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With our Refineries, We are committed to Providing Jobs…..Garba

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Awwal Garba A. D. is a Nigerian and British trained Economist of a rare breed. He attended the Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and the City University, London, United Kingdom, from which institutions he meritoriously obtained his first and second university degrees.

Awwal is a major player in the global oil and gas sector. With particular interest in Nigeria, he has developed a proclivity for discovering untapped resources within the sector and has over the years, successfully built his chain of business interests under the Magma Group, nationally and globally.

He is also the Deputy Chairman, APC Progressives Network and Chairman, Game Changers Media.
In this interview, Awwal Garba bares his mind on the nitty- gritty of oil and gas business in Nigeria, the APC Government and the political terrain, as well as other sundry issues.
Excerpts:

You are an economist into oil and gas operations, what informed your foray into the terrain?

Apart from the motive of making money, I have an affinity with the oil and gas sector of the economy; I look at there as where I belong, although I come from a family where the stock in trade was commodity. My father was an importer and exporter of commodity products.
I was motivated into the sector by the desire to make a change, especially in the upstream sector of the industry where it is believed that it is only the oyibos (foreigners) that hold sway therein.
Of course also in that direction would be the desire to contribute one’s quota to the national economy, in terms of creating jobs, which of course would help in giving the youths a sense of worth and direction.

Which is your core area of expertise and what are you doing at the moment?

I am into exploration with almost eight assets so far. I am building a 100 thousand barrel refinery in Akwa Ibom State at the moment, on a hundred hectare land, close to Exxon Mobil. I also have negotiations on-going with 3 marginal oilfields from oil mill 370 with Exxon Mobil. In the gas area of the sector, we have made proposals with respect to the Brass LNG, into which my partners and myself are ready to commit $1bn. This would cut the issue of oil importation and also 300,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled workers in Akwa Ibom.

Do you readily have a count of the stock of your entire companies? Which of these companies can be singled out as leading in aiding the growth of the economy in terms of investment?

We have Magma Petroleum Investment Limited; Magma Exploration Production Limited; Magma Agro-Allied Limited; Magma Logistics Limited; Magma Gas and Power Spectrum Limited; Magma Pipe and Coating Limited, Rhone Petroleum Limited; and H. Oil Limited, among others.
Almost all of them aid in the growth of the economy in terms of the investment. We have Magma Exploration which is working on a JVU with Total Upstream, and also working with MPDC. We have Magma Gas and Power Spectrum working on acquiring the Brass LNG. It is a $1bn project, and already the funds are available.
We have H-Oil Limited which has assets in Angola as well as South Sudan and Liberia, with offices in Paris and headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Magma Logistics works with the Department of Petroleum Resources. We also have Magma Petroleum Investment in the downstream sector with our downstream partners, having facility in Amsterdam and distributing finished products all over the world.

What is the policy thrust of your operations in Nigeria which continues to see you achieving successful operations?

The challenge of prospecting for and then drilling of oil is something we enjoy doing. On the exploration side especially, we want to expand and never get tired, that is why we are on the brink of acquiring more assets every day. We love the challenge, get in there, prospect and drill the oil is something we just enjoy doing.

What synergies do you have in place that gives you an edge in your operations?

We are realistic, we spread forward and we are not greedy. That’s the most important. Today, what kills the exploration business is greed. You want to have everything and there’s no way you could do that when it comes to exploration. We engage partners from all over the world and our logic is that ‘half bread is better than none’. We can give out an asset with 5%, an asset with 2%, it does not matter. What matters is that when you multiply the 2% x 10, you get 20%. This is our logic.

What have been your peculiar challenges?

The challenges are more in the downstream whereby you cannot control the price of petroleum products. You can import today and the next thing you know is that NNPC also imports and when that happens, the market gets flooded with the product and you tend to lose. By the way, we do have Cybernatic oil and gas for which we have tank farms in Ogara, that is a border town between Delta and Edo States.

