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Maximising the potentials of e-commerce in Nigeria

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Maximising the potentials of e-commerce in Nigeria

The e-commerce revolution which sparked off in 1994 with a meagre $12.48 worth of transactions, has grown to a whopping $27 trillion market in 2020.

According to eMarketer’s rating. Although the revolution started in the United States, it quickly extended to many countries in Europe and Asia, coming later to Nigeria in the past decade.

Unlike in the US and Europe, the revolution did not quite hit Nigeria with force as adoption of e-commerce was very slow for obvious reasons like internet penetration, distrust for virtual dealings, poor logistics infrastructure, huge capital requirement and low disposable income. These resulted in the low patronage that, in turn, accounted for the high fatality rate of the many e-commerce platforms that ventured to open shop in the country. In order to overcome most of these challenges, the e-commerce platforms had to find their own way out by singlehandedly creating the environment they needed to thrive.

Jumia Nigeria, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, and a couple of other e-commerce platforms that survived found a way to navigate this less-than-desired rate of patronage to stay afloat. For example, with regards to the issue of logistics, that is, moving the merchandise from their warehouses to their customers, these e-commerce platforms  moved away from their traditional buying and selling to logistics operations. Jumia Nigeria, according to its chief executive officer, Massimiliano Spalazzi, entered into strategic partnerships with logistics services providers in order to deliver its customers’ orders to them.

“Most of our peers abroad ride on the back of the existing logistics infrastructure in their countries of operation. For example, Amazon, on inception, relied on the US Postal Service for their delivery needs until they were able to develop their own channels. We, in Nigeria, do not have such a luxury as the local postal services are unable to meet our desired speed so we had to create our own logistics infrastructure, albeit the huge capital costs,” Spalazzi said.

To address the country’s logistics needs, the government could do well and provide more funding for the revitalization of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) for greater efficiency. If this is done, NIPOST could provide logistics support to the e-commerce platforms at a much-reduced cost. This will, in turn, deliver greater value to the customer and boost the e-commerce sector in general.

On the issue of trust in the e-commerce sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the fintech companies are working to enhance the level of trust in the sector by ensuring that transactions are concluded as fast as possible and that, in the case of failed transactions, refunds are made within 48 hours. Although this is an improvement of the seven days it used to take for the resolution of such issues in the past, it is still below the expectation of these customers, who want an immediate refund. To this end, Jumia, according to its CEO, has created its own payment platform, JumiaPay, for more efficient, secure and convenient payment experience.

According to Spalazzi, “Jumia customers, who use JumiaPay for payment of their orders, get instant reimbursement if their transaction fails to go through unlike their peers on other platforms, who would not have to wait for 24 to 48 hours for their refund.”

Another area the government can help to boost the e-commerce sector is to grow internet penetration in the country. For a sector that largely depends on the internet for its operations, a 42 percent internet penetration is a big snag. Worse still, the internet services are poor and unstable at times, and come at very high costs to the users. The government, through its regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, should work with the internet service providers to build more infrastructure that will enhance data carriage across the country, and to ensure that such services are delivered at cheaper costs.

A major reason many service providers don’t last for long in business in the sector is the huge capital requirement for e-commerce operations. In Nigeria, access to finance is highly limited or comes at a high cost, especially for start-ups. This, coupled with lack of logistics and internet infrastructure, makes the e-commerce business a nightmare for existing and prospective operators. To address this access to financing issues, the government may consider creating financing windows for operators in the sector.

Although some of these challenges, especially that of access to finance, are not peculiar to the e-commerce sector, the call for some kind of special intervention in this sector is based on the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic experience. The e-commerce sector contributed heavily to the measure of success the government achieved when it issued restriction orders on movement and economic activities in its bid to contain the community spread of COVID-19 in the country. These e-commerce platforms took their customers’ orders during the lockdown period and supplied the same to them in the comfort of their homes. They still do this now that we are in the post-lockdown era.

The period of the lockdown was actually an eye opener as to the role the e-commerce sector could play in the life of Nigerians, on the one hand, and on the economy on the other. Although some Nigerians had partially converted to e-commerce before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the country, the lockdown gave the biggest incentives for the conversion of many Nigerians to online shopping. Restricted by the force of the law and the safety concerns, many Nigerians turned to e-commerce for the supply of most of their essentials.

Consumers were not the only group of people that benefited from e-commerce during the lockdown, and the period after. Some global brands including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Mastercard etc moved their products and services to the Jumia platform, either showcasing their products on the Jumia Mall or advertising their products on the Jumia Marketplace and benefiting from the Jumia’s wide reach and logistics operations.

From the roles that Jumia and other e-commerce platforms played during and after the lockdown days, and the fact that the pandemic is still with us, it is evident that the e-commerce sector deserves a special attention to assist it in achieving its potentials of keeping Nigerians safe, at least, until the pandemic has been defeated.

Emmanuel Nwachukwu, a Business and Communication Strategist, writes from Lagos

I am Paschal Ogechi Obi Chikero . I have written and published three books , I wrote Festus Keyamo's biography- Lion In Isolation .I have been a Reality TV show Producer/Creator, an Actor and Film Script Writer.

