Volume II, Issue 18

Magazine cover 18This week on the June 08, 2009 edition of Fortune&Class Weekly:

  • FIRS bars ETB, Spring Bank, Wema Bank – The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has barred three banks from collecting taxes and other revenue due to the federal government on its behalf.

The banks, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), Spring Bank and Wema Bank were given the marching order because they refused to accede to the request by the FIRS to sign the mandatory collection agreement, a source in FIRS has confided in Fortune&Class.

According to the high level source in the revenue collection agency, the FIRS have had to introduce the mandatory collection agreement as a legal contract between it and financial institutions that desire to serve as collection agencies for it (FIRS). (read more)

Who Is In Charge Of The Stock Market? Daisy Ekine, SEC DG, Moves To Tame NSE DG, Okereke-Onyiuke

daisy ekineThe demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange has become the standard issue to determine the agency that wields ultimate authority and control on the Nigerian stock market. Simply put, demutualisation means that the Nigerian Stock Exchange transforms into the equivalence of a quoted company with its share available to the investing public for subscription and trading.

The imagination of the investing public had been excited since since October last year when  the Director-General of the NSE, Prof. (Mrs.) Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke announced that there would be a demutualisation of the Exchange, announcing in the same breathe that she and seven senior officials of the NSE are to retire voluntarily.

According to the DG of the NSE, at a February 2009 press conference, the Council of the NSE had appointed Accenture, the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company to help with the demutualization and transformation of the Exchange to become profit making, she explained at the press conference that “ we have to re-orientate and transform the management and staff (of the Exchange) to look at the Exchange as a profit making company like First Bank, Unilever, Japaul and even our own Central Securities Clearing System.” …

Bank Managers Divert Customers To Black Market Lenders

Chukwuma Soludo, CBN GovernorChukwuma Soludo, fmr CBN Governor

Some branch managers of commercial banks in Nigeria have become lending authorities by themselves, a Fortune&Class investigation has revealed. The activities of these managers, according to the investigation, has led to the emergence and thriving of a black market for lending which, however, has become a source of worries and consternation for customers who are protesting how they are being exploited by the black market lenders.

For each bank branch, there is the unofficial lender, operated by the branch manager with the connivance of some other bank branch officials. When a customer approaches the branch with a request to raise fund for a business, the customer is as usual, confronted with a long list of requirements to be considered before loan application is approved. …

Agagu is Arrow-Head of SW 8, Wema Bank New Core Investor

Segun Oloketuyi, Olusegun AgaguSegun Oloketuyi, Olusegun Agagu

It has been reported that barring any unforeseen circumstance, Mr. Segun Oloketuyi, an executive director with Skye Bank, may soon be named as the new group managing director of Wema Bank Plc following the successful acquisition of 27 per cent controlling shares by new core investors, SW8 Consortium, in the bank.

Until recently, officials of the bank and regulatory agencies involved in the ownership structuring of banks in the country have decidedly kept sealed lips on the individuals and interests involved in the SW8 Consortium.

To sate the going curiosity of investors that desire to take position in the bank, Fortune&Class reveal that Dr. Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo State is the arrow head of other mainly political personalities behind the SW8 Consortium.

Agagu served as Minister of Power in ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet between 1999 and 2003 and was elected Governor of Ondo State in 2003. Agagu re-election for a second term was, however, challenged this year by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who eventually secured the rulings of both the election petition tribunal and the appeal court panel that asserted that Mimiko was the rightfully elected Governor of the State.


Soludo - seeks solution

Soludo - seeks solution

Finally, Nigeria has admitted to the fact that she is not immune to the global economic crisis that resulted from the international capital melt-down, which has its origin in the United States of America’s mortgage crisis. The fact of the crisis seeping through our national border to affect our very existence has been known by many except those who should know and are paid to know, in the first place. And why they chose to play hide and seek, still confounds the logically minded. What is, however, important now is to look at ways we can salvage the situation so as to keep businesses going now that our pretensions have fallen flat on the face.

The world or Nigeria is not new to economic crisis which may result from any of the following situations either by way of shortages of goods or services as a result of over-demand, when companies can not meet up with supplies; or inflation when general price level for raw materials and finished goods rises faster and well above annual average; or as a result of recession or depression which is a situation given rise to by slow-down in economic growth, marked by a decline in orders, high inventories, low capacity utilization and lay offs of workers.

Nigeria in particular has experienced all the above stated factors over the years except, arguably, recession or depression. We have had a fair dose of shortages in the 80s may be as a result of the way the economy was being managed then with heavy government involvement. Just as we have had to perpetually contend with inflation which is still present with us till date.

Before this current crisis things have changed for the better in the way the economy is being managed. The economy has been deregulated. Government has divested from most of the concerns that hitherto created bottle necks in the supply chain of goods. How well this approach to running the economy has been is another kettle of fish, however. But of immediate concern is how we can best manage the present crisis.

Before proffering some strategic options, we need to ascertain that we have on our hands all the economic situations as in shortages, inflation and recession and or depression in Nigeria. It can be said that we do not have shortages as in the developed markets of the west, at least basic needs might be costly, but are available.

It is equally difficult to state that we are in a state of recession because the ingredients for recession are not too visible, at least, for now. Some countries in Europe have already declared recession. In Britain, prices of goods are already driving down.

Arguably, the only factor present with us is inflation and economic instability which has to do more with poorly formulated policies and halt-heated application of same. This situation has been long with us and is not about leaving us. So how do we manage it to our advantage, particularly the businesses?

The very first strategy to pursue in times like this is policy consistency. Nigeria has never had a stable policy on any thing. No one policy has ever lasted up to five years in operation. There are some that were even changed as soon as they were made. Policy inconsistencies and lack of basic guidelines in some key areas as well as official tardiness has combined to create instability in businesses’ plans. Just as lack of state plan from which business can draw from and decayed infrastructure has made the operating environment hostile. A good example of official tardiness that impact negatively on businesses is the ugly drama playing out at the port by the name ‘port congestion,’ which is another shame.

Strategic option number two is to look inward and take advantage of local resources both material and men, which is in abundance here. Let us look back to the nineties when our businesses suffered divestments by the west, leaving Nigerian managers in the saddle. Companies like Lever Brothers as it was then called, Guinness Nigeria plc, Nigerian Breweries to mention a few, did so well in their respective areas of business. They recorded growth and expansion to the envy of the run-away investors, now back.

Our businesses are not wanting in the area of product development with local content base. For example, in the 1980s, NBL came up with a soft drink called ‘Green Sandy’ which suddenly disappeared from the market without trace. The performance of our banks in this area is legendary. More of this innovation will leverage us from the hostile global economic environment where we are too technically weak to compete.

One other area to look at is pulling together of resources to fund some special projects of common value and interest just as the banks did in the area of security recently. Research projects in area of raw material sources could also be jointly funded.

Rather than raise prices endlessly, businesses should take the option of concentrating on those products that gives higher returns but at a moderate cost. For example, Cowbell Milk introduced sachet milk to reduce cost of packaging and yet, has everyone taking milk.

Lastly, it will be appreciated if heavy investment is made in the area of infrastructure. Our roads remain in pretty bad shapes. Energy power is completely out with PHCN refusing to give up power it has held on since it came to be. The education sector remains comatose. The communications sector is having a field day short-changing subscribers on the cheap excuse of having to cope with hash business climate.

Just how do we go forward and when are we going to behave?


The United States of America Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. This enables large and small U.S. companies to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy.

The Ex-Im Bank provides Working Capital Guarantees (Pre-Export Financing), Export Credit Insurance, Loan Guarantees and Direct Loans (Buyer Financing) to beneficiaries in countries around the world. These beneficiaries are availed the opportunity to fund new business initiatives and to finance the expansion of ongoing business concerns through accredited agents of the Ex-Im Bank.

One of the accredited agents of the US Ex-Im Bank with special focus on Nigeria’s business environ-ment is Financial-Bridge, a Florida, USA Corporation providing Export Finance and Business Credit Consulting Services to U.S. and international private companies and govern-ment agencies. Financial Bridge is represented in Nigeria by Energy Industry Development Initiative. In this review, continued from last week, we highlight business projects the US Ex-IM Bank is ready to finance in Nigeria.

Hospitality and tourism

Pre-Engineered 3-5 Star Hotels: Pre-engineered 3 to 4 Star Hotel with 80-100 rooms can be established at an estimated cost of $12-$14.8 million, while a 5 Star – 125 Room Hotel is estimated to cost over $25 million, complete with civil engineering & foundation construction, installation, furnishing, room TVs, VSAT based wireless telephone and Internet network systems, stand-by power generators, standard swimming pool, tennis court and dry-run of all equipment and fittings. The hotel project can be run by a technical expatriate management company or a renowned hotel chain for five-ten years, pending when local staff are trained to take over management.

Amusement Park Project: The Amusement Park Project will provide leisure to the public, complete with popular rides, indoor/outdoor soft playground equipment as well as the installation of a wide range of entertainment attractions.

The rides will include Shuttle Loop Roller Coaster, Mobile Play and Giant Games, Triple Giant Wheel, Coaster Wheel, Soft Style Children Playground, Water and Magic Arms Rides as well as Theme Park Amusement facilities such as Concession Stands and Theme Stores. An artificial Lake can also be developed adjacent to the project site or the project can be sited near a natural lake.

The design concept will provide innovative products and theme park attractions, which will include popular cartoon character themes and/or any other local themes recommended.

The indoor rides and games will make for a safe place for children to visit while conquering the boredom factor and providing entertainment for them and their adult parents. Safety, cleanliness, good customer service, low prices and exciting staff will be the selling points of the proposed Amusement Park. The Park will be capable of organizing groups and school tours events, birthday parties and family outings.

Batting Cages: Base Ball enthusiasts will be able to practice hitting a home run safely within the Batting Cages. Balls will be pitched from automatic Pitching Machines and can be enjoyed by Beginners and Experts alike.

In door Game room: Complete with State-of-the-art Arcade Games, Pool and Air Hockey Tables and Snack Bar. The Game room will organize games for Children to play and be able to win all kinds of prizes.

Stock & Go Karts: Miniature Stock Car racers are popular with children and adults alike and will be part of the Amusement Park.

Miniature Golf: An 18-hole Golf Course with challenging obstacles of various themes as integrated in the Park.

Inflatable Jumpers: – Jumps Specifications: Size: 13′ X 15′ Height: 15′, Area needed: 15′ X 18′ minimum, each capable of accommodating 8-10 children.

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up: From $5.7 million.

Oil, gas and power projects – Modular Oil Refineries, Gas Gathering & Processing Plants, Downstream Petrochemical and Power Projects

Mini Refinery & Portable Crude Oil Distillation Plant: The Mini Refinery & Portable Crude Oil Distillation Plant is capable of processing from 2,000 Barrels Per Day (BPD) of any stream of Light or Heavy Crude Oil within API Gravity of 29°- 42.8°, into Naphtha, Diesel, Kerosene and Fuel Oil.

Mini Refineries are ideally suited for remote locations and are viable for Investments by Private and Public Sector Groups as a source of rapid production of primary fuel products and raw materials for Petrochemical Downstream Industries. Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation, Training, & Start-up: $12.75 million.