Tell us about the APC Progressives Network, which you chair

The network has an endorsement from the All Progressives Congress to promote the president and contribute with ideas. Of course, you would agree that in campaigning you need ideas. Politics is all about people, followers; people who can bring in value. In the same vein, the network tries to reach the grassroots and places the party has not touched, bringing in more value.

Does he deserve a second term and why?

Yes, he deserves a second term. First of all, we need a leader who is clean because when the head is clean, the middle and bottom will also be because they would be put in a position where they are wary. But if the top is rotten, then it is corruption galore. We need a leader like Buhari whom money does not mean anything to. A president who is so humble, he can even stand with cows. He is simple, not extravagant, qualities he has officially demonstrated which can be widely attested to. I believe that with him coming back, God sparing his life, he will achieve a lot.

As Deputy Chairman of Game Changers Media, what is its unique selling point?

The Game Changer was established to highlight the differences and show that the Muhammadu Buhari administration continues to change the whole game; from Agriculture, Corruption to Healthcare and very importantly, to unite Nigerians and give them a sense of belonging, while stoking the embers of patriotism.
If you go to Ghana today, you will be shocked to realise the level of their patriotism. A taxi driver always has the Ghanaian flag in his cab as every household, like it was in America perhaps before the Trump era when American schools taught American history, the need to be patriotic and love for country. So patriotism is very important. Game Changer is here to bring awareness about patriotism.

What is your advice to politicians as we await the 2019 elections?
We should stop the politics of money and vote-buying. We should allow Nigerians to vote for candidates of their choice without influencing them. It is a disgrace to buy one’s way into a public office. When that happens, you look at yourself as a businessman and begin to fashion out ways to recoup spent money. This is what has been happening for ages. Only a person voted in by merit would think of improving the lives of the people.

 

 

 

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BUSINESS

WITH FIRSTBANK’S SPARK, GLAD TIDINGS ECHO FOR LESS PRIVILEGED CHILDREN

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 Their excitement was exceptional that Saturday morning on 6 July 2019. It was an overflowing river of joy and gratitude they could not contain, pumping from their hearts. The students and staff of Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos had a good reason to be ecstatic.

 

The Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan – First Bank of Nigeria Limited – and a team of volunteers from the nation’s premier financial institution visited the school to demonstrate acts of random kindness. Provisions (Food supplies, drinks, toiletries) and educational materials were given to the school to cater for the hundreds of children under the care of Mr. Kehinde Alimi, Principal of Wesley School 1.

The visit to Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired was part of the 2019 CR&S Week activities by FirstBank. The Bank had its maiden CR&S week in 2017.

 

Expressing his gratitude, Alimi began his speech by asking the students of the school to shout, ‘three hallelujahs’, thereon stating “I sincerely thank every member of your team (FirstBank) for their kindness and generosity. For all you have given us, God will replenish you back a million times. To have reached this stage as an institution has not been easy, but we have been able to pull through with the support of God and organisations like yours. The sheer quantum of materials you have brought also shows that you recognise that we are two schools and not just one – Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 1 for senior students and Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 2 for the junior students. You have proved that FirstBank is indeed the first while others follow.”

 

Like Oliver Twist, Alimi couldn’t resist asking for more: “We thank you most sincerely for today’s visit and we kindly enjoin you to continue to find time to interact with us. For us to have been in your thoughts means that you are concerned about our welfare, but we will still be approaching you with requests. We want you to find time out of no time to come and be part of our programmes. We are grateful for your efforts and pray that God will continue to sustain the Bank and all its staff. Thank you very much for all your cumulative efforts.”

 

Dr. Adeduntan had explained that the FirstBank team came to the school to demonstrate the kindness that it preaches and to assure students and staff of its support.

 

He said, “we believe that if all of us can show acts of kindness to people around us, we will make the world we live in a much better place for everyone. Our decision to come here today is to show appreciation to the management for shouldering the enormous responsibility of taking care of these children with special needs. This visit is also to assure the children who are schooling here that, as the popular saying goes, you will not walk alone.”

