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NEWS UPDATE (Tues. 28.01.20)

LAGOS STATE TO ENFORCE BAN ON GOKADA,MAX.NG, AND ORIDE FROM FEBRUARY 2020

Following weeks of speculation and months of tussles between ride-hailing platforms and regulatory authorities, the Lagos State Government has officially announced the ban of all forms of motorcycles and tricycles in major parts of Lagos State.
Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, confirmed this development at a press conference held in Lagos on Monday.
“After consultations with the stakeholders, the state security council, in compliance with the extant transport sector reform laws 2018 has decided to commence enforcement of the law which bans motorcycles and tricycles,” says Omotoso
The commissioner stated that with effect from February 1, 2020, the ban will affect Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas such as
• Apapa
• Apapa-Iganmu
• Yaba
• Lagos Mainland
• Surulere
• Itire-Ikate
• Coker-Aguda
• Ikeja
• Onigbongbo
• Ojodu
• Eti-Osa
• Ikoyi-Obalende
• Lagos Island
• Lagos Island LCDA
But what does the current law actually say
The 2012 Lagos State Road Traffic Law (PDF), introduced by the administration of former governor Babatunde Fashola, only restricted motorcycles or tricycles with engine capacities below 200cc from operating on major expressways and highways. It also stipulated that motorcycles used for mail distribution or courier services should have a minimum engine capacity of 200cc.
Also, the transport sector reform laws of 2018 referenced by the commissioner also allowed bikes and tricycles with engine capacities above 200cc to ply major highways.
Prior to this development, both traffic laws allowed ride-hailing platforms like ORide, MAX and Gokada, which utilise vehicles above 200cc engine capacity, to thrive in the traffic-laden city of Lagos.
With this new directive, it appears none of them will be able to operate, and as a result, commuters may have to find other ways to beat the regular Lagos deadlock.
As alternatives, the commissioner has stated that more buses will be rolled out to those locations, but the safety of transportation in the state has to be first ensured.

QUICKTELLER LAUNCHES “EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE” CAMPAIGN

Quickteller, a consumer payment platform of Pan-African integrated digital payments company – Interswitch – known for providing seamless payment solutions, has launched a new campaign themed “Everything is Possible”. The campaign demonstrates the ubiquitous nature of the Quickteller platform.

The commercials, which have just been released, are in two versions: ‘The Big Idea’ and ‘Possibility’. Both versions are in furtherance of the previous Quickteller campaign – “One less thing to worry about” – and reiterate the ease and universality of the Quickteller platform. The commercials deploy the use of humour and creativity to subtly drive in the point that on Quickteller, a user can pay for almost anything they can imagine.

Both commercials are a body of great creative thinking and drive home the overarching message that everything is possible on the Quickteller platform. The commercials both depict the importance of a platform that makes payment possible irrespective of person, location and needs. Quickteller enables everyone to make transactions on the go, with a few clicks.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign recently in Lagos, Group Head, Quickteller Marketing, Olawale Akanbi said that, the importance of transacting on a platform that provides a vast number of services in the digital payment space.

According to him, “It’s amazing to know that you can pay for almost anything on Quickteller. At Quickteller, we are committed to making all payments possible on our platform. This is why we are continuously expanding the services available on Quickteller. From just a platform where you could transfer money, customers can now perform more transactions that speak to their lifestyle, businesses, passion and even their careers”.

He pointed out that, “this campaign illustrates the compelling point that Quickteller makes almost anything possible. Both versions of the campaign are a natural flow from the previous campaign and consistent with our messaging that payments are easier and most convenient on the Quickteller platform. It is simply a visual metaphor for everyday payments made easy by Quickteller”.

The commercials feature well-known celebrities like Bovi (a leading Comedian), Ini Dima Okojie (Nollywood actress) and Eric Omondi (a Comedian based in Kenya, who is one of the best comedians in Africa).Services available on the platform include payment of toll fees, state government payments, purchase of airtime, flight tickets, funds transfer, payment of cable bills (TV), quick loans, event tickets, online shopping from over 100 global stores, JAMB ePins and every other thing you can think of.

USAID TO LAUNCH NEW $90 MILLION WEST AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT BUB IN ABUJA

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will on Tuesday in Abuja launch new USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub that will focus on co-investment partnerships.
A statement issued on Monday by the Public Affairs Division of the United States Embassy in Abuja, said the five-year $90 million Trade Hub activity will also increase agricultural productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and promote West Africa’s regional and international trade.
According to the statement, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, four federal ministers, and three executive governors will join US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard and USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson to mark the opening of the newly reconstituted Trade Hub.
“This co-investment effort will unlock private capital that will achieve commercial scale results and impact on exports, sales, and new jobs across Nigeria and all West Africa,” the statement said.