Integrated Natural Gas Field Gathering, LPG Processing and Co-Generation Power Project: The project will involve development of integrated Natural Gas Field Gathering, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Processing and Co-Generation Power Plant, to recover Flared Natural Gas as raw material from Oilfield Natural Gas Streams and fractionate the Gas into Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), for Commercial Bottling and Condensates – C5 + Liquid Light Naphtha, for sale as Gasoline Blend Stock, Base Feedstock for the Plastic Industry and Solvents for Paint and Chemical Industries.

The Co-Generation Electricity Power Plant will utilize the by-product of Lean Dry Gas as fuel to power the Plant. The Integrated Plant will be designed to produce three commercial products, including 55 MW/Day of Electric Power, 4,500 BPD of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and 1,275 BPD of Condensates – C5 + Liquid Light Naphtha. Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training & Start-up – $125 million.

Modular 6,000 or 12,000 BPD Crude Oil Refinery Plant: Modular Crude Oil Refinery with capacity of 6,000 BPD, complete with 3,000 BPD Catalytic Reformer/ Hydrotreater can be designed to produce Unleaded Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene/ Aviation Fuel and Fuel Oil. The Plant can also be expanded to 12,000BPD, complete with Stabilizer Tower.

The Modular Refinery can be configured to process Crude Oils with API Gravity of 20°- 42.8°, with typical products yield as follows:

Equipment List of a 6,000 and 12,000BPD Modular Refinery Plants & Machinery include:

a. Plants & Machinery:  6,000BPD Crude Topping Unit (Distillation System)  Boiler System and Cooling Tower System and Stabilizer Tower  Blower System and Desalter System, 1 MW Power Generator System  Flare System and Air Compressor System, 3,000 BPD Catalytic Reformer/ Hydrotreater  Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings Admini-strative, Project & Auxiliary  Internal Piping Systems and 120,000bbl Tank farm with Piping and Loading Systems  Pipeline & Accessories, capable of constructing up to 10 km 6 inch dual Pipelines connecting the Refinery Tank Farm with Crude Oil Source (1 Pipeline to carry Crude Oil Feedstock and the other Refined Petroleum Products) Water Treatment Systems & Lightning Protection Equipment  Ocean Freight and Transit Insurance, P&M Installation Costs and Spare Parts, etc.

b. Local In-country Project Site Construction Components:  Site Survey & Clearing, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Soil Boring, Topographical Survey, Borehole Construction, Water Analysis, Topsoil Stripping and Stockpiling (available size of land 15-20 Hectares)  Fencing, Erection of Site Office and General Site Engineering Design Construction  Right of Way (ROW) Survey of Pipeline Route to connect the Refinery’s Tank Farm to Crude Oil Terminal Source of up to10 km away  Construction of Pre-Engineered Project Buildings Foundations and Foundations for Equipment, Plants and Machinery Layout and Construction of Tank Farm Foundations  Installation of Pre-Engineered Project Buildings Local Engineering Costs.

Total Project Cost 6,000BPD, 120,000 bbl Tank Farm and 3,000BPD Catalytic Reformer/ Hydrotreater, including cost of Installation, Training, and Start-up $59.73 million.

To raise the capacity to 12,000BPD with the additions of 6,000BPD Distillation Unit, 120,000 Barrels Tank Farm and 3MW Power Generators, the combined cost is estimated at $112.94 million.

Modular Gas Gathering and Processing Plant – 5 MMSCFD of Mixed Natural Gas and LPG: The 5 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) Natural Gas Gathering and LPG Processing Plant has capacity to produce Lean Gas suitable for use in power generation and LPG for commercial bottling. ThePlant will be skid mounted and come complete with Liquid Recovery, Field Compression Systems, Control Panel, LPG Storage, Power Generation and Pre-Engineered Control Building, etc.

The plant will be capable of gathering Raw Natural Gas being flared from wellheads / flare-heads and piped into a holding tank. The Gas will then be processed to remove impurities and separated into components such as Propane and Butane. Estimated Cost: $25 million, covering CIF, Installation, Training, & Start-up.

Blended Bunker Fuel and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) Plant: This plant can produce Blended Bunker Fuel consisting of Gas Oil (AGO) and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) with a capacity of 500 Barrels Per Day (BPD) or 80,000 liters per day, used for firing boilers, furnaces, air heaters, fuel for ships and power generating sets. Bunker Fuel for Ships and Vessels can be produced from residue of petroleum refining operations. Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up: From $4.5 million.

Specialty Solvents Plant: A typical Solvents Plant utilizes Naphtha produced from the Crude Oil Refining Process as raw material for the production of commercial solvents used by the Ink, Aluminum and Paint Industries. The plant will be capable of producing Ink Oils used in the manufacture of lithographic printing inks for printing high-grade magazines, fine-quality commercial work and newspapers.

The plant can also produce Odorless Paint Thinners and Mineral Spirits for Oil Based Paints, packed in 5 gallons, 1 gallon and quart containers. Estimated Cost From $4.5 million for a portable solvent plant capable of producing 70,000 liters per day of mixed products, including CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up.

Industrial Lubricants, Greases and Gear Oil Plant: The modular plant is capable of producing a mixed quantity of Industrial Lubricants, Greases and Gear Oil with a capacity of 15,000 gallons per day. The Plant will manufacture various grades of Lubricant Oils produced by blending quantities of Naphthenic base oils with various additives and packed in 55-gallon drums, 5-gallon pails and smaller containers.

The plant could also produce various blends of higher concentration of Lubricants, Greases and Gear Oil products. The products will be designed to have long lasting friction free coating to penetrate, protect and lubricate moving and stationary metal surfaces. Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up: From $3.75 million.

Liquid Asphalt Production and Batch Plant: The Liquid Asphalt Plant can be designed to produce 1,000BPD 3,000BPD of Liquid Asphalt from Crude Oil or Fuel Oil/Residium as Raw Material. The Plant can be integrated with an Asphalt Batch Line for the production of Bituminous Pavement Materials used for Road Construction and Surfacing.

The Batch Line will be capable of producing Hot Mix Asphalt for Road Patching & Paving by mixing aggregates with Liquid Asphalt and Cement to produce from 3 tons/hr. Bituminous Pavement Material. Estimated Cost – Integrated 1,000BPD Liquid Asphalt and 3 tons/hr. Batch Plant – CIF, Installation, Training & Start-up – From $7.98 million.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Filling Plant: The LPG Filling Plant will commercially bottle Liquefied Petroleum Gas sourced from Processing Unit of a Gas Gathering Plant or a local Crude Oil Refinery, which will be bottled for domestic consumers. The LPG Filling Plant will have capacity to bottle a mix of 600-1,500 12.5kg, 15kg & 45kg cylinders per hour.

The Plant will come complete with 12-18 Heads Gas Filling Carousel, Piping System, Sprinkler System, Standby Power Generator, Chain Conveyor, Loading and Unloading Compressor Systems, 3 x LPG Tank Lorry Trucks and Gas Storage Tank, Pre-Engineered Factory Building, etc. Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training & Start-up – $3.5 million.

Natural Gas & Diesel Power Generation Projects: Natural Gas & Diesel Electricity Power Plants are available for installation as independent and reliable continuous-run power generating units. The capacity of each unit range between 1MW and 3.25MW designed to utilize Natural Gas connected to a pipeline from a Gas Recovery and Processing Unit or Depot as well as Diesel, as fuel to power the plants. Estimated cost: From $980,000.

The Plants can be combined in multiple units to form a large power project with generating capacity of between 15MW and +100MW per location, complete with central control system allowing multiple units to function in parallel as load is added or dropped. A compact Trailer Unit of 25 MW Gas Turbine can also be supplied within 12 months of placing order. Estimated cost: From $16 million.

Aviation – New & Used Passenger & Cargo Aircrafts, Helicopters, Airport and Heliport Development & Expansion, Aviaonics & Spare Parts

Cargo Airport & Aircraft Maintenance Facility: A Cargo Airport and Aircrafts Maintenance Facility Project can serve as a hub for fast growing and evolving global Air Cargo as well as cost-effective regular Maintenance and C & D Checks of Aircraft Fleets in a developing region.

The development of a new international standard Cargo Airport & Aircraft Maintenance Facility or expansion of an existing Airport to serve the same purpose is estimated to cost between $180 million and +$250 million, covering the construction of facilities and structures to include:

 3,600 meter Runway and adjoining Taxiways & Air Traffic Control Tower

 Apron Area for Overnight Parking of Aircrafts

Pre-Engineered Terminal Building with four (4) Gate Loading Bridges

 Aircraft Maintenance Facility & Aircraft Tooling and Equipment

Eight Low Bay Cargo Buildings, High Bay Cargo Building and High Bay Cargo Facilities

 Airport Internal and External Roads, Gates and Parking Area

Fire Station, Fuel Depot, Electric Power Plants and Water Treatment & Supply System

Facilities for Shops and Concessionaire Operations, Air Cargo Handling Systems,

Storage and Warehousing

 Aircraft Maintenance Training School

A Pre-Engineered 4-Star 100 Room Hotel, complete with Furnishing & Fittings

The project will include the purchase of two Boeing 727 Cargo Aircrafts to provide Air Cargo services to local and International freight routes, as integrated part of the overall project implementation.

Services to be provided include:

 Air Cargo Processing & Handling Services

Scheduled Aircraft Maintenance Checks

 C and D Maintenance Checks

 Airline Passenger Service

Commuter Transportation

Helicopter Passenger & Emergency Services

Concessionaire Operations

Hotel Services


Used / Pre-Owned Commercial Aircrafts:

Boeing 737-204 Advanced Aircraft available for Inspection and Supply.

Navigational, Communication, Electronic Systems, Furnishing & Equipment List. Estimated Cost: From $3million to $8million depending on Aircraft Age and Flight Hours.

1982 Boeing 737-200:

Typical Specifications:


Total Hours: 69553

Total Cycles: 76015


Maximum taxi: 116000

Maximum takeoff: 115500

Maximum landing: 103000

Maximum zero fuel: 95000

Operator’s empty weight: 65037

Fuel capacity: 34552


Seating capacity: 122 Y CLASS

Galleys: 2 FWD & 2 AFT

Lavatories: 2 FWD & 2 AFT

Estimated Cost: From $3million to $5million depending on Aircraft Age and Flight Hours.

1985 Boeing 737-300 PAX:

Typical Specifications:


Auto flight Autopilot/FLT

Director , Air Data Computer, Flight Control Computer, Flight Mode Control Panel Auto Throttle Computer , Commun-ications VHF/Comm Panel

Audio SEL Panels , VHF Comm Transceiver Collins

PSGR Address , ACARS

Cockpit Voice Recorder , Instruments Flight Data Recorder Central Aural Warning Unit , TCAS, DME Transceiver and ADF Receiver, Standby Horizon and Marker Receiver

Equipment: 12 First Class / 112 Coach max seating per TCDS = 1491 fw lav / 2 aft , 4 Atlas Galleys, Life Vests, Escape path lighting

Extra Features: APU GTCP85 129CKB/ Honeywell TT 28,172 Time since last shop visit 2,264

Times: Total Time = 52,420 Cycles = 27,318 fresh “C” upon return, ” D” due March 07

Estimated Cost: From $12 million

 Helicopters and Heliports: Available new and used 2-7 Seater Basic & Executive series Helicopters are ideally suited for Private, Business and Utility Missions including Air Taxi, Sightseeing, Aerial Photography, News Reporting, Medical Emergencies, Police, Border & Coastal Patrol, Agricultural Spraying, Urban and Maritime Surveillance, etc.

