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President Jonathan Leads Azura-Edo IPP Ground Breaking, Foundation Laying Ceremony

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Azura Power Holdings Ltd, on Friday, conducted the official groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony at the Azura-Edo Independent Power Project (IPP) in Benin, Nigeria.

The ceremony was led by President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan alongside Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other high ranking members of the Federal and State Executives.

The ceremony marks the beginning of construction work at the project, which is on track to achieve full financial close in 2014.
 
The Azura-Edo project is the first of a new wave of project-financed greenfield IPPs currently being developed in Nigeria.

The financing of the Azura-Edo IPP involves equity and debt from a consortium of local and international financiers.

The project also incorporates an additional investment being made by Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (“Seplat”) in new gas processing facilities at its Oben Gas Plant, which, as part of Seplat’s joint venture with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), will supply the Azura-Edo IPP with the project’s fuel gas requirements.

The Azura-Edo project is being developed by a consortium of local and international investors led by Amaya Capital Limited and American Capital Energy & Infrastructure.

The other sponsors contributing equity to the project are the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 (AIIF2), Aldwych International Ltd, and the Asset & Resource Management Company Ltd (ARM).

The Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractors are Siemens and Julius Berger Nigeria; with an Operations & Maintenance contract in place with the PIC Group (a subsidiary of Marubeni).

The Azura-Edo IPP is also the first Nigerian power project to benefit from the World Bank’s ‘Partial Risk Guarantee’ structure, specifically created to meet the developing needs of emerging markets world-wide, and political risk insurance for equity and commercial debt from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, also part of the World Bank group.

Significantly, the overall transaction will be underpinned by financial support provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria through a Put and Call Option Agreement agreed by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance; complementing the Power Purchase Agreement that was signed in 2013 between Azura and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET).

The Azura-Edo IPP comprises a 450MW open cycle gas turbine power station; a short transmission line connecting the power plant to a local substation and a short underground gas pipeline connecting the power plant to the country’s main gas-supply.

It represents the first phase of a 1,500MW power plant facility.

The plant’s location on the outskirts of Benin City is ideal because of its close proximity to Nigeria’s biggest gas distribution pipeline (which makes gas feedstock easily available) and its unique accessibility to the country’s high voltage transmission network (which facilitates the evacuation and distribution of power).

The first phase of the plant, which is targeted to come on stream in 2017, is forecast to create over 1,000 jobs during its construction and operation.

The United Nations estimates that Nigeria’s population will reach 230 million within the next 20 years, and the total grid-based power generation capacity must rise, during this period, by at least tenfold to meet the demand.

Azura is, and will continue to be, a key driver in this growth in capacity.

 Mr. Sundeep Bahanda, co-founder of Amaya Capital and Dr. David Ladipo, managing director of Azura, said in a joint statement: “This ground breaking ceremony is a major milestone in our project development timeline, and the President’s endorsement a strong demonstration of the critical importance of this project to the Nigeria power sector reforms.

‘By working closely with the government over a number of years the Azura-Edo project has been used to develop many of the template contracts and documentation that will be used in project financed power projects over the coming years.

“We would like to sincerely thank President Jonathan and his administration for their commitment to seeing this project to completion, and for taking the time to share today with us. We would also like to commend Governor Oshiomholefor his relentless determination to modernise the infrastructure of Edo State and thank him for his unstinting support for the Azura Project.”
 
Opiuyo Oforiokuma, managing director of the ARM Infrastructure Fund and the lead indigenous project sponsor said; “The Azura-Edo project is a leading example of the strength of partnership that can exist between indigenous and international equity partners, sponsors and financiers.

“By combining specialist local equity, through our infrastructure fund, with international equity and debt, alongside best in class contractors the Azura-Edo project is a world class example of how to develop an infrastructure project in Africa.”
 
Azura is a world-class power development company that was created to focus on the development, construction, acquisition and operation of power generation facilities in Nigeria and over time, West Africa.

Similarly, Amaya, established in 2009, is a principal investment firm focused on energy related projects in West Africa.

Also,  American Capital Energy & Infrastructure manages investments in global energy infrastructure assets, including power generation facilities, power distribution and transmission networks, energy transportation assets, fuel production opportunities and product and service companies focused on the power and energy sectors.

While African Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 (AIIF2) holds long-term equity investments in a diversified portfolio of infrastructure and infrastructure related assets across Sub-Saharan Africa, Aldwych is an energy company active in the growing economies of Africa and was established in 2004, for the purpose of developing, owning and operating power generation, transmission and distribution projects in emerging economies.
 
Established in Lagos in 1994, ARM currently manages total assets of over US$3 billion and has evolved into one of Nigeria’s most innovative and respected non-bank financial institutions.


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FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.

FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.

The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.

TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.

Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.

“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.

“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.

“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.

“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.

“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.

“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”

Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.

He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.

“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.

“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.

” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.

The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.

“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.

“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.

He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.

Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.

“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.

“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.

Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.

“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”

On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and  Euro Cup 2021 rights.

 


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Why Businesses Should Take a Long-term Approach to People, Product, and Customers

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By Andrew Bourne, Region Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation,

Business success is perceived differently today. Buzzwords like maximization, venture-backed, growth hacking, and well-conceived exit strategies (like IPOs or acquisitions) define entrepreneurial success in the current age. In a mad rush to show high quarter-on-quarter growth rates, corporate leaders have forgotten that the true value of a business is how long it stays relevant in the market and instead focus solely on transient growth spurts even if they cost profits.

Any business, no matter how big its initial success, needs to take a long-term approach if it’s to avoid being one of history’s almost-rans. This applies to every aspect of the business, including, people, products, and customers.

 

Invest in People

When you are a new company working on developing deep tech, discovering talent and retaining them is a challenge. Try to create and slowly nurture a pool of capable workers who will gain domain expertise over time. At Zoho, in order to sustain our long-term R&D efforts, we initially kept the teams small and worked with people who were committed to learn and understand the domain.

Patience is the key when you cultivate talent in-house. As people refine their skills and gain deeper domain knowledge, they gradually bring their learning to the business and build a solid offering that will stand the test of time. Ultimately, it’s the culture of experimental learning that you build which keeps you going and also motivates people to stick around for the long haul.

 

Build a product that can pivot and adapt

Equally important is to take a long-term approach to your product. You might be selling something simple today, but you need to be able to build on that. Take Amazon, for example. It started out selling books and gradually built out to become a trillion-dollar company. It hasn’t just focused on e-commerce either. Amazon Web Services (AWS), its cloud-computing division, keeps more than 40% of the internet up and running.

The lesson here is that long-term thinking isn’t just about having a product plan and sticking to it. It’s also about adapting to any future opportunities that present themselves. Whatever sector you operate in today, it will see disruptions sooner or later. If you can adapt to those changes, or find new opportunities in other sectors, you will be better placed for continued success than your competitors.

 

Keep up with customer expectations

Finally, you need to take a long-term approach to your customers. If you are constantly gaining new customers but not retaining them, you’re unlikely to see real success. Returning customers routinely spend more money on brands they’re loyal to. People are also more likely to recommend others to businesses they have had a good experience with. Simply put, it just makes business sense.

But taking a long-term focus with your customers isn’t just about the direct touch-points you have with them. Everything, including the software solutions you use, should have the customer at heart. For example, a unified tool which allows you to instantly see every interaction a customer’s had with your business (be it via voice, email, or chat), will put you in a much better position to serve them than trying to work with several different products.

Taking this long-term approach might feel overwhelming initially, but it’s much more likely to pay off than simply trying to survive from quarter to quarter. After all true success is built over time.


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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