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​Infrastructure development: Lagos woos private sector with tax holiday, other concessions

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Lagos State green mass transit

The Lagos State Government has declared readiness to partner with the organised private sector for sustainable road infrastructure in the state.

The State Government made the decision amidst the economic recession and dwindling financial resources occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic.

This was disclosed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye while addressing members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) who paid a courtesy visit to her office today. 

According to the Special Adviser, there is a new ray of hope for companies coming to enter into Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) with Government, especially in the area of tax holiday as well as branding and advert concessions.

While maintaining that Lagos is deliberately promoting its performance index on the Ease of Doing Business metrix, she said that the invitation extended to the organised private sector to collaborate with the government on infrastructural development can only end up on a win-win situation for the collaborators.

Adeyoye also alluded to the fact that presently road rehabilitation and maintenance is grossly underfunded and the only available option available to Government is to create extra budgetary funding for the maintenance of roads.

She however lauded Zenith and Access Banks for their collaborative efforts in the area of Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership.

The Special Adviser said MAN need to take bold steps to encourage members to partner with the government, adding that there are concessions such as tax holidays and branding and advertisement concession attached to such partnerships. 

Speaking in a similar vein, the Permanent Secretary, Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Olujimi Hotonou said the government cannot provide the entire infrastructure all alone.

He advised that companies can come under the umbrella of PIIP to maintain and rehabilitate existing infrastructure so that Government can concentrate more on the provision of new roads. 

Also speaking, the General Manager, Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory, Dr. Abiodun Afolabi said his agency is well equipped to carry out various quality assurance tests and has zero tolerance for building collapse.

He reiterated that Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory is operating within the ambit of its ministerial responsibilities. 

Earlier, Executive Secretary of Ikeja branch of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Oluchi Odimuko had commended the state government for daily upload of construction work schedule in the state, she however commented on the outrageous bill from the material testing laboratory against the present economic reality of the moment.

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Konga targets New York, London and Nigerian stock exchange listings; investment exceeds $120m

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Konga
CEO of Konga, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, speaking during interview on ChannelsTV
  • Why we rejected a valuation of over $300m from global investors– Prince Ekeh

  • Employ over 150,000 Nigerians

  • Cut losses from N400m to N100m monthly in 2 years

Foremost retail giant, Konga has invested well over $120m since it was acquired two years ago in Nigeria alone and now strategically structured to take on other African countries.

Konga Prime and Konga Prime Pro

Konga Prime and Konga Prime Pro

The foregoing was disclosed by Co-Chief Executive Officer, Konga Group, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh.

‘‘Though we started with a monthly loss of N400m, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, we have gradually been reducing losses and now about N100m loss per month. E-Commerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.

Equally important, Prince Ekeh made the disclosure on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV on Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.

The young business leader, who described Konga as a technology company revealed that Konga employs directly and indirectly over 150,000 Nigerians.

Most of them are merchants, logistics and other service providers.

‘‘We partner to create a trusted and sustainable digitally-driven ecosystem and working hard to scale this to about 250,000 before the end of 2020.

‘‘We see ourselves as more than just an e-Commerce company. Konga is a technology company and as a technology company, we are positioned to leverage that status in deploying new solutions and innovations. Indeed, no one should be surprised if tomorrow, Konga starts launching space ships into orbit. Although we have received several offers from interested investors, we are content with the group that is currently funding Konga. The group is highly ethical and want us to maintain the highest level of integrity. Our investors have assured us of enough capital to survive the next five years at least. This was why we did not accommodate a valuation of $300m from a consortium of global investors last year. 

‘‘However, we are also keen to expand into other African markets after taking charge of the Nigerian market. The e-Commerce market in African is still a largely untapped one. Therefore, any company that makes the right in-roads will reap huge benefits from it,’’ he said.

‘‘We have also received enquiries from the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to list on these markets. It’s something that will happen as part of our African expansion plan when Konga becomes a multi-billion-dollar business.’’

Continuing, he stated: ‘‘Our strategies and tact are 21st century influenced, but also taking cognizance of deficiencies in our country and that was why we spent the first two years rebuilding technologies, setting up secure but robust warehousing facilities and delivery logistics nationwide. With these under our control and owned by us, we are driving towards profitability.  It is important to note that at Konga, we do not believe in just hype

‘‘In addition to our status as a technology company, Konga is also Nigeria’s first ever marketplace and composite e-commerce group. The company is on the verge of rolling out a suite of cutting-edge solutions and services that will excite the market very soon.

‘‘But that is not all. A lot is happening behind the scenes at Konga. We recently announced the re-launch of the Konga Affiliate programme. Also, we developed a solution for corporate procurement which has helped procurement managers in major establishments. Konga boasts the largest collection of merchants and because of this, pricing is very aggressive, thereby helping procurement managers get the best deals on Konga while also promoting transparency. We are committed to our vision and clearly understand that it is a long term and highly ethical race,’’ he concluded.

Acquired by the Zinox Group in December 2018 and having achieved over 1000% growth, Konga has grown from a position of strength into arguably Nigeria’s leading e-Commerce brand, with a long list of innovative strategies and solutions setting it apart in the sector.

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Why our SMERP solution is targeted at SMEs – CWG Plc

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Nigeria’s largest system integration company, CWG Plc, has adduced reasons it is targeting the Small and Medium Enterprise segment of the country’s economy with its cloud-based ERP solution tagged SMERP.