Estimated Cost – CIF, including Painting to buyer’s colors, Test Flight and basic Training Run, from $455,000 through +$2 million.

Heliports can also be turnkey designed and constructed for hospitals, businesses and government offices. For rooftops, modular, steel and aluminum platforms can be constructed complete with lighting and fire protection system. Estimated Cost from $500,000.

Next week, we continue with business projects being financed at the moment in Nigeria by the US Ex-Im Bank through FinancialBridge and the process for securing this offshore funding for projects in the country.


SUNDAY AKINTOLA is specially proud of beating all the odds as a home boy growing up in the densely populated Mushin area of Lagos State to become a successful owner of business chains that span micro finance and telecommunications. In this interview with GOKE OLUWOLE, and TAI ADEWALE SHOFELA, Chairman of Sovereign Micro Finance Bank, AKINTOLA shares his journey to conquering the litany of challenges that littered his path to business success.

How would you describe yourself?

Yes, by His grace, I am Sunday Akintola, a gentleman who happens to be one of the lucky entrepreneurs whose company is positively impacting on Nigeria in the area of poverty alleviation. I am the Chairman of the Board of three companies; Covenant Perazim Investment Limited, a multi-facetted company established to operate in the Oil, Gas and Agriculture sectors, Sufi Enterprises Limited, which is a company involved in the sale and distribution of GSM companies recharge cards, and Sovereign Micro-Finance Bank. I am a graduate of Accounting from the University of Lagos. I am also an ex-banker having worked with one of Nigeria’s fastest growing banks Zenith Bank Plc.

Briefly, can you tell us the background to how you grew this multi million naira business empire?

Most big businesses always start in small ways. This multi-million business concern, like you rightly said, is a business that was registered first as Covenant Perazim Investment Limited in November, 2003 while I was still in service with Zenith Bank. It was then the thought occurred to me on what I could do to change my life and touch the lives of other people around me. I thereafter initiated the venture, but we started operation with four staff which included my wife and my brother in-law in a shop here in Mushin from where we sold telecoms recharge cards.

I resigned from my banking job six months after we commenced operations, to be precise, July 1, 2004, two days after securing the NCC dealership licence. In fact, I got my licence on a Sunday and I put in my resignation the following Tuesday, and by August, 2004, I was already able to raise the mandatory N5 million to join the recharge card dealership community of the then V-Mobile Network with Sufi Enterprises Ltd.

All these while, my colleagues, some in the banking halls and some from other companies like Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and other multi-nationals, were greatly disturbed about my decision to go into business; they asked if something was wrong with me and how could I leave certainty for uncertainty; leaving the bank to go and sell recharge card. For them, it sounded absurd. But I told them I wanted to go and develop my business.

Things started to crystallize for us because all we were doing then was to get some money to buy and sell recharge cards until we had our breakthrough when in 2006 the V-Mobile Network started seeing us as a serious business entity, and in 2007, we won the best dealers award of the V-Mobile Network. That same 2007, we were among the 25 dealers selected in Lagos and promoted to the status of big dealers. However, as part of the requirements of that new status back then, we were also expected to have our own building as office complex. On the back of this, we decided to build our own building. Thankfully, by the end of 2007 we were able to build our own office complex.

Personally, how had your background influenced the development of your business?

I am a proper Mushin boy, born and bred in this community where people have the notion that nothing good can come out of the community. While we were in the secondary school, those of us from Mushin were seen as boys from homes of hooligans and thugs but to God be the glory, we came out very disciplined, because I am fortunate to have very responsible parents who gave us good up bringing.

Can you believe that as far back as 1963, my Dad refused all discouragement from others not to send my elder sister to school; he sent her to the only private boarding school then in Abeokuta, the Baptist Private School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta. People were laughing at our parents for sending my sister to the boarding school. Ironically, I had to attend a public school, Odo Abore Primary School in Mushin. I guess my brilliance then impressed the school management such that they made me the school’s senior prefect.

After finishing at Odo Abore, my parents preferred that I schooled out of Lagos State, they rejected my preference for the Nigerian Model College at Idi-Oro, a suburb of Mushin. They sent me to Baptist High School, Saki, in Oyo State. From Saki I proceed to the Lagos State College of Education, and later, to the University of Lagos where I studied Accounting. I also taught in a primary school for two years before I joined Zenith Bank in 1993 where I spent 11 years before quitting in 2004.

Though my parents were not rich, I remember that they always struggled to pay our school fees then. They thought us about God and, my mother, especially, taught us the principle of prudence and wealth creation. All these contributed to my success today, but the secret to my business success is God. There is nothing we do in this office that we don’t ask for God’s favour, He is our Alpha and Omega. In this office there is nothing we do that we don’t tell God; we pray in the morning and we pray to close each of our day’s operations.

As a major player in the telecoms recharge card distribution and marketing sub sector, how would you describe the industry?

Yes, the industry is full of illiterate and semi illiterate people, but with the new policies from all the companies, I expect that the situation will finally change. I believe that there will be a lot of changes because it is only in the telecoms sector that some illiterate people will buy something at the rate of N400 and sell it for N250, that is about 80 per cent less than the cost price. But now, the business is getting more exciting, interesting, and rewarding than what it used to be.

What prompted your interest in establishing a microfinance bank, which is seen as very risky commercial engagements, or do we reason that you preferred this because of your banking background?

It wasn’t my background in banking that inspired me to establish Sovereign Micro Finance Bank, rather, it was due to my interaction with the people at the grass-roots of my immediate community here in Mushin while I was operating the telecoms business. The economic plight of these people rekindled my interest in empowering the people in my immediate community. You know when we were doing the telecoms business a lot of people always came to us for financial aids in form of soft loans, but there was no way we could be able to solve all these needs, so we now saw the opportunity to serve and empower our people when the CBN came out with the guideline and licensing procedures for establishing micro finance bank, that was the vision.

Again, there was this experience I once had while I was trying to establish a friend in the recharge card business in Abeokuta. I then realized that what most people need is micro-credit, soft loan, when you don’t help people within your neighborhood they will be the same set of people that will make life difficult for you. Do you know some of those my friends who thought something was wrong with me when I left Zenith Bank today are now begging us to be part of what we are doing. But we shall adopt them provided CBN reviews its policy on the board membership; we are also looking for a way to involve them through our forthcoming private placement.

Don’t you think it is easy for Nigerians to abuse the concept of micro finance banking just like the earlier banking and finances houses of the past?

The establishment of microfinance banks and transformation of community banks is a thought in the right direction by the government, it shows the government knows what the needs of the people are; forget about the bastardization of the earlier finance houses, I can tell you the impact of the micro finance bank vision is already showing on our economy. As I am talking to you now, we are highly regulated, every MFB has a CBN supervisor attached to it and every bank is mandated to do a monthly return to CBN. They will trace and check all the loans you disbursed that month, so there is no way you can give all the loans to your family like in the era of finance houses and commercial banks of the past.

You can log on to the CBN’s website and check the full list of the MFBs as they are arranged alphabetically, this is also part of the effort to showcase them (micro finance banks) and for you to know the ones you can deal with, I can assure you there is no MFB that will like to go under because there are lots of opportunities in the micro financing business

Of all the MFBs in Lagos what do you think stands your Sovereign Micro Finance Bank out from the rest?

We believe so much in God, and this is the anchor of our own business philosophy… to be the fulcrum of creating financial independence for the people. You see, all these area boys, some of them have great talents but what they mainly want is financial empowerment. One of them approached us about three months ago that he wanted to have his own bus and I told him to go and start saving, that if he can save N50,000 out of the N450,000 he needed to buy a Faragon Volkswagen Bus, we will fund it.

He jumped at the offer and each day, he deposited N1500 with us out of the N3000 of his daily income from the transport business. We also work with other professional groups on how to empower their members. All these are parts of the ways to eliminate criminality from their minds because if someone has a wife and kids and a job, his approach to life will be different. He will not be thinking that he wants to die because he already knows he has a stake in this world.

What gave you the impression that Mushin people deserve another micro finance bank despite all the commercial bank branches that populate the roads?

I don’t think there is any other community that I will want to serve than the Mushin community; these are the people that deserve to be uplifted and empowered financially. It is the rural people who need micro-credit or micro-funding; our vision in Sovereign MFB is to empower all these so called area boys, and since I grew up in this area, I understand the economic philosophy and psychology of the people.

We’ve already started some collaboration with the professional groups’ trade and artisan associations on how to serve them better, and even the National Union of Road Transport Workers [NURTW]. We hope to set them up with financial backing of our bank.

Our operations here as telecoms recharge distributor had opened our eyes to many needs of the people. We are now able to understand the need of the people of this area, ask anybody here around Mushin, if they know Sufi Enterprises Limited, they’ll tell you that they know us very well, it is the goodwill we’ve created over time that is rubbing on the bank.

I have also realized that commercial banks are too big to recognize micro financing opportunities, they will not fund or support your business when you are small, it is always the big projects of billions and millions of big establishments that they will always be interested in funding while the man whose business need just N5, 000 to survive is left to wallow in abject poverty.

Which was the riskiest investment venture you had made?

The biggest investment risk I ever took was the outright sale of my entire investment portfolio when I couldn’t secure a loan to finance this MFB project. A friend at FirstBank just told me point blank that since my office complex didn’t have a certificate of occupancy, no bank will give me a loan and the best, he advised I did, was to liquidate my stock portfolio. That was how I sold all my stocks just as if I was been pushed by a spirit but to God be the glory, I was lucky enough to escape the stock market crash now being witnessed by investors. Up till today, my stockbroker still enquire from me how I was able to escape the downturn in the market.

There is no business that doesn’t have its own ups and downs, tell us the challenges being faced by operators of microfinance banks in Nigeria?

Our major challenge is commercial banks, they are becoming jealous of our achievements, which is why you see a lot of the country’s mega banks transforming into micro banks. They see us as threats, because they know we can go for clearing by statutory order and with this the commercial banks always stalemated us. At present, we have a serious battle with a commercial bank over a facility of N110million we got from a company which the company, the bank and us decided was supposed to be given to us but when the money was ready, they sat on it, denied us access to it because of our capital base. We need more money to service the micro needs of our people. What we devised now is that we have contacted about three to four banks for our clearing, one is in charge of the financing of Okada scheme, one for the NURTW scheme, while we also get another to manage our other schemes because it would be too risky to keep all our good eggs in one basket.

We are currently working with a commercial bank to provide us with an ATM which will soon be installed to serve the people of Mushin. We are going to table most of these problems before the Central Bank Governor at the next conference of MFBs in Nigeria. Maybe the Governor can help us caution the commercial banks.

Another major challenge we are facing, like every other business in Nigeria, is the problem of power supply. Large amount of our money goes to fuelling of generating sets, and mind you, we bought our own transformer at about N1.8million while our 100 KVA generator costs a whopping N2.9million and this we fuel with N8, 000 daily. If we plough these back into our business do you know the number of people that will benefit from our micro finance bank? The issue of multiple taxation, too, is another serious challenge to business in Lagos.

As an entrepreneur what will you say is your greatest achievement?

What I personally see as our achievement may not be too fantastic to you but for a company that started in a small shop five years ago on this street, selling recharge cards, now owns an edifice housing the headquarters of all our businesses which include banking, aquaculture, oil and gas, and telecoms; all these we can boast is valued to be above N100million.