UNILEVER NIGERIA RECORDS N8.3 BILLION LOSS

UNILEVER Nigeria Plc suffered a major contraction in the immediate past business year as a steep decline in sales left the fast moving consumer goods company with a pre-tax loss of N8.3 billion.
Key extracts of the financial statement of the company for the year ended December 31, 2019 showed that turnover dropped by 35 per cent from N92 billion in 2018 to N60.2 billion in 2019. The top-line decline amid steady increases in operating costs and expenses turned the bottom-line to red.
Gross profit dropped from N27.4 billion in 2018 to N6.67 billion in 2019. Notwithstanding cost control measures, the company relapsed from operating profit of N10.43 billion in 2018 to operating loss of N10.35 billion. Loss before tax stood at N8.3 billion in 2019 as against pre-tax profit of N13.6 billion in 2018. With a tax gain of N4.1 billion in 2019, net loss after tax stood at N4.2 billion as against profit after tax of N10.1 billion recorded in 2018.
The full-year report represented a major reversal for a company that reported a net profit of N3.5 billion in the first half. The six-month report for the period ended June 30, 2019 had shown improvements in quarter-on-quarter performance but the half-year performance was considerably below comparable performance in 2018.
Total turnover for the first half 2019 stood at N42.6 billion, 11 per cent below N48.1 billion recorded in comparable period of 2018. Profit after tax dropped by 37 per cent from N5.6 billion in first half 2018 to N3.5 billion in first half 2019.
However, the company recorded a considerable leap in the three-month second quarter to record a 24 per cent increase in its profit after tax at N1.9 billion. Turnover rose by 18 per cent in second quarter to N23.4 billion as against N19.2 billion in first quarter of 2019. During the period, profit after tax rose from N1.5 billion in first quarter 2019 to N1.9 billion in second quarter 2019.
Cost of sales decreased marginally by 4.5 per cent from N32.8 billion in June 2018 to N31.3 billion in June 2019 in line with the decrease in turnover while cost of sales increased by 3.6 per cent to N15.9 billion in second quarter 2019 from N15.4 billion in first quarter 2019 also in line with the marginal increase in turnover in second quarter.
Unilever Nigeria assured shareholders of its efforts to ensure a sustained and steady growth in the company’s operations engineered to achieve better returns on their investments.
Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Yaw Nsarkoh said although Unilever Nigeria continues to operate in a tough environment, it is now beginning to see momentum behind enhanced costs and operational efficiencies.
“Unilever Nigeria remains focused on its short- and long-term growth ambitions with clear emphasis on cost and operational efficiencies, increasing market share across key categories, reinvesting behind our iconic brands and improved route-to-market,” Nsarkoh said.
The company noted that its strategic initiatives rest on its global best practices, strong heritage as well as the professionalism of its people.

LOSSES IN BLUE CHIPS COMPANIES DRAG EQUITIES MARKET DOWN 0.3%

The equities market on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE resumed trading today( Monday) in the red as losses in some blue chip companies significantly impacted on the market bench mark index ,All Share Index, ASI to close lower by 0.3 percent.
Specifically, Zenith Bank dropped by -2.3 percent, First Bank Nigeria Holding, FBNH – 4.1 percent and Unilever Nigeria -10.0 percent to drive the ASI lower to 29,552.99 points.
Consequently, Year to Date, YtD return moderated to 10.1 percent while market capitalisation fell by N39.1billion to N15.2trillion.
On the other hand, activity level was mixed as volume traded rose 140.6 percent to 444.0milion units while value traded declined 9.8 percent to N3.3billion. The top traded stocks by volume were Veritas kapital (225.6million units), Zenith Bank (45.4million units) and Guaranty Trust Bank (26.7million units) while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N988.9million), Guaranty Trust Bank (N856.2 million) and Nestle Nigeria (N160.1million ).
Meanwhile, performance across sectors was mixed albeit positively skewed as three indices gained except the Oil & Gas and AFR-ICT indices which remained unchanged. The Insurance index (0.5 percnt) led the gainers chart, anchored by price appreciation in Linkage Assurance (8.3 percent) and Lasaco Assurance (3.9 percent).
Similarly, the Consumer (0.2 percent) and Industrial Goods (0.1 percent) indices trailed, following buying interest in Nigerian Breweries (3.9 percent), Vitafoam Nigeria (6.0 percent) and WAPCO (0.6 percent).
On the contrary, the Banking index lost as sell-pressures in Zenith Bank (-2.3 percent) and Access Bank (-2.4 percent) dragged the index down by 1.2 percent.
Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth improved as 14 stocks advanced relative to 13 decliners. The best performers were NAHCO (9.8 percent), NPF Microfinance Bank (9.7 percent) and NEIMETH (8.5 percent) while Unilever Nigeria (-10.0 percent), Eterna (-9.5 percent) and Royal Exchange (-9.1 percent) led the laggards.
Reacting on the market activities, analysts at Afrinvest Research said : “We anticipate a positive trading week but we could see pockets of profit-taking activities in some sessions.

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