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Abiodun Woos Foreign Investors, Says Ogun Is Investment-friendly

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has called on foreign businesses to make the state, especially the Special Economic Processing Zone, the destination of choice while considering investing in Nigeria.

Prince Abiodun, while speaking as guest on CNBC Africa at the weekend on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair, put together by Afreximbank, in Cairo, Egypt, said Ogun State has put everything in place to host any business venture.

He said Ogun State has the required infrastructure, including accessibility, access to power, and a youthful and educated population to make it investor-friendly.

He said: “We like to refer to ourselves as the Gateway State. We are the gateway to Nigeria’s prosperity. We are the industrial capital of Nigeria. By all accounts, we have well over 5,000 industries. We are the number one in non-oil revenue in Nigeria because we have large mineral deposits, particularly limestone.

“That explains why we have Lafarge, Dangote, and many other cement factories. The biggest cement factory in Nigeria is in Ogun State.

“Now, why are we here (Cairo)? We are here to attract more investors to our state, particularly as we pride ourselves as having the required infrastructure, be it road, rail, or air. We have a new airport, unarguably one of the best airports in Nigeria.

“Our airport is situated in our Special Economic Processing Zone. The zone is being supported by Afreximbank and being operated and constructed by a private sector player called Arise LLP.

“Today, we want people to know about the zone, to come and establish processing concerns and factories in that zone, referencing the 5,000 other industrial activities that exist in Ogun State.”

The governor listed some of the companies in the state to include Lafarge, Nestle, Cadbury, May&Baker, Unilever, and Olam flours, among others.

He noted that companies coming to invest in the state would take advantage of its vast agro produce like rubber, cassava, which Ogun is the number one producer in the world, palm oil, cashew, cocoa, cotton, eggs and poultry.

“We are trying to attract investors to this processing zone, more so because we have gas, which allows them to access power. So, you are sure that your major cost of production, which could be power in most instances, is already mitigated.

“And I believe that we’ve managed to convince a lot of our listeners that Ogun State, the industrial capital of Nigeria, the education capital of Nigeria with reserve of youthful population is ready to receive you and as a government, we’ve provided a lot of reforms and policy initiatives to further increase our rating on the ease of doing business index,” he added.

Governor Abiodun also spoke on the significance of the African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC), which has been established at the Special Economic Processing Zone, a development that he said, is bound to make Nigeria get value for her agro-produce.

Prince Abiodun noted that Nigeria, before now, was sending her agro-produce meant for export to neighbouring countries like Ghana to be certified as fit-for-purpose.

But with AQAC in Ogun State, and within the agro-processing zone, Prince Abiodun said agro-produce from Nigeria can now be certified fit-for-purpose in line with world best practices.

“And now, what they do in AQAC is, they don’t wait until you have grown or you have harvested. They intervene from the point of your inputs, from the point of how you have planted, from what type of fertilisers you have used, from what type of fertilisers you were meant to use to ensure that by the time they are stamping your agro-produce, it is certified fit-for-purpose.

“Hitherto, when goods would have to go to Ghana or any other country to be exported, it means that those agro-produce would probably have been undervalued. So, from now on, Nigeria can now export its agro-produce at the right value because it’s stamped fit-for-purpose from Nigeria,” he added.

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CBN Gives Fresh Detail About Opay, Palmpay, Moniepoint, Others

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Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers,

By John Michael Ojo

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, during the MPC meeting on Tuesday revealed that mobile money operators who are currently being restricted from enrolling new customers would soon be allowed to carry our their operations without any form of restrictions in the next few months.

Cardoso who stated this in Abuja, denied revolking the licences of these fintech companies.

The CBN Governor, claimed that the Central Bank was working round the clock by engaging with stakeholders in order to strengthen the activities of Fintech companies in the country.

He added that the CBN is also working to mitigate against every loophole used by criminal elements to facilitate money laundering within the financial system while maintaining the integrity of the industry.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move which was heavily criticized and seen as a gag on the financial sub-sector.