We have about 60 well remunerated staff, with at least over eight brand new Toyota cars for our staff, and in the next three months, we are going to take delivery of another set of five new Toyota cars for our middle cadre officers. Some of our staffers who were employed some years ago with school certificates are now graduates while some are about completing their choice of courses in various higher institutions. While studying, we make sure they don’t lack anything. None of our staff has been involved in stealing and none had left us. We are still one united family five years after we started. Last December, we harvested our fish pond and the return from the investment yielded about N1.5miilion because it is safer to diversify to other businesses to expand our capital base and income sources.

What is your management style?

I am a hard working person, and all my staff members know this. I am always the first person to resume here and the last person to leave. Can you believe I live in Alagbado, yet I’m always very punctual at the office? You’ll see me resume here by 7.30a.m. everyday, I mentor my staff, they’ve all imbibed discipline from me. You know, I operate an open door policy here, all my staff are well remunerated. If a CEO is not disciplined, the staff will not be disciplined. Again, let me tell you that yesterday (Friday, 9 January) I was with one of my colleagues way back at Zenith Bank and he was reminding me how disciplined we were then while employed at Zenith Bank. He said it was I who once said that I dreamt that one day I would have my own bank, but we all did not believe it then because of the situation surrounding the licensing of commercial banks. But today, both of us are owners of full fledged micro finance banks; he owns Olive Microfinace Bank on Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos, while my own is Sovereign Microfinance Bank, Mushin, Lagos. What we thought was impossible is now a reality in our lives. God has done it, it is easy now to grow a micro-finance bank into a commercial bank and that is our future because in the nearest future we hope to go public.


It is no longer news that the problem Nigeria is having and may continue to haunt her has to do with lack of a functional plan or not planning at all or both. Either way, the fact remains that we need to do some re-think by way of seeing to it that we have a functional plan in place, a plan that we allow businesses to key in into activities with less disruptions and or distortions. A plan that will ensure stable prices and sound projections, with the Nigerian business operating in a near certain environment that is commerce friendly.

The envisaged plan should also take note of state tardiness and pump live into official activities with purpose and focus on what will benefit Nigeria and aid development.

Therefore, in this new year, we should spare some time to reflect on our past, reviewed against our present to shape our future as made popular by the late reggae artist ‘Peter Tosh’ in one of his works titled ‘Equal Rights’, in a lyric that states thus…“I reflect in the past, live in the present but working for the future…“. I propose this approach because Nigeria is notorious for not learning from experience.

The basic management tools that encourages review or auditing or appraisal of activities periodically is only in our consciousness to fulfil all righteousness. Beyond that it must be the way it has been, chaotic, dis-organized and sometimes, very violent and confusing. This way, records would have been compromised, and rules abridged so that accountability will suffer.

Painfully to the generality of the public, and to the benefit of a few who created the confusion, set goals and objective cannot be appraised and measured because the tools to do that has been corrupted and violated all because there was no plan in place at the out set.

The need for this reflection is ever present with us and is now more urgent and necessary than ever given the signals emanating from the direction of the ‘institutions’ that should show the lead and the way the nations’ economic activities should go.

Sadly, the national assembly always not sure of what to do next, may be, because they do not understand their briefs, probably by default or share ignorance, are yet to pass the 2009 budget. It is normal in Nigeria, even when in more than nine years of democratic practise; we are yet to come to terms on the necessity of being orderly. Imagine the senate president suggesting that by 2011, we would have ‘learn’ the act of passing the budget well’ on good time. No problem.

For a nation that has substituted an annual budget for a national plan not much should be expected and you cannot blame the senate president for displaying crass ignorance. It is just that the man has stayed a little more than two terms for a formal degree in a university on the average, yet he is asking for more time to have a resit? And this character is one of the key functionaries who are to give Nigeria an enabling environment for good business by way of laws that tallies with international standard.

Even the budget as presented has once again exposed our readiness to help other economies grow at our own expense. The small and medium sector of the economy received a good measure of neglect by way of protecting imports to local production. No thanks to the complete absence of any concrete serious plan to tackle the energy sector which should have reduced cost of production and conserve foreign reserve from the importation of petroleum products albeit shamefully though. Nor are the authorities bothered on the future health implications of having to run generating sets noted for pollutants. See the ‘Owerri” deaths. Our roads are where madam Dezani met them and may not even receive attention beyond the annual ritual of constructing the roads on paper at Abuja.

The presidency is still on vacation. Can we have some speed? Can we just for Gods sake change our time worn strategy? Please, we need it. And now too.


The United States of America Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) is the official Export Credit Agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. This enables large and small U.S. companies to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy.

The Ex-Im Bank provides Working Capital Guarantees (Pre-Export Financing), Export Credit Insurance, Loan Guarantees and Direct Loans (Buyer Financing) to beneficiaries in countries around the world. These beneficiaries are availed the opportunity to fund new business initiatives and to finance the expansion of ongoing business concerns through accredited agents of the Ex-Im Bank.

One of the accredited agents of the US Ex-Im Bank with special focus on Nigeria’s business environment is FinancialBridge, a Florida, USA Corporation providing Export Finance and Business Credit Consulting Services to U.S. and International Private Companies and Government Agencies. FinancialBridge is represented in Nigeria by Energy Industry Development Initiative. In this review, we highlight 20 business projects the US Ex-Im Bank is ready to finance in Nigeria.

AGRO-BUSINESS Farming, Food Processing & Distribution Projects

1. Fish Processing, Cold Storage & Distribution Project: The project estimated to cost about $5.75 million, will be capable of processing 10-12 tons per 12 hour day of Fresh Fish (Tilapia, Grouper & Catfish), Pink & Grey Shrimps and Crawfish.

The overall goal of the project is to establish a Pre-Engineered Processing Facility in Coastal Fishing Communities that will be capable of processing Fresh Fish, Crawfish and Shrimps purchased from local Fisherman and Fishing Cooperatives for processing and distribution through a Network of ten (10) Fish Shops to be located throughout various markets. The project will also incorporate Smokehouse Equipment capable of producing Smoked Fish & Crawfish Products for International and Local sales.

The project will not be involved in fishing or fish trawling but will provide opportunity to Fishermen that are compelled to smoke dry the day’s catch as a means of preservation, while leftover fresh fish are normally sold in local markets at give away prices to avoid spoilage. The project will ensure proper care in cleaning, handling and packaging the fish, thereby eliminating the fish from spoilage and supply a consistent source of high quality fresh fish free from contamination.

Main Processing Facility:

14,000 sq. ft. Pre-Engineered Project Building with 6,000 sq. ft. Refrigerated Warehouse, Cold Storage and Refrigeration System, Fish, Crawfish & Shrimp

Packaging & Processing Equipment, Standby Power Plant, Industrial Ice Production Equipment, 5 x 2.5 Ton Refrigerated Trucks, Tools and Accessories and 3,500 sq. ft. Wholesale & Retail Fish Market attached to the facility.

Ten (10) x 1,500 sq. ft. Pre-Engineered Fish Shops, each complete with 20 ft. containerized Cold Storage, Refrigerated Counters & Industrial Freezers, as well as portable Power Generators

Smokehouse Equipment

Delivery Support Boats.

Industrial Walk-in Coolers and Freezers

Walk-in Coolers, Freezers and Refrigeration Units:

2. Meat Processing and Packing Plant: The Meat Processing and Packing Plant will process a mixed quantity of Cattle, Goats and Pigs to be sourced from the local heads. The project’s main products line will include Processed Beef Cuts as primal and sub wraps, showing different parts of the meats like Steaks, Middle Meats, etc. Other meat products to be produced will include Goat Meat Cuts, Pork and Pig Meat Cuts, Bacon and Sausage Products, Tenderized and Smoked Meat Parts, etc.

The meat products will be packed in preprinted vacuum-sealed packages under modified atmospheres to retard microbiological spoilage and prevent discoloration of products. The products will be stored in the Plant’s Cold Storage and Refrigeration Systems and distributed to supermarkets utilizing three (3) 20-ton Refrigerated Delivery Trucks initially.

The Plants, Machinery and Equipment list include:

Pre-Engineered Administrative Building

Pre-Engineered Metal Factory Building, complete with Slaughter & Processing Equipment

Bone Grinding – Boiler Building.

Cold Storage and Refrigeration Systems

Smokehouse, Sausage and Bacon Processing Equipment

Tenderization & Sterilization Equipment

Processing and Freeze Packing Equipment

Meat Packaging Equipment & Accessories

Pre-Printed Packing Materials and Sanitation Equipment

1,000KVA Standby Electric Power Generators

2×1 Forklift Truck

3 x 20-ton Refrigerated Trucks

Water Bore Hole Pumps & Tanks, etc.

Estimated Cost: CIF of Plant, Machinery and Equipment, Installation and Start-up: From $4.85 million.

3. Fruit Juice Processing Plant: A 20-30 ton per day Fruit Juice Processing Facility can process and package up to 3,000 liter/hr. of various Juices and Spring Grade Water, bottled and packed in PET and or Pouch Systems.

The system will be designed to wash, prepare and juice a range of citrus and tropical fruits, blow heat set bottles from pre-forms, blending of fortified water and juice based products, flash pasteurization and sanitizing of the filling system, bottles and caps. The system will accommodate 0.5 and 0.75-liter PET bottles with 28mm screw caps or Pouch Drinking System.

Juice Processing Equipment:

2 x 60 Hl raw Juice Holding Tanks with agitators, glycol jacket and cladding and Juice concentrate drum handling and dispensing system.

In-line blending system complete with 15 Hl. batching tank and two 30 Hl. packaging holding tanks.

Single tank CIP/SIP system with Oxine activation unit for cleaning and sanitizing process lines and tanks.

Product transfer hoses for the juice processing area.

Stainless steel hose and bottle cap sanitizing bath.

“PurePass” “Hot Fill” pasteurization system rated at 30 Hl/Hr for non-carbonated products complete with feed tank, filler supply tank and CIP/SIP system.

Oxine activation units to allow the high strength, activated Oxine (4,000 ppm plus), to be used throughout the plant at different concentration levels for sanitizing.

Stretch blow moulding machine for 6,000 BPH with automatic pre-form feeder and hopper, heat exchanger, chiller, compressors, air distribution and filter package.

Two sets – Moulds for 0.5 and 0.75 liter PET bottles with 28mm caps.

PET Bottle Rinser, Filler and 28 mm. screw capping system for juice hot fill and non- carbonated water packaging.

Filler frame and shroud for sterile filling operations.

Pre-rinse unit and Rotary feed table & Slat band chain infeed conveyor

Slat band chain discharge conveyor & Glue wrap around labeler

Shrink wrapper, Tray conveyors, and Ink jet printer

In-feed and discharge interface and build back control.

Pouch Packaging System and Equipment capable of producing up to 7,200 pouches an hour at 100% efficiency:

Pouch filling system for 250 ml. plastic film pouches for water and juice products.

Discharge conveyor and full pouch hopper.

Utilities & QC Equipment:

1x 40 ft. reefer box and 3 Ton chiller unit for raw juice storage tanks to chill the juice for storage

50 HP Steam Boiler With condensate returns and blow down tank

Utilities pipe work and fittings for connecting to the process and packaging plant

Laboratory equipment for in-plant QA for bottled water and juice analysis

Control and Spare parts for 1 year operation

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up: From $6.5 million.