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Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

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Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

Leading Cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, on Wednesday launched the Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School in a move aimed at inculcating safe driving culture in its drivers so as to stem the tide of road crashes.

The opening of the school in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Company management reasoned, would also make the drivers become better road users.

The Academy, which was officially commissioned by Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, was characterized as historic and unique.

The new Academy for truck drivers, according to the Corps Marshal, is a significant step forward that will benefit not only the Dangote Group but Nigeria as a whole.

The country’s top road safety official hailed Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, for taking “a big step” towards reducing truck accidents.

He said: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. You made it. I have observed that Dangote has done a lot to address truck crashes and I must commend them for this.”

He extolled the conglomerate for leading other companies on this path, saying the new school will play a key part in the country’s efforts to make roads safer.

He said he had suggested such a school long ago, adding that he is happy that the school has come to fruition.

In his remarks, the National Director, Logistics of the Dangote Cement (Transport section) Mr. Juan Carlos Rincon, said the new school is an expression of the determination of the company to bring to halt the incidences of auto crash in the country.

Speaking also Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Bugaje who was represented by Engr S.M. Yusuf, said the NBTE will partner with the Dangote Cement Plc for a successful accreditation and takeoff of the new school.

In his remarks, the Bajana of Obajana HRH Oba Idowu Isenibi said he was optimistic that the school will help address auto crashes in the country, even as he described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a “rescuer and God sent to their communities that should be emulated by other investors in the country.

Speaking in the same vein, the Olu of Akpata Oba Frederick Balogun urged other investors to emulate the company.

Both the Dangote Cement Transport and the FRSC signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on how to cooperate to ensure that the school is a success.

In the same vein, Dangote Cement organized thorough block molding training for block makers in both Kano and Katstina states respectively. This, according to the company is to ensure that the blocks moulded for building constructions are strong, reliable, and durable, noting that some block makers do not really know how to make strong and reliable blocks.

The Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Johnson Olaniyi, said the workshop would give the block molders and allied product manufacturers the opportunity to once again build capacity and adhere to global best practices.

Mr. Olaniyi said the Dangote Cement Plc is desirous of reversing the trend of collapse building through the capacity building of block manufacturers.

Meanwhile, government representatives, quality regulators, cement dealers, block makers, and end-users have come to an accord that Africa’s cement giant produces the best quality of cement on the continent.

The stakeholders who attended the meeting also said the ongoing nationwide workshop and sensitization of block manufacturers will help check the menace of collapsed buildings in the country.

Speaking at the workshop in Kano, representatives of the Kano State Government Alhaji Muhammad Garba Kwall said that Dangote Cement Plc is not only the biggest company but produces the best quality in Africa.

He described the company as socially responsible and that’s why it is giving back to society through the sensitization workshop and creating various platforms for educating end users to mitigate the incessant incidences of collapse building in the country.

Speaking, Regional Director, Kano Directorate, Standard Organization of Nigeria(SON), Mr. Albert Wilberforce urged block molders to patronize the quality cement produced by the Dangote Cement Plc, adding that the SON was partnering with the company and ensuring that only quality cement are produced by the company.

In the same vein, The Kano State Coordinator (II) of SON Engr Hauwa M. Husseini urged the block moulders to comply with standard practice in order to prevent the menace of collapse buildings in the country.

Speaking also, Regional Sales Director for Northwest  Aliyu Dan Aliyu urged participants to be ambassadors by telling their customers about the quality of the cement.

He said: A customer who wants to build a house, doesn’t know the quality or type of cement to use. It is the responsibility of the builder to advise him on the desired cement to use for quality building.

Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Restates Commitment to FG’s Backward Integration policy …Rewards Shareholders with N12.147bn Dividend

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Restates Commitment to FG’s Backward Integration policy ...Rewards Shareholders with N12.147bn Dividend

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has restated its commitment to the achievement of Sugar Backward integration projects, describing it as the best thing that happened to the sector.

Speaking to shareholders at the 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Dangote Sugar Plc, in Lagos the Chairman of the Company, Aliko Dangote, said that despite the harsh operating environment, the board and management were not deterred in the pursuit of sustainable growth for the company and demonstrated resilience by continued implementation of its strategic objectives during the year, 2021.

The dividend pay-out of N12.147 billion for the year was unanimously approved by the shareholders.  The dividend represents N1.00 per share.

The Company under review posted a Group turnover of N276 billion, being 29 percent increase over N214 billion in the comparative year. Profit before tax of N34.021 billion, profit after tax of N22.052 billion. Group EBITDA decreased to N46.5 billion with an EBITDA margin of 18 percent.

According to Dangote, the Company’s performance during the year under review is commendable amidst the challenges and the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities. “We furthered the implementation of process optimisation, cost savings, and product promotion strategies with the launch of our new brand identity and the pursuit of the Dangote Sugar Backward integration master plan”

He further stated that the Board and Management will continue to implement strategic actions to sustain and surpass this performance while engaging with all stakeholders in the sector and its communities to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the Company.

