MATTERS ARISING: Salvaging a dying music brand
PMAN’s Peace Initiative Committee led by veteran musician, Chris Mba and ace reggae artiste, Oritz Wiliki has initiated moves to restore peace in the troubled house of music. In a recent chat with other stakeholders on the way forward, Oritz Wiliki who spoke on behalf of other members of the committee said the PMAN brand has been engulfed with leadership crisis over the years.
He also disclosed the steps being taken by the committee to restore peace in the body. “The committee has taken steps to meet with various warring fraction and stakeholders of the association. As part of the peace mission, the committee administered not less than 300 questionnaires via personal contacts and online, in order to collate opinions on how to resolve the leadership crisis rocking the PMAN brand.”
It would be recalled that brand PMAN’s crisis erupted seven years ago when the then president of the association, Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, ignored the provisions of the associations constitution to conduct an election after the delegates; the major decision making body of the association had conducted an election that produced Admiral Dele Abiodun as president. One of PMAN’s icons, Yinka Davis, in an interview with BRANDPOWER said “just like brand Nigeria, many PMAN members took a lot from the brand but were not ready to give back to it.” Maybe it’s time for the members give back to brand PMAN for it to resurrect again.
In the light of the recent success of the Super Eagles at the 29th edition of the African Cup of Nations, the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi while thanking Nigerians for their massive support for the team, promised that the sport ministry in conjunction with the NFF would build on the recent success of the team and ensure that winning culture is entrenched in the team. “This is not the final destination. We would work with the Nigeria Football Federation to ensure that we build on the current success and make the Super Eagles world-beaters.”
President Goodluck Jonathan during his reception of the victorious Eagles has promised the “Big Boss” as Keshi is fondly called and his team his full support. Maybe we are gradually going back to the glory days when the Eagles soared even on the wings of the presidential jet.
In a motion brought before the House of Representatives by Hon Nadu Karibe, the House has moved to ban the use of foreign currencies in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria. Leading the debate, Karibe argued that every country has its currency which serves as a means of exchange, a symbol of identity, a source of pride and a sign of independence and economical stability. Observing that without equivocation, the Naira is the only means of exchange for local and domestic transactions in Nigeria, he pointed to the growing trend of the US dollar for payment of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rents and even purchase in bars, night clubs, luxury goods shops in Nigeria will soon render the Naira irrelevant if not checked. He stated that the trend has led to high demand of foreign currencies, especially the US dollars in Nigeria.
In his contribution to the debate, Hon Warman Ogoriba cited example of his experience in South Africa, where his attempt to pay for his hotel bills in Dollars was rebuffed. The motion, according to Karibe, is not against the sale of foreign currencies but against its usage in local and domestic transactions.
Promasidor’s brand of education support
Promasidor Nigeria Plc, makers of Cowbell milk, has flagged off the 13th edition of the Cowbell National Secondary School Mathematics Competition. NASSMAC is a competition aimed at awakening the consciousness of secondary school students in mathematics. The Managing Director Promasidor Nigeria, Chief Keith Richards, while calling for entries into the competition said Promasidor will continue to nourish the dreams of millions of Nigerians as well as continue to inspire brilliance in schools.
The 2013 edition of NASSMAC coincides with the 20th anniversary of Promasidor Nigeria Limited and promises more excitement; as the number of entries has been extended to three students in both junior and senior categories while teachers who have relentlessly stayed committed to NASSMEC will also be celebrated.
When a brand of disaster comes with blessings
IThe recent meteor explosion in Russia might have had its disastrous effects but it fragments might be rewarding for those who can dare seek for them. The blast and ensuing shockwaves according to local authorities shattered windows, injured almost 1,200 people and caused about $33 million worth of damage.
The explosion started a “meteorite rush” around the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, 1,500 km (950 miles) east of Moscow, where groups of people have started combing through the snow and ice. Dmitry Kachkalin, an amateur space enthusiast estimated chunks could be worth anything up to 66,000 roubles ($2,200) per gram – more than 40 times the current cost of gold. “The price is hard to say yet. The fewer meteorites that are recovered, the higher their price”, he said.
Tackling doping in the beautiful game
In an attempt to curb doping in the beautiful game of football, the world governing body of the game, FIFA, has revealed that every player at the 2014 World cup will be required to have a biological passport. As part of the worldwide crackdown on doping in the game, FIFA intends to introduce the system of biological profiling at this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil, and it is expected to be fully operational by the next World Cup.
To this end, FIFA is developing a plan to introduce profiling; including a steroid profile through urine and blood profile for the Confederations Cup where in-and- out-of completion test would be conducted on all participating players, as well as unannounced blood testing at training camps and games. Biological profiling is considered one of the most effective methods of detecting the use of performance enhancing drugs and blood boosters like EPO.
To those conversant with development in the cement industry, the recent war of words between the major players in the industry would not come as a surprise. It has always existed and has become synonymous a recurring trend with the brand.