4. Water Bottling & Soft Drink Production Plant: The Plant will be capable of bottling 56,000 Gallons of Processed Water per day packed in .5, 1 & 5 Liter Bottles as well as produce Carbonated Soft Dinks in different flavors, packed in 12oz & 24oz PET Bottles.

Water Bottling Plants, Machinery and Equipment List:

Water Treatment Equipment with State-of-the-art Reverse Osmosis System & Bottling Line

Water Bacteria Protection System

5 Liter + Washer and Filler

Dual Tank Commercial Multimedia Filter:

Dual Tank Commercial Carbon Filter & Anti Scalent Injection System

Purified Water Storage Tanks & Ozone Disinfections Systems:

Small Bottle Packaging System & Shrink Wrapping System

Automatic Bottle Unscrambler & Case Packer

Cleanroom Air Filtration and Pressurization System

Blow Molding System & Standard Test Equipment Package

PET Plastic Bottle Production Line – .5, 1 and 5 Liter Bottles

Water Bottle Molds:

Soft Drinks (Soda) Production Line:

Carbon Dioxide Carbonation Machine:


Modular Steel Factory Building – 80’x 100’x25’

1,000 KVA Caterpillar Standby Power Plants.

Estimated Cost- CIF, Installation of Plants, Machinery and Equipment, Training and Start-up: From $3.6 million.

5. Micro Brewery Plant: Micro Brewery Plant with annual capacity of 15,000 Hectoliters designed to produce Lager Beer, Malted Beverages, Bottled Water and Soft Drinks (soda), with minimum consolidated daily production broken down to:

2,982/22 oz Bottles of Beer per day

5,352/12 oz Bottles of Beer per day

3,894/12 oz Bottles of Malt per day

1,200/12oz Bottles of Mixed Soft Drinks per day 1,200/12oz Bottles of Mixed Diet Soft Drinks per day.

Production Plants, Machinery & Support Equipment List:

Malt Handling and Milling Equipment:

Brewhouse Equipment

Cellar Equipment , Valves and Fittings

Packaging/ Racking System

Lab Equipment

Bottle Filling Equipment

Keg Filling and Cleaning Equipment

Tunnel Pasteurizer

Glycol System Piping and Control

Steam System Piping and Controls

Keg Washing & Filling Machines

Fermenting and Storage Tanks

Water Filtration Equipment

Level Gauge and Air compressor

Yeast Propagation Plant, Tank and Control System

K Mash & Wort Kettle

Kettle Drive (Overhead Drive) & Steel Furnace

Natural Gas or Diesel Burner & Conical Kettle Dome

Inner Light Fixture & Sprinkling Pipe

Whirlpool & Accessories , Steam Condensing Pipe

CIP-Unit , Hot Water Tank ,Steam Heated Heat Exchanger

12-Head Bottling Line

Power Plant

Project Building

Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up: From $5.5 million.

6. Commercial Cassava Farming and Processing Project: The Integrated Cassava Cultivation and Processing Project will be designed as a viable commercial enterprise to utilize available farmland to cultivate Cassava, which has very high secondary product demand as industrial raw materials, apart from domestic consumption demand of various Cassava Food Products.

A Processing Unit will be designed to process 100 to 500 Tons per day of Raw Cassava into Industrial / Commercial Starch and other mixed products of Flour, Garri, Chips, Pellets, Animal Feed and or Glucose Syrup/Powder. The Cassava Farming aspect of the project will be capable of employing over 3,000 workers and cultivate from 500 through 1,000 hectares of farmland.

Applications of Cassava (Tapioca) Starch in Food and Non-Food Industries include:

Filler – Increasing the content of solids in canned soups, ice creams, fruit preserves, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Binder – Binding the products and preventing drying during cooking as in sausages and meat preserves, etc.

Stabilizer – Using the high water-holding capacity as in ice creams, baking powders, etc.

Textile – Size for warp threads to reduce warp breaks and shredding on looms. Printing Starch to thicken dyes and act as carrier for color. Finishing Starch to improve stiffness and weight (Native or Oxidized Starch).

Thickener – Using the paste properties, as in soup, baby food, sauces & gravies.

Paper – To improve strength, increase resistance to folding, etc, and on surface to improve appearance and resistance. For corrugated and laminated paper and paper board box.

As Binder For Industrial Uses – Ceiling board, Gypsum board, Feedstuff (Aquafeed and Livestock Feeds).

Other Industrial Uses – Decomposable Plastic Bags, Tire Industry, as Glue for Plywood Industry and Detergents.

Processing Plants and Machinery include:

Weighing Scales

Root Washing , Burner and Automatic Washing Machine

Chopping & Rasping Equipment & Washing Tower and Desanding Equipment

Cassava Peeling Machine & Automatic Chipping System Machine

Starch Extraction and Pulp Dewatering

Starch Concentration and Fine Fiber Sieving

De-Hydrating Line & Pulp Dewatering Sieve; Washing Tanks and Packaging Bags

Grinding Machine & Extraction/pulp dewatering Unit

Concentration Line & Starch washing & Dewatering Equipment

Drying and Bagging – Pneumatic Flash Dryer

Concentration & Refining Unit , Feed hopper & Discharge belt conveyor

Inclined belt conveyor , Dry cleaning drum & Peel Water Pump

Horizontal, Screw Chopper, Inclined belt conveyor & Feed hopper

Estimated Cost: Cassava Farming Project (Cultivation of +500 Hectares): From $5.75 million.

Estimated Cost: Cassava Processing Plant of 100 tons to 500 tons per day covering CIF, Installation, Training, & Start-up: From $4.8 million through $11 million.

7. Plantain, Cassava and Potato Chips/Flakes Production Plant: The Plant will be designed to process up to 6,500lbs/hr of mixed Raw Materials of Plantain, Cassava and Potato into Chips and Flake Products, packaged in 6oz to 20oz Pre-Printed Packs.

Plantain Chips: Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up: From: $2.82millio

8. Canned Tomato Paste Manufacturing Plant: Canned Tomato Paste Manufacturing Project capable of processing between 2,500 to 6,000 metric tons of Tomato into Canned Tomato Paste Products.

A small scale plant capable of producing 30-40 (12oz/340grams) Cans of Tomato Paste per minute is estimated to cost $5.7 million, including Processing Plants & Machinery, Pre-Engineered Factory Building and Standby Power Plant

A medium scale plant capable of producing 90-100 (12oz/340grams) Cans of Tomato Paste per minute is estimated to cost $9.25 million, including Processing Plants & Machinery, Pre-Engineered Factory Building and Standby Power Plant.

The Tomato Paste Making Machinery includes:

Washing & Sorting Line

Elevator for Fruit, Crusher

De-Pulper & Pre-Heating Unit

Buffer Tank & Vacuum Evaporator

Storage Tank

 Hot Kneader Rotary tank & Automatic Filler

Can Making Line:

Automatic Sheet Feeding Machine

Automatic Tandem Slitters

Cutter Grinder Machine & Outside Lacquer Coating Machine

Automatic Flanging Machine & Automatic End Seamer

Magnetic Elevator & Automatic Body Conveyor

Body Welder , Generator, Exhaust Box

Auto-Seamer, Automatic Can Pasteurizer

Coller Empty Can Feeding Equipment

Pipe for Juice Conveyor , Hygienic System, Conveyor System

Small Tomato Packing System

Automatic Sheet Feeding Machine with Oiling Device

Automatic Gang Slitter & Automatic Strip Feed Pres with Mould

Automatic Curling Machine & Connecting Conveyor

Automatic Lining/Drying Machine & Horizontal End Stacker

9. Fish, Shrimp & Crawfish Trawling Project: Available U.S. manufactured and Pre-Owned fully refurbished Fish, Shrimp/Crawfish Trawlers are in average of 8-15 years old and powered by engines of various models, max speed of 20-40 knots, complete with Navigation / Radio Equipment, GPS Fish/Shrimp Finders, Crew Cabins, Refrigerated Fish/Shrimp Holds and Fiberglass Work Area on Deck. Estimated Cost: Including Cost of Pre-owned Vessel, Refurbishing & Training From $950,000 through $7.1 million.

10 Solid Mineral Mining and Processing Project: Plants and Machinery for use in mining and processing a wide range of solid minerals into commercial and processed exportable raw materials, including Limestone, Clay, Kaolin, Dolomite, Silica Sand, Pyrite, Bauxite, Gypsum, etc.

The Plants and Machinery for a typical solid mineral mining and processing plant will include Crushers, Screens, Machine Feeders, Washing Equipment, Conveyors, Scales, Power Plants, Wheel Loaders, Loader Backhoes, Skid Steer Loaders, Dozers, Excavators, Scrapers, and Cranes, capable of processing up to 20 100 tons per day of related solid mineral products.

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up: including CIF, Installation, Training, & Start-up from $1.2 million through $7.5 million.

A Solid Mineral Processing and Milling Project can also be established to process the lumps and chips of various solid minerals and milled into various export grades of industrial powders of 250 mesh to 1,000 mesh and bagged in 25 kg bags for marketing, depending on local and international buyers’ requirements.

Units of Hammer Mills and Ball Milling Machines will be installed to mill crushed lumps of Dolomite, Granite, Marble, Limestone, Kaolin, Mica and Gypsum into dust range of between 0-20 and further reduced to very fine industrial powder of 250 mesh to 1,000 mesh. By varying the screen size, shaft speed or configuration, the mills can dramatically alter the finished size of the product being ground. Faster speed, a smaller screen and more hammers and addition of ball grinders will result in finer end products of 250-1000 mesh quality. Each component can be changed individually or modified to produce the precise grind required.

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up: $5.25 million.

11 Dredging and Commercial Sand Production Project: Fully equipped Dredger capable of excavating approximately 300 cubic yards of commercial grade sand per hour, utilizing 8′ x 10′ dredge pump. The Dredger uses a hydraulic, submersible 12″ radial fan pump mounted at the end of the boom behind a shrouded, horizontal cutterhead. The pump is rated at 3,500-gpm slurry with a maximum T.D.H. (slurry s.g. 1.25) @ 881 rmp w/2,000 feet discharge length.

Dredge functions are controlled by a diesel/hydraulic power unit driven by a turbo-charged diesel engine with 325 hp at 2,200 rpm. The operator’s cab comes complete with Air Conditioning.

Estimated Cost CIF, Training, Operation and Start-up: $559,000.

12. Portable Sawmill and Wood Processing Project: A typical Wood Processing Project incorporates 4 Portable Sawmills with advanced hydraulics, each with industry-leading 62HP diesel engine for primary sawing of various sizes and types of log into sawn timber products. The plant will be capable of processing wood into export grade Boards, Plywood, Casings, Baseboards, Crowns, Standard Moldings, Chair Rails, Dentils, Mantels, Accessory Blocks, Flooring, Doors and Accessories.

The project will also have three (3) integrated Solar Drying Kiln Systems with solar collectors, three insulated walls, aluminum flashings, drip cap, clear plastic roofing, passage doors and air intake door, distribution and circulation fans, each with a capacity of 3000 bd.ft. Solar energy enters through clear plastic roof, hits the black painted surfaces of the interior walls, baffles and is converted to heat. Three fans circulate dry air drawn from adjusted vent to pickup moisture from lumber piles. Temperature of over 20 degrees is easily achieved for drying.