On the company’s backward integration project, Dangote chairman emphasised that the goal of Dangote Sugar Backward Integration Projects Master plan remains the achievement of 1.5 million MT annually from locally grown sugar cane in support of the quest for sugar sufficiency in the country by the federal government.

He added that this will be achieved in addition to the extended value chain benefits that will be derived from the projects including thousands of jobs that will be generated in the sector from these projects.

He pointed out that despite the challenges faced in the year 2021, Dangote Sugar Numan Operations rehabilitation and expansion efforts of the factory and field are advancing, saying “The community tissues that came up were effectively managed, and we have continued to advance so far without any major disruptions.”

He also noted that “In 2021, our commitment to building a sustainable business remained on track with the principles of good corporate governance. We imbibed best practices, environmental and impact management in the day-today running of our business.”

He assured of the company’s commitment to the achievement of Sugar Backward integration projects, which is the future of the industry in Nigeria, saying this will keep us on our sustained growth path and we will continue to deliver and improve our quality service while delivering value to all stakeholders.

Also, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of Dangote Sugar, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi said that “We remained ahead of the pack in implementation of the National Sugar backward Integration Development Master Plan.”

He however said that the situation at the Lau/Tau project is still the same, “we continue to remain hopeful that the Taraba State government will resolve the lingering issues with the communities, while we focus on the development of other brown and green field project sites…Steady progress is now being made as we continue the rehabilitation and expansion project at Dangote Sugar, Numan, and development activities at the Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited, Tunga.”

Singhvi stated that the Company remains resolute and committed to ensuring a sustainable future for its business while assuring the shareholders of better days ahead.

The shareholders commended the Company’s performance for the year under review. A shareholder, Mrs. Bisi Bakare, commended the company for the food fortification award received for the year under review and the bountiful dividend paid.

Another shareholder, Mr Patrick Ajudua, also expressed satisfaction with dividends declared particularly at a time like this with the various environmental operating challenges.

He charged the management to improve upon the capacity utilisation of the plant to be better positioned to meet local and export needs.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:

dangote

L-R: Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; and Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

L-R: Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Temitope Hassan; Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; and Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

L-R: Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Abdu Dantata; Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Temitope Hassan; Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake, at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

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Diesel Price Might Hit N1,500 Per Liter In Two Weeks – Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association

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Diesel Price Might Hit N1,500 Per Liter In Two Weeks - Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association

The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association has revealed that the price of diesel might hit N1,500 per litre in two weeks.

NAIJA NEWS NG reports that the association said this will happen if nothing is done to curtail the challenges importers of diesel are facing .

Bennett Korie, the National President of the Association, told newsmen in Abuja that about 75 per cent of filling stations across the country are currently out of business .

He said this is due to their inability to purchase diesel required to power their tankers and transport Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, to their various outlets.
He added that the solution to the problem is for the Buhari led government to increase the price of petrol to reduce the huge foreign exchange used in PMS imports.

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“If you go round now you will see that about 75 per cent of filling stations in Nigeria have gone out of business. There is no diesel to take fuel to their stations. All of them are going down.

And it is not that the fuel is not there, but the cost of bringing it to the stations is too high. We know that the crisis between Ukraine and Russia has contributed badly, but the government has to do something fast, otherwise we are going to buy diesel in the next two weeks at N1000 to N1500/litre.”

 

On what can be done to the address the situation, Korie said

“The only way out, if you want to know, is that they (the government) should increase the price of fuel a little to reduce the money spent on PMS subsidy.

I know Nigerians will not be happy to hear this, but this is the only solution. They should increase the price of fuel a little so that the savings will enable the Central Bank of Nigeria to have enough foreign exchange.

You and I know that we import everything now in Nigeria. Diesel is an imported product and it is fully deregulated. So the importers are not getting dollars at the official CBN rate to import diesel. Everybody is going to the black market to get dollars to import their products and so you expect the price of diesel to be high.”

 

Korie suggested that the Federal government needs to reduce the rate at which it spends foreign exchange on PMS imports as it will help other businessmen who import diesel to bring in products at low prices.

 

“So you need to increase fuel price a little in order to ensure that the dollars spent in importing petrol is reduced and there will be enough forex for importers of diesel and this will cut down the price of diesel.”he said

 

Speaking further, he said

“The reason why you are having scarcity of petroleum products particularly in Abuja is as a result of the high cost of diesel. The price of diesel today in the market is N850/litre. You will also agree with me that the money being paid as bridging claims to transporters is not enough.

The price is N850/litre and you are giving your driver 1,200 litres from Lagos to Abuja, if you do the calculation you will find out that the landing cost (for transporting the fuel) is about N40/litre.

So if you add that to PMS, buying at the depot price and selling here, it is too high. So if your cost of bringing it in is at N40/litre and you bought it at N155/litre, when you add this you will get N195/litre. But you are to sell at N165/litre. So who will do that kind of business? It is already a loss-making business.”

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