens at the refinery, the officials might be held accountable and their insurance firms would have to pay for any damage. So it is not entirely on our part when it comes to the takeoff of the refinery,” a petroleum ministry official, who spoke in confidence due to lack of authorisation to talk about the matter, stated.
In March this year, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, said the Port Harcourt refinery had received 450,000 barrels of crude oil and would begin operations in April. This, however, did not happen.
Kyari had disclosed this at a press briefing after he appeared before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the various Turn Around Maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.
“We did a mechanical completion of the refinery, which was what we said in December. We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing the regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in the next two weeks.
“Completing the mechanical work means that you are done with the rehabilitation work, now you have to test to see how it works. Of course, we have also completed the mechanical work on the Warri refinery. It is also undergoing regulatory compliance; processes that we are doing with our regulator, and this will soon be completed and it will be ready.
“Kaduna refinery will be ready by December. We have not reached that stage in Kaduna, but we promise Kaduna will be delivered by December,” the NNPC helmsman had stated.
On the volume of crude pumped to the plant at the time, Kyari had said, “All crude lines are active and have delivered over 450,000 barrels into the Port Harcourt refinery.”
Earlier at a press briefing on developments in the oil sector on Friday, the petroleum minister defended the ongoing work at the Port Harcourt refinery, as he told journalists that it often takes time before refineries start pumping out refined products after their mechanical completion.
Lokpobiri cited the Dangote Petroleum Refinery as an example, stating that the plant did not start releasing refined products immediately after its inauguration by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2023.
Dangote refinery first released diesel into the Nigerian market in March 2024, followed by aviation fuel, but has yet to release petrol, which is largely consumed nationwide.
“Port Harcourt refinery is still in the final stage of rehabilitation. After the flares at the refinery in December (2023), a lot of work has to be done. Recall that Dangote refinery was commissioned by (former) President Buhari before he left. But when did they start producing products? It took a long while.
“So it’s not just as easy as Nigerians may think. The best example is that between when Buhari commissioned the Dangote refinery and when it started bringing the products it took a long time. So I believe that within a short time we will get clarity on it (Port Harcourt refinery),” Lokpobiri stated.
The minister, however, stated that though he normally received briefings from NNPC on the status of the plant, he had always asked the company about when the refinery would eventually be completed.
“I would like you to also go to NNPC. They awarded the contract. They report to me. But they awarded the contract. They are the people who are paying for the contract. And it’s always good to get the information right from the source. I get briefed from time to time.
“The same question people are asking me is what I’m also asking them (NNPC). When are we going to actually get this thing done? But they always said, look, Dangote refinery took some time. So it’s not just as easy as we think.
“And I think all of you here are witnesses to the Dangote refinery. When it was inaugurated by Buhari and when they started bringing our products. Even up till now, they haven’t started bringing out PMS. It takes time. But our own as a government is to ensure that we support them in any way we can,” Lokpobiri stated.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the government was working hard to ensure that the refinery commences the release of refined petroleum products in earnest, as this would impact positively on the country’s economy.

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Firms Partner On Healthcare In Nigeria’s Oil Rigs

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Three companies: Nesto Aviation Services, ADAC HEMS Academy Germany, and Kasi Healthcare Offshore and Aeromedical Unit, have partnered to enhance access to emergency medical care for workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
This is in response to the fact that Nigeria’s oil and gas industry had witnessed several tragic incidents resulting in injuries and loss of life due to numerous factors.
Such factors includes aging infrastructure, lack of proper safety protocols, recklessness of operators, and inadequate monitoring and regulation by authorities.
Experts predict that the spate of accidents is likely to continue unless major reforms are implemented to improve safety standards in Nigeria’s oil industry.
According to The Tide’s source, to improve access to emergency medical care for workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in offshore areas of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nesto Aviation Services (NestAv), through its General Manager, Ehis Uadiale, on behalf of the firms, issued a statement.
This, the statement said, was sequel to the launch of a regional air ambulance and Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Service for the oil and gas sector, saying the partnership would provide a dedicated critical care aircraft for injured personnel in the golden hour.
The service will also include transport for stroke victims, heart attack patients and traumatic injuries with complications, and to those who would otherwise have limited access to emergency services in the golden hour.
The NestAv boss said the partnership is also focused on servicing in the golden hour medical emergencies occurring at remote locations across West Africa and offshore locations in Gulf of Guinea.
“The programme will prioritise training local doctors, nurses and paramedics, creating jobs and building long-term capacity within the region.
“The partnership will also launch an Air Ambulance service, utilising a King Air Aircraft operated by NestAV, equipped with advanced medical equipment and basic life support and advanced life support trained aeromedical team from Kasi Healthcare Offshore and Aeromedical Unit”, the statement said.
It also quoted the Chairman of Nestoil Group, Dr. Ernest Obiejesi, as saying that, “We are the largest indigenous EPCC service provider for major IOCs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This partnership represents a significant leap forward in providing critical medical care across offshore and remote locations in the Gulf of Guinea.
“By bringing together our collective strengths, we are establishing a world-class Air Ambulance and HEMS programme that will have a profound impact on the health and well-being of workers in oil industry across the region”.
A representative of ADAC HEMS Academy Germany added that, “ADAC HEMS Academy is proud to conclude the signing of a framework agreement with Kasi Healthcare as medical ops provider and Nest AV as flight ops provider in this groundbreaking project”
He continued that, under the agreement, “We are committed to establishing in Nigeria a training site linked to the ADAC HEMS Academy that is recognized by the American Heart Association training of selected AHA course formats and qualification of Nigerian instructors.
“We are also Consulting on all aspects of the configuration and establishment of HEMS in Nigeria under this project. Our knowledge and experience in aeromedical training to ensure the success of this programme and empower local healthcare professionals.
“We are also proud to be working with two organizations licensed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) both with a commitment to safety and excellence”, Medical Director, KASI, Dr Dayo Osholowu, further added.
The ceremony featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the three organisations, paving the way for the development of aeromedical capacity across more than 180 remote oil and gas locations within the Gulf of Guinea.
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Dangote Expects First Brazilian Crude Shipment

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Dangote Refinery is set to receive its first shipment of Brazil’s crude oil in its bid to achieving full operational capacity.
The purchase of Brazilian crude is a first for Nigeria and Dangote Refinery is billed to import a one-million-barrel cargo of Brazil’s Tupi crude, scheduled for delivery in the latter half of next month.
The Dangote refinery has been pivotal in reducing Nigeria’s reliance on imported fuel.
Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria has historically depended on foreign fuel imports to meet its domestic needs, with its refineries unable to meet demand fpr the product.
Nigeria hopes that importing crude and refining it locally will enhance Nigeria’s energy security, reduce import dependency, and lower fuel prices for Nigerian consumers.
Dangote Refinery’s ability to source crude oil from diverse global suppliers will be key to its success and Nigeria’s broader energy strategy.
The Brazilian crude, sold by Petrobras, is among the most cost-effective and suitable oil grades available on the global market.
Earlier this week, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) reached an agreement with oil producers to supply crude oil to domestic refineries at market prices on Wednesday, ending a supply dispute that had strained relations with international oil companies.
This came after oil majors where chasetised for hindering local crude oil purchases by demanding excessive premiums or claiming that they had no available crude.
This move is part of Nigeria’s broader efforts to secure a stable supply of crude for its refineries at market prices, ensuring that the country’s energy infrastructure is resilient and capable of meeting its needs without over-relying on any single source.

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