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation, Training and Start-up: From $710,000.

13. Portable ConcreteRoofing Tiles Plant: The Portable Concrete Roofing Tiles Plant will be supplied in manual, semi-automated and fully automated models, capable of producing complete range of Roofing Tiles, Ridges and Caps, with capacities of minimum 60 tiles per minute or 2,000 – 50,000 roofing tiles per 16hr/day, with fully Acrylic Painting and Stretch Wrapping.

Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation, Training, & Start-up, from $100,000 through

$4.5 million.

14. Corrugated Long Span Aluminum Roofing Sheets & Allied Product Project: The Plants & Machinery will have two lines, with one line producing 16,335 Feet/Day of Corrugated Aluminum Roofing Sheets in 0.35 mm, 0.45 mm, 0.55 mm and 0.70 mm as well as 1,900 Feet/Day of Roofing Ridges, Gutters, Claddings and Roofing Accessories.

The second line will produce Profiles, Aluminum Door & Window Frames as well as Pre-Fabricated Panels and Accessories for construction of Factory, Commercial Buildings and Private Homes.

The project can be expanded into a second phase that would incorporate additional equipment to produce a wide range of aluminum products including Cooking Utensils, Pots and Pans, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Cylinders (12kg & 4kg), Ladders, Automobile Parts and Components, etc.

The raw materials for the manufacture of Corrugated Long Span Aluminum Roofing Sheets, Cladding, Roof Gutters, Ridges and Roofing Accessories, as well as Pre-Fabricated Panels and Accessories for Factory/Commercial Buildings and Private Homes will include Painted Mill Finish Aluminum Coils with dimensions of 0.014″(0.35mm) x 49.213″ through 0.028″ (0.70mm) x 49.213″), while Cold Rolled Mill Finished Aluminum Coils of various sheet thicknesses will be used in the production of Windows and Doors Frames as well as Profiles for Railings, Partitioning, Cashers Cubicles and Roof Gutters.

Estimate cost: CIF, including Installation, Start-up Pre-Painted Raw Materials (Coils), Pre-Engineered Factory Building, Standby Power Plant and Lift Trucks: From

$5.5 million.

15. General Electronic Products Assembly Plant: The project will involve supply and installation of Plants & Machinery to assemble Complete Knock Down (CKD) Components into E-Commerce and General Electronic Products, including GSM Phone Sets, Desktop / Laptop Computers, Central, Window, Wall and Splits Air-conditioning Units, expandable to assemble other products in the future depending on market demand.

Project Implementation will also cover supply of 3 months CKD Stock of the products to be assembled as well as installation of Support Facilities including 80’x100’x25′ Pre-Engineered Steel Factory Building, 600 KVA Standby Caterpillar Power Generator, Satellite Based Wireless Internet System and Walking 4500-Lb Pallet Truck / Rider 6000-Lb Pallet Trucks. Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up from:

$2.75 million.

16. Fertilizer Blending Plant – 60 Ton/hour – packed in 50 kg. Bags: The Plant will produce Multi-Nutrient Fertilizer known as NPK Fertilizer by blending raw materials of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). The Plants, Machinery and Equipment of the 60 tons per day Fertilizer Blending and Bagging Project, estimated to cost from $5.85million.

Equipment: Self-Contained Lump Buster with 304 stainless steel housing and 3′-6” (1.06M) x (4.12M) wide charging hopper with low lip and mounted over elevator intake. Complete with 30 horsepower (22 Kw) totally enclosed fan cooled motorized speed reduction drive. Unit is shipped completely assembled.

Bucket Elevator- 20” (508 mm) x 52” (1320.8 mm) x 73′-0” (22.3 M) discharge height having stainless steel boot with clean-out door. Intermediate and head section of type 304 stainless steel. Elevator is supplied with gravity take-up assembly, including boot sprocket with shaft and double seal take-up bearings. Elevator also includes double interlock pillow block bearings, head shaft, split flanged rim head sprocket and combination chain with attachments ever 3rd link, and 16” (406.4 mm) x 8′ (203.2 mm) Bucket

Heavy Duty 8-Way Distributor, complete with motorized controls. Distributor Housing and internal spout are fabricated of type 304 stainless Steel. Complete with indicator switches to indicate spout position. Spouts to hopper compartments and one spout direct to mixer. Spouting of all 304 stainless steel construction.

Compartment Hopper consisting of: (6) 15 metric tons compartments of all 3/16” (4.76 mm) and ¼” (6.35 mm) steel plate construction. Total hopper capacity is 90 metric tons. Also included are access doors for each compartment. It is recommended that hopper be sandblasted inside and out and coated with coal tar epoxy paint or fabricated of stainless steel. Hopper to be knocked down match-marked and welded in the field to minimize shipping cost.

14” (355.6 mm) Pneumatically Operated Totally Enclosed Salem Valve of stainless steel construction with pneumatic cylinders with Stainless steel rods to be mounted on bottom of hoppers; stainless steel solenoid valve sets for the operation of valves: Canvas Socks and stainless steel clamp bands, provided for dust tight connection to weigh Hopper. Gates extra heavy duty.

17. Hydrated Lime Plant: The Hydrated Lime Plant will process locally available Limestone into Commercial and Export Grade Hydrated Lime Products packed in 50kg Bags. Hydrated Lime (calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2), also known as slaked lime, is a dry powder manufactured by adding water to quicklime, converting the oxide to hydroxide. To produce lime, crushed limestone is burned in a kiln at temperatures ranging from 8900 to 13400C. A dissociation reaction takes place when the limestone is broken down, releasing CO2 and producing CaO or CaO.MgO (quicklime).

Hydrated Lime has a wide industrial application in the Paper, Polymer, Healthcare, Paint, Water Treatment and Asphalt. Hydrated Lime is commonly used as a softeningagent in water treatment as well as a mineral filler and stiffener in binding hot mix asphalt. Estimated Cost – CIF, Installation and Start-up: From $15.8million.

18. Waste Collection, Processing and Recycling Project: The Waste Collection, Processing and Recycling Project is designed to collect Household and Industrial Wastes, including Plastics, Scrap Metals, Paper and Tires, etc., and processed into reusable and marketable raw materials.

The plant is structured as an integrated viable commercial unit, operating three levels of Waste Collection, Sorting and Processing, with a capacity of 50-100 tons per day. The Project content will include Waste Processing & Recycling Plants, Front and Side Loading Garbage Trucks, Handling Equipment & Materials, Home and Office Outdoor Rollout Waste/Garbage Containers, Utility & Support Equipment, etc.

Estimated cost: From $5.75million, covering CIF, Installation, Training & Start-up.

19. VSAT Wireless Telephone and Internet Network Project: The project will involve the utilization of Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) equipment to develop a Wireless Telephone and Internet Network Project capable of utilizing the Network to provide between 1,000 domestic and 10,000 commercial VoIP Telephone Lines, complete with Cordless and Desktop Handsets and Wireless Receiver Units for rural and urban subscribers communities.

The VSAT Wireless Network System can also be configured to facilitate establishment of Digital Wireless Network Centers as Digital Community Resource Cafés to additionally provide Commercial Internet Services, Commercial E-mail Accounts, Web Design and Hosting, Telephone Interlink, Commercial Pre-Paid Calling Card Services and Bandwidth Leasing. Other services will include LAN Administration, Corporate and Commercial Internet and E-mail Access Services to other standard ISP Accounts, Set up of LANs for Corporate Clients, VSAT Point-to-Point Links, Pre-Paid Pay Phone Services and Computer Training for schools, employees of Government agencies, private companies and local communities.

The project will start with the deployment of a high-speed satellite link that will feed a series of transmission towers in turn connected to the end users. The Network Architecture will be fed with a 3.7 satellite link via a satellite dish located on the top of an antenna structure and connected to a Network Operation Center (NOC).

Estimated Cost: CIF, Installation, Training & Start-up and Network Management:

$7.5 million.

2. Portable VSAT Satellite Internet & VoIP Telephone Systems: Commercial IT Projects can be established involving development of Digital Communications Cafes utilizing High-Speed Wireless Internet Satellite Systems, each connected 24 hr/day to provide private IP address on a leased or shared line of up to 2Mbps in download and 512Kbps for upload. The portable system can also provide Voice, Fax and High Speed Internet to remote domestic homes or commercial offices where local telephone carriers are not available.

Each portable unit will be capable of providing Web Access, E-mail Services, Prepaid VoIP Telephones and Fax by Satellite Service. The units can be configured for network solution and will not require local ISP connectivity and come ready-made for easy deployment within a multiple Digital Communications Cafes, which will be housed in Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings shipped along with the equipment.


Africa and the Middle-East

Central and Eastern Europe

European Union

Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Takjikistan, etc.

India, the Caribbean and Pakistan

The development of a Digital Communications Café complete with Portable Satellite Internet System, Accessories, Desktop Computers, Software, One (1) Year Prepaid Access Fees, Backup Generators, etc. Estimated Cost: From $100,000, while portable units for single homes or offices cost from $15,000.

20. Professional Skill Outsourcing Support Facility: The Professional Skill Outsourcing Support Facility has capacity to utilize over 1,000 local Professionals from locations in developing economies to provide services to European and American Companies seeking cheaper Telecom, IT Networking, Insurance, Banking, Financial, Software and Retail Services. Companies from developed economies turn to developing countries with English speaking educated workforce to grow Telecom infrastructure capable of providing Back-Office Support.

The Center will be designed, equipped and fitted with IT and Telecom Facilities as a Business Service Provider and up to the standard of similar Offshore Back-Office Service facilities around the world. Some developing countries have large IT-workforces that can easily be retrained to standards acceptable to companies in the United States and Europe, to serve as Internet and E-commerce Applications and Database Administrators, Software Engineering/Programmers/Analysts, Network Specialists and Communication Engineers.

Other retrained skilled professionals can provide services in Bookkeeping, Inventories, Data Entries, eAccounting, Payroll Processing and Management, Data Conversion, Call/Contact Services, Drawing Conversion, Component Procurement Services, Accounting, Insurance Claims Processing, E-commerce Transaction Support, Live Online Enquiry Handling, Customer Support, Tele Marketing, Transaction Processing, Travel and Hospitality Services, etc.

Many Foreign Banks engage employees at India -Bangalore Centers to process transactions for the banks’ offices in New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo and London. A company in India provides call center and claims processing services for about 25 major corporate clients, mainly financial services companies such as U.S. Credit Card Firms. American CPA Firms and other Corporations in the U.S. outsource preparation of Financial Statements, Payroll Summaries, Income-Tax Returns or other Accounting Outputs to companies in countries that have skilled English speaking manpower.

Estimated Cost of Installation of Pre-Engineered Building to house the Professional Skill Outsourcing Support Facility complete with IT, Telecommunication and Support Equipment capable of training and utilizing over 1,000 Professional for Back Office Support From: $7.5 million.

Next week we continue the highlights of business projects the US Ex-Im Bank is ready to finance in Nigeria and review the process for accessing the funding by Nigerian entrepreneurs.

To be continued.


Land speculators are already contemplating a field day in the Mile2-Badagry corridor of Lagos State. The new wave of expectation that currently suffuse the community of land owning families in this corridor was engendered by the now obvious determination of the Lagos State Government to expand the Mile2-Badagry Express Road to a 10-lane express road, the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The State’s Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Rotimi Oyekan affirmed this much when he explained at a discussion forum that once the road expansion project commences value of landed properties would start heading for the north in the corridor.

