Ministers Pledge New Narrative for Mining, Steel Sector

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Kasim Sumaina in Abuja 

The newly appointed Minister of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite and the Minister of State for the sector, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, have expressed their determination to change the narrative of the ministry.

Adegbite, in his first interaction with members and staff of the ministry in Abuja, said there was no need reinventing the wheel.

According to him, “I intend to learn and learn quickly. As we were handed the portfolio, I approached Governor. Fayemi because I followed his progress while he was in the ministry and I knew he has done a lot of work and like they say, there is no need reinventing the wheel.

“I had followed the progress of Fayemi as a minister and believes that he did a lot in the sector. I and my colleague intend to work hard in fulfilling President Buhari’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“I believed that at least 35 per cent of the total number can be achieved in the remaining years of the administration.”

He observed that, “You can always learn from people who have gone before you, I intend along with my brother to learn the ropes quickly so that we can contribute our quota to the success of this administration especially increasing the revenue base of the country and lifting people out of poverty.

“Mr President has promised that we will lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.”

Similarly, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, said, “For us here, we are determined to change the narrative of this ministry and we cannot do it alone. 

“We want to have all the maximum support that you can give to us. We will work as a team with the Permanent Secretary to make sure this ministry becomes an enviable ministry.”

Jumia Records 94% Gross Profit

Emma Okonji

Jumia, an e-Commerce company has released its second quarter financial results ended June 30, 2019, where it announced a continued strong growth of topline drivers, which include 94 per cent increase in gross profit.

In addition, the company disclosed that it recorded 69 per cent increase in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), from €166 million in the second quarter of 2018, to €281 million in the second quarter of 2019, on the back of the growth of active consumers and spend per active consumer.

According to the results obtained at the weekend, the company’s adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) loss as a percentage of GMV, decreased by 562 basis points (5.62 percentage points) and the operating loss, amounting to €66.7 million, decreased as a percentage of GMV by 148 basis points (1.48 percentage points).

The number of active consumers as of June 30, 2019 was 4.8 million, up from 3.2 million a year ago and 4.3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019. “This corresponds to a quarterly net addition of 0.589 million consumers compared to a quarterly net addition of 0.211 million consumers over the same period last year. 

“The acceleration in consumer growth is a reflection of the increasing relevance of the Jumia platform that drives continued consumer adoption and engagement,” according to the report. 

“While GMV corresponds to the total value of orders including shipping fees, value added tax, and before deductions of any discounts or vouchers, irrespective of cancellations or returns, the Jumia’s active consumers means unique consumers who placed an order on its marketplace within the 12-month period preceding June 30, 2019, irrespective of cancellations or returns,” the report stated.

While analysing the report, the co-CEOs of Jumia, Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, said: “These results reflect our continued focus on offering a relevant and engaging online shopping and lifestyle destination for consumers, while providing our sellers with an attractive value proposition and a platform to grow their businesses. “We remain focused on all aspects of our growth strategy, particularly JumiaPay, as we continue to drive its usage in our markets. We will continue to deliver on our financial strategy of generating strong growth of our topline drivers, while accelerating monetisation, driving cost efficiencies and developing JumiaPay.”

“The increase in the number of active consumers from 3.2 million to 4.8 million, were as a result of our continued focus on selection, price and convenience, as we strive to be the preferred online shopping destination for consumers in Africa for all their daily needs,” Hodara said, adding that during the second quarter of 2019, Jumia continued to increase the assortment available on its platform and to engage with consumers through relevant local commercial campaigns such as our “Mobile Week” and “Ramadan” campaigns.

Firm Launches Digital Logistics Platform 

The prospects of logistics in Africa is becoming brighter with the recent launch of Jhaki, a digital platform that helps shippers, including importers and manufacturers enjoy hassle-free movement of goods within the country by connecting them with truck owners and other carriers.

Similar to advanced technologies for taxi hailing, the Jhaki Platform features include advanced booking, real time tracking, proof of delivery, automated receipts and a fair pricing structure. 

 According to the Director of Strategy and Growth Initiatives of CRS Intermodal Group, promoters of Jhaki.com, Brainerd Odiete, the platform seeks to empower carriers and intelligently moving freight will create unprecedented economic opportunities in the logistics space, while allowing shippers to book reliable, affordable and high-quality loads.

Odiete, explained that customers’ changing behaviour and expectations would have the greatest impact on logistics going forward, noting that Jhaki seeks to evolve a customer-centric logistics business enabled by the latest and most reliable technologies.

He said: “We believe that Jhaki.com exists to serve the logistics needs of both one-off and frequent importers, exporters, and manufacturers who seek a reliable, efficient and seamless movement of goods within the country either through the use of container trucks on road, wagons on rail tracks, and barges on inner waterways. 

“We provide and maintain the platform where both shippers can meet verified and trusted carriers at affordable rates. Our value proposition lies in our focus on our customers, our deep understanding of their changing needs and preferences and our connection to our target customer base. 