However, the CBN Governor who has now provided the public with more details about the action of the apex bank on the fintech companies said: “The fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment. The CBN remains proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of years and the apex bank will continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly.

“More recently, we had the cause to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavily regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course gave us some cause to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance,” Cardoso stated.

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Access Holdings Gets New CEO To Replace Wigwe 

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Bolaji Agbede

By John Michael OJo

Following the death of its Co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe in a helicopter crash on Friday night in the United States, Access Holdings Plc on Monday appointed Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings.

This was made known in a statement by the company’s Board of Directors dated February 12, 2024.

The statement which added that the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, reads: “Further to its announcement dated February 11, 2024, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has today announced the appointment of Ms Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

“The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

Agbede  who joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services.

She has also served in different roles at the bank including, Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 before she was appointed the company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022, a role she held until her new appointment

Agbede who commenced her professional career in Guaranty Trust Bank, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002.

She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

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Ogun Constitutes Ambassadors To Intensify Efforts On Investment Drive

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L-R: Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Ogun State), Mr. George Onafowokan; Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo; Special Adviser, OgunInvest, Ms. Sola Arobieke; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela; Zonal Director, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Mr. Hassan Lawal, at the OgunInvest Ambassadors Network Inauguration and Orientation Course held at OgunInvest Office, Isheri, Ogun State.

Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a 12-man committee of Ogun Invest Ambassador Network to create a robust and seamless working relationship between government and investors, for businesses to thrive.

Governor Abiodun, during the inauguration and orientation course for the ambassadors, at Ogun Invest Office, Isheri, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state, said the initiative was a landmark in the history of the state, as it would make a huge difference to the growth of current and potential investors willing to do business in the state.

He explained that the ambassadors would be responsible for enlightening investors on how to harness the opportunities that abound and what they stand to gain by doing business with the state, adding that their role is pivotal in building bridges, fostering collaboration and attracting investors that would propel the state to new heights.

Governor Abiodun, represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo tasked the ambassadors to sharpen their communication skills, charging them to make accountability and transparency their watchword.

The state’s helmsman disclosed that the government would, on a regular basis, carry out an evaluation performance on them through private organisations transacting business with the state, promising that those who performed well would be compensated accordingly.

Speaking, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela, who admonished them to be diligent, in making Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency a success, described them as a link between government and investors, saying a proper regulatory framework would be established to earn investors trust and respect.

Identifying the calibre of people in the network chain, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, noted that a new lease of life would soon commence in the state investment journey, expressing the hope that their selection would ensure a critical turning point in the investment atmosphere of the state and charged them to bring to bear their professionalism in the course of enhancing the industrial sector

Earlier, the Special Adviser on Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (Ogun Invest), Ms. Sola Arobieke, said the initiative was part of the drive to attract investments, enhance ease of doing business and carry out the service of a one-stop shop, to ensure access to relevant information and streamline processes for investors in the state, pointing out that the Ambassadors Network is a team of dedicated individuals from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saddled with investment-related functions, to ease the settling of investors and investments into the state.

On his part, the Managing Director, Coleman Technical Industries Ltd., Mr. George Onafowokan, who spoke on, “Promoting Investment Through Service Excellence”, said the selected ambassadors should see their nomination as an opportunity to serve and see themselves as representatives of the state front liners at giving investors excellent service and be ready to drive both existing and potential investors through excellent service delivery

The 12 ambassadors inaugurated include Consultant, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Fatai Adeboyejo; Deputy Surveyor-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mrs. Halimat Yusuf; Director, Physical Planning, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Felicia Aleburu; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Physical Planning and Urban Development Mr. Jolaoluwa Olugbemisola; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Suraj Fashola; Director, Land Acquisition, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Anifowose Olatunji and Director of Commercial Services, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ogunsanwo.

Others are Director of Environmental Quality Control, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Mary Adeosun; Director of Geological Services, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Lekan Eniolawun; Director, Estate and Facility Management, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, Mr. Olusola Abijo; Director, Estate, Housing Corporation, Mr. Nafiu Olaleye and Deputy Director, Local Government Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Olapemiju Quadri.

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