Late December 2012, Operators of the Dangote Cement Plc declared that the shutdown of its plant in Gboko was not in consequence of some turnaround maintenance, as alleged by Ibeto Cement but rather it was because of the burdensome overhead cost of running it and the prevailing glut of cement in the country occasioned by excessive importation of cement. Shortly afterwards, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Plc, made a similar claim, with what it described as the “ongoing glut” in the nation’s cement market, which it said was a threat to the continued operations of their factories across the country.
But Ibeto Cement vehemently dismissed the claim, accusing the two companies of being economical with the truth as it sees no reason why the company’s five per cent share of the market could have induced a glut. Ibeto also maintained that the ‘glut’ accusation put forward by Dangote and Lafarge is not visible in the market, as cement prices are still constant as ever, claiming that Dangote Cement is employing a deceptive strategy to chase Ibeto cement out of the market.
Tracing what led to cement being sold in Nigeria at the highest price in the world, the deployment of deceptive strategy as claimed by Ibeto could be on point. The Obasanjo administration deprived some unfavoured companies; among which was Ibeto, of cement importation waivers not based on them being found wanting, but due to pure smart play by the big wigs who in turn used the monopolistic power granted them to a devastating effect for their exclusive benefit.
That situation resulted in the hike of the price of a 50 kilogram bag of cement from about N550 to N1, 450 in 2009. As is always the case with brand Nigeria’s economy, once the price of a product goes up, it can only go higher. Cement price in Nigerian market presently hovers between N1,750 and N2,000. Though the preferential ban was to encourage indigenous brand of cement, it resulted in price hike which buyers in all areas of the country had to pay for.
After several years of being chased out of business, President Umaru Musa Yar Adua, restored the license of Ibeto Cement coupled with a court judgment that authorized it to import bulk cement for a given number of years, apparently to regain what it lost in the years of allaeged persecution from government and business rivals. If the intent was to spark competition, it was obviously tailored to be hijacked. The unseen hand fixing the price ensured the competition intended only existed in brand names. If the glut as claimed by these big wigs really exists, it is still in the south-east where Ibeto has its major market share.
In an attempt to resolve the war, the federal government through the Minister for Trade and Investement, Olusegun Aganga, has been mediating between the parties and has also promised a new cement policy for the country which would put paid to the current operating policy of Backward Integration in the cement industry, which was adopted in 2002 by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. But while attempting to bridge the divide, the crux of the whole process most not be left at the mercy of profit-minded businessmen alone. Real competition in the sector should create diversified pricing and this should not be sacrificed at the altar of trying to resolve the ever existing imbroglio between importers and local manufacturers of cement especially since Dangote’s Gboko Plant has since reportedly resumed production.
A good balancing act need to be executed since real glut will be to the benefit of the end users, the same if truly arising as a result of excessive importation will completely reverse the phenomenal gains made since 2002 which has seen massive investments in the sector by Dangote, Lafarge, BUA, UNICEM and so on not to mention the tens of thousands of jobs created both directly and along the value chain.
If the new policy is not going to engender healthy competition, product availability and price reduction then the real losers in this war will be the mass of Nigerians who dearly need to close the gap on the housing and infrastructural deficit plaguing the nation. Let us not jump from the devil to the deep blue sea!
HIJACKING A COLLECTIVE PROPERTY
The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, recently on a radio station in Kaduna, claimed that Jonathan signed an agreement with the Peoples Democratic Party’s governors not to seek re-election in 2015. Responding to the claim the Presidency, challenged proponents of such claim to produce the document signed to such effect.
At a critical point in the nation where the budget though presented earlier than ever, is still being thrown between the executive and legislators; those perceived to be representatives of the people are busy deliberating openly on personal parole. With less regard to whether a tenure deal was signed or not, the question here is on whose behalf was it signed?
This tenure agreement in question is supposed to be that of the President of Nigeria and Nigeria is a property of all. Therefore, who and who were the representative of Nigerians when it was signed? This development is another testimony to the belief that some in positions of authority are have hijacked Nigeria for their selfish interests.
Rand Merchant Bank kick-starts operations in Nigeria
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) has officially opened its doors for business in Nigeria. The bank which was recently granted an operating license by the Central Bank of Nigeria is a division of FirstRand Bank Limited; South Africa’s second largest banking group, and has been operating in Nigeria from a representative office since January 2010.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Michael Larbie, the bank has completed infrastructural development projects, cross-border transactions and structured finance deals in over 30 countries in Africa in the past two decades.
He added that RMB has resolved to stretch its tentacles to Nigeria being the one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in Africa. “We are a strong player in the South African market. If you look at Africa, the two biggest economies are South Africa and Nigeria. So, given our position in South Africa where we have done well, the next market for you to navigate to, is Nigeria. The Nigerian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As you are aware, the Nigerian economy has grown at an average of seven per cent over the last six years and is projected to grow between seven and 7.5 per cent over the next four years and that makes the economy a big growth market that cannot be ignored.