The Mile2-Badagry corridor may yet detract attention away from the Mowe-Ofada axis of Ogun. Mowe-Ofada location off the Lagos-Ibadan Express road had provided a natural northward expansion corridor for real estate developers and Lagosians desirous of owning their own houses. But while the Mowe-Ofada axis offers the opportunity of landed assets in a neighbouring state, the Mile2-Badagry corridor offers landed assets within Lagos State. For investment savvy Lagosians, land assets any where in Lagos State are said to be more valuable.

Already, developers that already have their sights set on the Mile2-Badagry corridor have started canvassing the infrastructural strength of the corridor over those of the Mowe-Ofada axis. One said that whereas the areas around Mowe-Ofada are just being developed, the Mile2-Badagry corridor has been progressively developed over the years.

Incidentally, price of a plot of land remains in the same range for both the Mowe-Ofada axis and the Mile2-Badagry corridor. Land speculators argued however, that landed property in the Mile2-Badagry corridor have more potential to appreciate because of the peculiarity of the corridor’s terrain. Bordering the landed space to the left hand side inward Badagry are beach land, which usually are choice property attraction for the rich. And dotting the water ways from Mile2 to Badagry town are island communities that may give way to highbrow real estate. The 10-lane expansion of the road into Badagry will naturally avail a thorough fare for a large population of Lagosians which would make an instant hit for real estate developers and consequent upward impact on the value of properties in the corridor.

‘Shit Business is Truly a Serious Business’

By ol’Victor Ojelabi

Being compelled to write this story, I was trying to find the link. Yes, the link. Because I would have to convince you that mobile toilet and automobiles could be compatible. “It is a sheer display of writing skill, he is just trying to earn his pay,” you may say. Well, maybe, maybe not. But before one jumps into any conclusion, it is important to consider that aside from writing reviews about general maintenance of automobiles and giving tips on those things needed to have a successful motoring life, it is quite important too to consider the comfort of the occupants too, especially on a long journey. I am neither a medical adviser nor a practitioner, but there are other external mobile accessories besides MP3 player and leather seats that add to the comfort and confidence of any traveller. And one of such is a mobile toilet.

In the 70’s or 80’s, I can’t remember precisely, the Queen of England went on a state visit to Australia, and the government had to build toilets (no, ladies’, the Queen can’t possibly sh.t) for the Queen alone at strategic places in case the thing just comes up suddenly; you know, you can’t just trust human gastro-intestinal stability.

Mobile toilet, just as the name signifies, is a kind of moveable toilet that could ease the fear of finding a place to defaecate especially on a long journey. It comes also handy in an event, schools, and social functions, to mention a few.

In the provision of this necessary comfort, a company here in Nigeria has been on the forefront of rendering such a service to majority of Nigerians since 1996. Although it started as an idea in 1992, the first plastic toilets were imported in 1999, before the dream of producing a plastic toilet became a reality in 2002.

According to the initiator of the idea, Mr. Isaac Durojaiye, a former security outfit head, the word mobile toilet came into being when asked to provide security for 10, 000 guests at an outdoor event. Conscious of the fact that mass defecation could pose a serious threat, hence the need for toilets, moveable toilets at that.

And since then, the company has never looked back in easing the menace human faecal waste in our society. In addition to this stride, DMT Mobile Toilet, the foremost mobile sanitation company has effected a 15 per cent reduction in the price of its products from the 1st of January 2009 in keeping with its corporate mission of maintaining and sustaining a cleaner and healthier environment through providing affordable top quality mobile toilet, which is novel and scarce to obtain from other corporate bodies whose prices do not obey law of gravity (You know, the ‘what goes up must come down’ thing.

Since all things came into existence through necessities, the company also established a bio-gas plant designed to process and convert sanitation wastes into cooking gas and gases that can be used to generate electricity, among other uses, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The plant which was developed out of necessity to take care of the wastes by the company and turn into something useful as against giving to the state government to just dump somewhere. And the project, which is also made possible with the technical assistance of its foreign partner, the Environmental Resource Management Foundation, will commence production this year thereby scoring another first in being the first private company to produce bio gas in Nigeria.

As part of its social responsibility, the company has initiated a special scheme called Basic Toilet For Schools Scheme (BTFS), among others, to sell to the public at an affordable price in getting the toilet to the nooks and crannies of the nation. For instance, at the University of Lagos, you can’t urinate on the road. It is prohibited. It is also ungentlemanly, unlady-like; and DMT toilets are strategically placed to help you do your thing in secret, gracefully.

Lagosians will especially benefit from this shit business as it would save them the embarrassment of being caught, embarrassed, arrested, even prosecuted by KAI, Kick Against Indiscipline, for urinating or sh.tting (yagbeing) on the road.

The company armed with the overall objective of proving to the world that Nigeria is doing its best in building a healthy nation, and to continue working assiduously towards achieving the goals enumerated by the United Nations in declaring 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.

The DMT Mobile Toilet, as the only mobile toilet manufacturers in West Africa and the second largest in Africa, is already contributing its own quota in this regard. Commanding the participation of people like Mr. Isaac Durojaiye, Otunba Gadafi, as the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi as Chairman, Fes Eze Eke, Legal Adviser, with a host of foreign partners, among others, this should be telling you that the company is really prepared to tackle Nigerian wastes, through shit business; a serious business indeed!


Nigeria, still smarting from a failed energy policy and implementation procedure during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency may yet be set for another merry-go-round in the endless search for the appropriate strategy and implementation procedure to increase capacity for electricity power generation under the administration of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.

A probe panel empanelled by the House of Representatives, had earlier in the year roused extreme sentiments in the Nigerian public place with revelations of billions of dollars parceled out to contractors of the National Independent Power Project without commensurate result arriving from the fund used in mobilising the contractors.

Though the report of the probe panel is yet to be debated in the House, snippets of the reports and presentations during the seating of the panel had indicted a number of contractors that were said to have been mobilized but had refused to proceed on the contract implementation to appreciable level.

The general tone of the power probe and the obvious public odium it generated apparently informed incumbent president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to insist on an overhaul of the structure and model of the NIPP as envisioned by the erstwhile administration of Obasanjo.

Latest reports from the power sector indicate that appointment of two of the companies alleged to have been indicted in non performance in the controversial NIPP execution of the last regime have been selected by the Yar’Adua’s regime as contractors that would construct power plant projects in Kaduna State.

The House panel had been critical of Rockson Engineering Limited and General Electric, among other companies that received NIPP’s mobilisation funding for several jobs carried out in the Niger Delta area. The Committee said it was worried that NIPP paid Rockson Engineering limited N15, 881,489,984.50k for the Egbema Power project valued at N16, 678,677,726.20k, representing 92 percent while the work done was 19 percent while General Electric was also alleged to have been mobilised $196million without commensurate project advancement.

The panel had concluded that Rockson Engineering should be further investigated, “for incompetence, lack of execution capability and poor performance on Alaoji I, Omoku, Egbema and Gbaran-Ubie power stations and complicity in unreasonably high contract sums claimed for projects.”

Though the two companies had in a press release noted that they had been waiting for Government to strengthen the Imo River Bridge or to arrange for construction of a by-pass (ramp with jetty) for two years. They argued that both the 300 megawatt steam turbines had arrived Onne Port River State and parts already delivered to the Alaoji project site, the two turbine shell which weigh over 200 tonnes each cannot be delivered to site due to the restricted weight limit of the Imo River Bridge.

They also argued that the four (4) General Electric Frame 9E Gas Turbines are also held at Onne Port due to the same reason. They demanded that Government must resolve the issue of crossing the Imo River, which is outside their scope of work, to actualize the Alaoji Power Plant project.

Concerned stakeholders in the Niger Delta however reasoned that GE and Rockson Engineering were not able to deliver on their contract commitment and that it would disastrous to trust the two companies, owned by influential indigenous contractors with another set of contracts in the power sector.

As published on Issue 48 and submitted on http://www.fnc0486.wordpress.com


There is no concise dictionary definition of a bubble share, yet, this rather strange sounding lingo, has become the issue at the heart of the alleged controversial acquisition of Spring Bank Plc by BankPHB Plc. Roughly, bubble share may mean shares held by an individual investor or body corporate that, however, cannot be classified as part of the shares outstanding of a company. In other words, the shares have no credible placement in the books of the company; neither can the shares be accounted for by the owners.

In the present case of the very first hostile take-over of a quoted company in Nigeria as being prosecuted by BankPHB, so much is at stake; the first being the billions of Naira of depositors’ funds being deployed to buy and mop shares of Spring Bank, the target company and the second being the corruption of the well laid out company acquisition process as enshrined in both the Investment and Securities Act 2007 and the Companies and Allied Matters Act. On the far end of the scary spectrum is the risk faced by retail investors that without much crosschecks jump into the Spring Bank shares buying spree propelled by sentiment of high volume activities on the shares of the bank.

The background to the Spring Bank present outrage dates to the eve of the ultimatum for banks in Nigeria to capitalize. Two days before the expiration of the December 31, 2005 date, six banks, among others, were confronted with the possibilities of getting under the slams of the Central Bank sanction of corporate erasure if they could not meet up with the N25billion minimum shareholders’ funds. Fourteen of such banks were dissolved for not making the deadline.

But the six, Citizens International Bank, Guardian Express Bank, ACB International Bank, Fountain Trust Bank, Omega Bank and Trans International Bank, barely made it to the mark. It is, however, no secret that the six banks were strongly edged on into the marriage of mandatory capitalization by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The six banks went into the merger discussion in two different camps; Citizens International Bank, Guardian Express Bank and ACB International Bank had earlier been engaged in merger discussion but the three of them could not mass the needed N25billion collectively. The same was the case with Fountain Trust, Omega Bank and Transnational Bank; the three banks together were not able to raise the required N25billion.

It was rather like a saving grace when CBN invited the six to a meeting and counseled them to pool resources so as to be able to raise the N25billion minimum capitalization requirement. The two camps, now frequently referred to as the Citizens-Guardian Group and Bank One hurriedly signed the merger papers, after signatures and all, Spring Bank was birthed. The Citizen-Guardian Group ownership structure has roots in the Igbo speaking South East Nigeria while Bank One ownership was rooted in the Yoruba speaking southwest Nigeria.

But the provisions of the merger agreement were not without a caveat. A specific requirement in the agreement noted the obvious limitation of the merging banks to conduct due diligence on one another. The due diligence would have allowed each bank to know the true worth of the others in the merger and would have helped to determine the share holdings to be apportioned to each merging bank based on the weight of investment the banks are bringing into the new entity. So, the merger agreement insisted that the six constituent members of the then newly birthed Spring Bank Plc would do a post-merger adjustment. This adjustment would enable the banks review the credibility and truth of the claims of each merging bank and be able to portion the Spring Bank’s shares equitably.

As at the time the merger agreement was signed, Guardian Express Bank claimed it had brought a shareholders’ fund to the tune of N9,580,000,000 while ACB International said it had N420,000,000 shareholders’ fund. Citizens International Bank’s investment in the then new bank was N7,600,000,000 of its shareholders’ fund as claimed. Omega Bank claimed it was investing N9,530,000,000 of its shareholders’ fund with Fountain Trust Bank and Trans International Bank investing N810,000,000 and N2,830,000,000 respectively of their shareholders’ fund. Shares of then new Spring Bank were, in the interim, divided along the individual contribution of each of the merging bank.