The company believes the successful development and sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises is key as SMEs play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria, where they contribute to new jobs creation by 70 percent.

According to CWG, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs but are lacking the basic tools to function effectively and efficiently.

“We have seen that SMEs in Nigeria face enormous challenges such as innovating, supporting their business growth and keeping the lights on. This is why we have developed the SMERP solution to strategically address their challenges,” said the SMERP’s Product Manager, Omodolapo Orogbemi.

He disclosed that the CWG’s SMERP is a reliable, scalable and flexible solution which can be used to strategically achieve a competitive leading position in the SME sector for Nigeria.

SMERP is capitalizing on this opportunity to achieve success in enabling SMEs to improve the GDP of the Nigerian Economy. 

Specifically, he said the SMERP solution will provide business outcomes such as smooth functioning of daily processes, enhancement of work efficiency, a substantial reduction in recurring cost and improved operational efficiency for SMEs.

Other value proposition of the solution are remote business monitoring, business intelligence & data analytics and improving the overall competitiveness in the world market through modern technologies.

SMERP supports the survival and standardization of the SME sector through different modules such as Invoicing, Accounting, Inventory, CRM, Point of Sale, Rewards and Loyalty Programs.

These benefits to business owners ensure business expansion and transforming one-time customers to regulars.

SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development. They represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. The World Bank Group estimated that formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies.

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Facebook’s connectivity investments to grow Africa’s economy by $57 billion in next five years

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facebook in africa
facebook in Africa

Today, Facebook released findings from The Impact of Facebook’s Connectivity Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, a study conducted by Analysys Mason that highlights how Facebook investments in infrastructure and connectivity across the region will deliver over $57 Billion in Economic Benefits over the next five years (2020–2024).  

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit – Inclusive Internet Index 2020, over 800 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are unconnected to the internet.

Over the years, Facebook has invested in infrastructure and partnerships to address the barriers to connectivity, such as the lack of availability in infrastructureaffordability, relevance and readiness to get online.

Also aiming to provide financial and technical inputs that can make infrastructure easier and cheaper to deploy within the continent, Facebook’s infrastructure investments and connectivity initiatives include the following:

1. Investing in Infrastructure that supports internet connectivity

Submarine cables – Will enable an increase in supply of international bandwidth, reduction in costs for ISPs and resulted in a combination of more connectivity and lower prices for end users.

This includes the 2Africa cable, one of the largest Subsea cable projects in the world, which will circle the African continent, landing in 16 African countries.

2Africa

The Partners on 2Africa project

It will triple the capacity currently provided by all the subsea cables serving Africa today further supporting growth of 4G, 5G and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.

Edge networks – Enables ISPs (Internet Services Providers) and MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) to access content on Facebook’s platform closer to their own networks, increasing service quality and reducing costs while cutting international connectivity and transit costs for operators and improving user experience.

About 70% of Facebook traffic in SSA is now served from within the region and investments in edge network and international capacity together will enable Internet traffic to increase by 9% by 2024 and generate an increase of GDP of USD53 billion over a five-year period.

Backhaul fiber investments through Open Transport Networks (OTNs)– Facebook’s investment in OTNx has seen it deploy 770 kilometers of fiber in Uganda in partnership with operator BCS and Airtel and 750-800 kilometers in Nigeria with infrastructure provider MainOne which has enabled an extension of 3G/4G coverage to over 4 million people.

Facebook

Impact of Facebook Connectivity Initiatives in SSA report

A further 100 kilometers of fiber haul has been deployed in South Africa for Wi-Fi in partnership with operator Vast.

An estimated 700,000 people in Uganda and 300,000 people in Nigeria got online earlier than they would have without the OTNx investments, producing an economic impact of almost USD4 billion between 2020 and 2024.

2. Supporting Mobile Operators through facilitation initiatives 

Express Wi-Fi Facebook has deployed Express Wi-Fi solutions across SSA enabling local ISPs and operators to establish low-cost access networks.

The solutions which are currently available in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania are helping bring more people online and stimulate data usage and Internet traffic overall.

Rural Access partnerships– Facebook has invested in two Rural Access partnerships (Africa Mobile Networks- AMN in Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo, and BRCK in Kenya and Rwanda) that focus on reducing the costs of rolling out broadband in less populated and poorer rural areas.

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP)– Meant to mobilize telecoms operators, vendors, governments and other stakeholders to work towards implementation of new and more cost-effective technological solutions and hardware.

Some of the economic benefits include the enhancement of operators’ ability to extend the coverage of broad networks, thus enabling more people to go online.

These increases in take-up and internet traffic mean that people are more-able to interact with each other, trade online and perform online transactions.

All these activities create benefits for individuals and wider economic and social benefits through improved health and welfare outcomes, skills and education, job creation and productivity.

Kojo Boakye

Kojo Boakye – Photo Credit: Google

Facebook’s Africa Public Policy Director, Kojo Boakye, commented: “At Facebook we’re committed to Africa and the role that we can play in improving the continent’s global competitiveness. Over the last three years we’ve heavily invested in infrastructure and connectivity initiatives that aim to affordably connect people on this continent and create tangible social-economic benefits. These efforts are part of a complex solution that requires all stakeholders – including mobile operators, infrastructure providers and governments – to work together for the common good. We are only 1% finished and remain committed to this exciting journey and working with all our partners along the way.”  

The Impact of Facebook Connectivity Initiatives in SSA report can be accessed here.

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