“At Jhaki, we have one goal and that is to make the movement of goods a better experience through the intelligent use of technology, data analytics, and ‘Physical Internet’.

Also speaking, the Marketing and Business Development Lead for Jhaki.com, Mr. Yemi Kushimo, said one thing that sets Jhaki apart from other logistics companies was that it offers customers the option of moving goods through road, rail, and inland water.

“When logistics practitioners have the advantage of choosing the best mode of transport for their operations, efficiency and profitability will be enhanced. 

“The cost of transport will also reduce thereby improving the quality of service to our customers and the gridlock being currently experienced in some ports will be non-extent,” he said.

NNPC/Chevron Empowers Youths through Agric Program

Sylvester Idowu in Warri
As part of its contribution towards ensuring local food production in the country continues to increase, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL) Joint Venture has trained 20 youths in the production of cassava, plantain and aquaculture.

In line with the General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), the 20 beneficiaries were selected from Itsekiri communities in Delta State, for the capacity building in 2016 by the Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (IRDC).

The beneficiaries were trained by agricultural experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, in partnership with PIND Foundation under the sponsorship of NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony at Warri, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), CNL, Mr Esimaje Brikinn, said the gesture was intended, “to stimulate socio-economic development in the Regional Development Committees (RDCs) under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), using agriculture and agribusiness as means of generating income and providing employment for youths.”

Represented by the Area Manager, PGPA, Field Operations, Mr Sam Daibo, Brikinn expressed delight at the vibrancy of the current IRDC executive and the commitment of the 20 beneficiaries, “who have been trained to use agriculture to create value in their environment.”

Brikinn further said, “the project termed “Agripreneur Programme’ also aims to demonstrate the use of various opportunities that exist in the agricultural value chain to create wealth and achieve enhanced income and self-dependence among youth.
“Thus, the project is to specifically empower youths to embrace agriculture and agribusiness as an income generating activity, provide opportunity for stimulating socio-economic development in the selected communities, offering secondary benefits to the larger society as a whole.”
According to him , the aim of the program was to, “boost availability of agriculture produce for local community suppliers,” adding that the 20 beneficiaries, “had gone through a thorough process of capacity building in modern farming techniques.”

Brinkinn, also hinted that another set of 40 agripreneurs would soon commence training to cater for youths from other Itsekiri communities in order to churn out a large crop of entrepreneurs in agriculture, who would help generate more value in the communities.

He maintained that the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, which enjoys a robust partnership with the Delta State Government and communities around its areas of operations, has upped its commitment to responsible corporate citizenship through social investment programmes in the area of health, education and economic development.

Empowerment Initiative Targets Inclusion, Hunger Reduction

Hamid Ayodeji

The empowerment of farmers is an initiative that must be encouraged and supported so as to end hunger and enhance youth inclusion in the agriculture sector, the Chief Executive Officer, Agrecourse, Ayoola Oluga, has said.

The Chief Executive Officer, said this during the organisation’s maiden investors’ meet and greet forum, in Lagos, recently.

He said Agrecourse was entirely focus on aiding the transition of smallholder farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming with the support of the stakeholders in the agricultural and industrial sector, thereby ensuring food security, youth inclusion in the agricultural space and economic growth. 

According to Oluga, Agrecourse provides sponsors with secure and lucrative investment opportunities, whilst also helping farmers improve their operations.

As part of efforts to help farmers secure access to finance, it disclosed that it has decided to utilise the advantage of the nation’s rapidly growing population as it has developed a web-based crowd funding platform in order to help small holder farmers raise funds they require to purchase quality inputs, thereby improving their farming operations. 

He explained, “With this platform, individuals and organisations that are able and interested to sponsor theses farmers get the opportunity to invest in real agricultural projects and monitor all farming activities remotely through our monthly updates.

“Thus far, in order to completely eliminate wastage, we have been partnering with food processing companies, such as, Stallion, Nestle, and Grand Cereal who make use of these commodities.

“Before the farmers commence production, we sign an off take agreement with these companies, whereby they agree to buy off everything that is produced by the farmers which guarantees that everything harvested would be sold at a good price.” 

Also speaking at the forum, the Head, Agric Micro Insurance, National Coordinator, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Ayoola Fatona said, “Investing in Agriculture simply means you are ensuring the food security of yourself and your unborn generation which is why Leadway Assurance is in line with Agrecourse in order to enhance farming activities as well as secure farmers and investors assets. 

“Considering that agriculture is one of the most risk intense sectors; one of Agrecourse unique feature is that they are working entirely to mitigate risks in agriculture as they have insured all their farms.” 

Also, Fatona, pointed out that agriculture employs over 70 per cent of labour in the country and, “Agrecourse ensures that it effectively empowers its farmers, providing them with technology advanced equipment, methods whilst also ensuring investors and sponsors get their returns on invest.”