Since these were yet unverified figures, the shares allotment were considered interim, only made for administrative convenience. This is what makes the shares in the bank bubble shares.

Naturally, the banks in the Citizens-Guardian Group provided the Managing Director while Bank One provided the Chairman of the board. Mr. Mike Chukwu and Rev. Canon Segun Agbetuyi were appointed Managing Director and Chairman respectively.

But no sooner had the new bank gone into operation than issues relating to the integrity of the figures provided by each of the merging bank started rocking the bank. There were claims and counter claims of insider related loans collected in the legacy banks and had turned liabilities for the bank. But rather than the non performing loans to have been declared as, indeed, non-performing, they were declared as part of the working assets the legacy banks brought into Spring Bank. And more troubling was the allegation that Guardian Express Bank and Citizens International Bank had over-stated their financial positions.

A crisis of confidence ensued on the board of the bank and it thereafter spilled to the public arena with the chairman of the board buying advertisement space in the print media to express as disenchantment with the situation at the bank, especially, as it related to the obvious support the CBN Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo was giving the Citizens Guardian Group.

In a rather pre-emptive move, the CBN Governor sacked the board of the bank, leaving the Managing Director and for the first time, the Governor, tongue in cheek, informed the Nigerian public that the bank did not, in fact, meet the minimum capital requirement when it was approved to operate in the consolidation regime. The sacking of the board with the exception of the MD was protested against; even as new forms of rancour enveloped the proposed board that was to be reconstituted by the CBN with selected representatives of the legacy banks.

Eventually, the CBN had to dissolve the board and constituted a new board with members that had no form of relationship with the legacy banks, Dr. Sulaiman Ndanusa was appointed Managing Director. That was on June 5, 2007.

Since the assumption of office by Ndanusa, the only thing that had changed in the existence of the bank is that it has been saved and taken from the precipice of imminent collapse through what stakeholders have called Ndanusa trust worthy and expert management style. In truth, the bank lost N20billion depositors’ fund in the heat of the crisis of confidence in May/June 2007.

What did not change, however, remains the integrity question that still hangs on the contributory capitalization figures the legacy banks had claimed in the run up to the merger. The post merger adjustment was meant to clean up the figures and it was not until such was done that the bank could be said to have returned to normalcy.

Ndanusa under-scored the much in a cover letter, dated April 20, 2008, he forwarded to the Central Bank in which he noted that: “It is the firm belief of our Board that there can be no effective resolution of the Spring Bank crisis without putting to rest the issue of post-merger adjustments.”

A joint CBN and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation investigating team had earlier in October submitted a report of their investigation in which they asserted there were a lot of discrepancies in the claim of the banks.

Besides, the multiple insider related credits that afflicted the books of the bank, the most contentious issue in arriving at an agreeable post merger adjustment position was the shareholding status of the legacy banks as at the time they individually approached the stock market to raise fund to shore up their capital in the run up to the N25billion capitalization deadline.

The report questioned the holdings of Mr. Cosmas Maduka in the bank. Maduka who owns Coscharis Motors was the single individual largest shareholder in Guardian Express Bank, the legacy bank had been considered to be the highest fund contributor to Spring Bank based on figures presented in the rush of the merger talk. This had also secured a seat for Maduka on the Board of Spring Bank. But the report of the CBN-NDIC investigating team traduced Maduka’s claims.

Alluding to apparent book cooking by legacy bank, Guardian Express, the investigating panel submitted that the bank (Guardian Express Bank) opened its Initial Public Offer on April 18 and closed officially on May 18 2005.

“During that period, the investor (Maduka) who was a major customer of the bank was said to maintain two current accounts, number 01-00004611 and 01-00004612 in the bank. The two accounts were used interchangeably to accommodate the customer’s credit facilities at different times. Before and during the bank’s IPO exercise, transactions posted to account 01-0004611 were mainly credited entries. The account had a credit balance of N2,023,844,922.50 on 11/5/2005 before a cheque of N2,400,000,000 for the purchase of shares was posted into it. The Second account number 01-00004612 which was purportedly opened in September 2004 carried mainly the debit transactions of the customer. The debit balance in the account peaked at N403,211,520.76 on 12/10/2004 before it was brought down to zero balance on 24/12/2004,” the report observed.

The investigating team report further noted that: “However, a review of the customer’s credit files showed that during that period (January to May 2005) he (Maduka) was enjoying credit facilities totaling N2,553,000,000, including two CPs of N1.953 billion and N310million respectively. In other words, the bank did not disclose the account that harboured the customer’s credit facilities during the IPO. We noted further that on June 14, 2005, shortly after the official closure of the IPO, account number 01-00004612 mentioned above which was suspended between January and May 2005, resurfaced and posting of debit transactions into it continued until 20/4/2006 when the debit balance on the account peaked at N2,548,797,899.48.”

The investigating team then averred that: “On that date, the balance was transferred back to account number 01-00004611. Considering the above facts, it is clear that the investor’s facilities during the IPO were merely suspended. As at December 30, 2005, the account balance was N5,961,522.40 (debit)”.

On account of these observations, the investigating team report recommended that the entire investment by Maduka arising from this transaction be rejected because it was financed with facilities from the bank.

This same bank accounting manoeuverings were located in the account of Chief Anthony Ifeyichukwu Ezenna, the proprietor of Orange Drugs.

“Similar to Coscharis Motors Limited, two accounts were maintained fro the investor/customer.” The investigating team report informed. “Account number 02-00022011 and 02-00022013, Account number 02-00022011 through which the customer paid for the shares recorded mainly credit transactions of the customer during the IPO. The balance in the account on 19/5/2005 was N1,031,046,215 (credit) before the cheque of N1,000,800,000 for the share purchase was posted. The second account harboured the debit transaction of the customer. The debit transaction of the customer during the period of the IPO which totalled N1,086,197,382 including interest charge were post valued to August 2005, that was three months after the transaction date. That debit balance increased to N1,170,243,085.22 as at June 30, 2006.”

Based on the revelation arising from the investigation of the books of the bank, the CBN-NDIC investigating team recommended that the entire investment made in the bank be rejected as it was financed from facility from the bank.

The grouse of the CBN-NDIC investigating team had to do with the financing of the purchase of the Guardian Express Bank Initial Public Offer with the bank’s depositors’ fund illegally loaned to the directors.

There were other cases too. The investigating team was particularly enraged with the inappropriateness of the account cooking conduct of Citizens International which it (investigating team) submitted that: “Subsequent to its IPO, Citizens International Bank (CIB) debited its customers’ deposit accounts without their consent as consideration for fully paid up shares of the bank. Following the customers’ protest, the bank created a fictitious loan account in the name of Citizens International Stockbrokers Limited (CISL) in order to make refund to these aggrieved customers. The expectation was that as CISL sell their shares, the loan will be defrayed. It is the on-going investigation that has enabled us to establish a link between the CISL and the IPO exercise of legacy CIB.”

On the basis of this discovery, the investigating team recommended that: “The sum of N5,107,084,950 involved in deposit-equity conversion…should be removed from the share capital of Citizens International Bank.”

Other anomalies too many to be recounted here were discovered by the investigating team; the recommendations of the investigating team were for the purpose of streamlining the share capital of the legacy banks in Spring Bank and to be able to determine which of the directors and investors in the Spring Bank should have what percentage ownership of the consolidated bank.

However, according to FORTUNE&CLASS investigations, it is these contentious share holdings held by Maduka and Ezenna that BankPHB had bought; this, inclusive of the shareholdings in the bank by Ondo State Government.

Sources informed FORTUNE&CLASS that for yet to be ascertained reasons, the CBN encouraged BankPHB to acquire the questionable shares which, a lawyer that we crosschecked with, said that at the minimum, should be warehoused as directed by the CBN until all issues pertaining to the post-merger adjustments are settled.

“The target for BankPHB was to acquire 30 per cent of the total holdings of Spring Bank. I think with the collaboration of the CBN they got Maduka and Ezenna and one other legacy bank director to sell the warehoused shares. At a premium for that matter, I mean, they sold it above going market rate. I am informed that BankPHB bought a unit of these shares from these men at between N8 and N8.50K, and we are talking of about 4billion units here.

“You may need to question the rationale of Francis Atuche, who is the Managing Director of the Bank spending this much of depositors’ funds on shares that are still subject to various court decisions and have been expressly described as not being attributable to the share capital of Spring Bank.”

Another source informed that BankPHB might truly have been encouraged by CBN because as the apex regulatory body of banks, the CBN should have known the controversial status of the shares acquired by BankPHB.

Even more curious is the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the controversial acquisition.

“While it is agreed in the company’s law that once a corporate body had acquired 30 per cent holdings in a target company it can apply to the SEC to commence a take-over bid, yet it is the responsibility of the SEC to ensure the status of the shareholding before giving the go ahead for the take-over process,” a lawyer informed.

But it would seem for other reasons the SEC did not give consideration to this requirement, reports indicated that the representatives of SEC were available at the Extraordinary General Meeting which BankPHB called as the first step to commencing the acquisition of the Spring Bank.

“The issue here is about the law, justification and equity,” the lawyer, who is knowledgeable in the matter concerning the controversial acquisition of bubble shares of Spring Bank, said.

“In the first instance, a court of law had ruled that the Extra Ordinary General Meeting should not hold and all the parties involved were served, including the SEC. Beyond the pronouncement of the court, it is also a statutory requirement of the law that if a take-over company was to hold an Extra Ordinary General Meeting where the issue on the agenda will be the resolution to support the acquisition of a company, the shareholders of the company to be taken over must meet at the another venue but at the precise time the take-over company is meeting. The shareholders of the target company must vote to accept the take-over bid.”

As things stand, the court has been active in the matter of the controversial acquisition. Various orders had earlier been made forbidding the sale of shares by any directors or shareholders of Spring Bank. And to put bite to the orders, the court presided over by Justice Hamed Ramat Mohammed, last week, extended the interim order restraining Spring Bank from any planned merger or acquisition with any other bank.

Again, more curious in the apparent under the table manoeuvres of the acquisition of Spring Bank, was the sudden lifting of the full suspension placed on the trading of the shares of the bank. When a share is placed on full suspension it is not permitted to be traded on. But weeks ago, the management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange suddenly upgraded the full suspension to technical suspension. When a stock is placed on technical suspicion it can be traded on, that is, buy and sell orders can be effected on it but the price would not move either upward or downward.

Suddenly, the shares of Spring Bank turned the golden pearl of the Exchange as massive volume activities were recorded on it. Those that continued to follow the unfolding issues of the bank’s acquisition submitted that the volume activities on the bank’s shares should not be surprising because of the obvious intention of BankPHB.

The upgrading of the full suspension on the stock of Spring Bank to technical throws more questions on the role of the NSE in the acquisition of the bank.

But what should worry depositors of BankPHB is the possibility of the court ruling, in the final analysis, against the acquisition of Spring Bank essentially as a result of the doubtful status of the shares so acquired. When that happens, it means that about N40billion of BankPHB’s depositors’ fund would have simply vanished into the pockets of a number of highly positioned business personalities.