 

Commendably, Twenty-three other charity homes/institutes including camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were visited by FirstBank staff volunteers, led by senior members of staff. The Executive Director, Public Sector, FirstBank, Abdullahi Ibrahim with other volunteer employees visited the School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja while the Group Head, Corporate Banking, Remi Ajose-Adeogun visited the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, Fagba, Lagos. Other visited locations were Madinatu and Almiskin IDP Camps, Maiduguri amongst others. Food supplies (provisions, drink, toiletries) and educational materials were delivered to all the visited homes.

 

The wide range of activities of the FirstBank CR&S week underscores SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness), a values-based initiative by the Bank which focuses on creating and reinforcing a conscious mindset of showing compassion, empathy as well as giving to others.  It is aimed at inspiring people to make a difference as it is designed to promote kindness to one another. It is executed through a range of strategically designed activities including visits to homes for the less privileged members of society and talks about SPARK.

 

FirstBank’s visit to the various homes was particularly thoughtful in the light of the predicament of the less privileged and persons with disabilities in the country, estimated to be around 19 million by the National Population Commission in 2018.  Many of these persons face several challenges including hunger, starvation, stigmatisation, discrimination and lack of access to healthcare, housing and education. Though the government moved to intervene in their plight when President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in January, there has yet been the expected respite for them hence, most of them rely on the benevolence of public-spirited institutions like FirstBank and individuals.

 

Considering the number of challenges that Nigerians living with disabilities face, especially lack of access to healthcare, housing and education, there’s no gainsaying the fact that they need all the care and support they can get. And by continuously including them in its plans since it commenced the enlarged CS&R Week in 2017, FirstBank has been at the forefront of providing support for the less privileged Nigerians by reiterating that no assistance is too much to help them live a fulfilled life.

 

With the impacts made across over half a dozen countries that play host to the Bank’s business operations, the FirstBank 2019 CR&S week reinforced that philanthropy is no doubt embedded in its DNA.

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Banking

UBA Makes 20 more customers Millionaires, Doles Out N30m in 3rd Draw of UBA Wise Savers Promo

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has again rewarded another 20 customers who have emerged winners in the third quarterly draw of the UBA Wise Savers Promo winning N1.5 million each, bringing the total amount won so far by 60 customers to N90 million.

The electronic raffle draw, which was held at the UBA Head Office in Lagos on Wednesday, July 31st, was witnessed by the relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lagos State Lottery Board and Consumer Protection Council.

Lucky customers who emerged winners in the latest draw cut across all regions of the country. They are Yusuf Muhammed; Adebakin Anuoluwapo Elizabeth; Babatunde Temidayo Ruth; Christian Emetole; Nwabuife Ikeagu; Omoye Amiengheme; Ogechukwukanma Okoh; Akinyemi Abidemi Betty; Okoro Chukwuma and Chukwu, Patricia Nnenna.

Others are Adejoke Olarinoye; Fatoki Hassan; Nwokocha Ikechukwu Emmanuel; Owolanke kole Emmanuel; Ferreira Adesola Afolatomi; Emmanuel Omoigui; Uzoigwe Anthonia; Elesin Titilayo Oluwabunmi; James Suleiman Umar and Lawan David Nahinokan.

The ongoing promo, which commenced in September last year, is expected to run till September 30, 2019 and will see a final 20 customers from across Nigeria become millionaires, winning N30 million in the last quarter of this year.

At the end of the fourth promo, a total of N120 million will have been won by 80 customers.

Speaking during the event, UBA’s Group Head, Consumer & Retail Banking, Mr. Jude Anele, said that since the promo began late last year, the bank has been impressed at the level of response by its customers and the general public across the country, adding that the purpose of the campaign is to reward loyal customers while encouraging the savings culture.

He noted that there has been a remarkable increase in the number of participants in this edition compared to the previous one, adding that the bank’s objective of helping customers’ save for the rainy day is being achieved.

He said: “It is very easy to spend money but to save is a habit all must imbibe. Our key objective is to encourage our customers to save regularly. We are here to support our customers and to encourage them to save as well.”

Anele urged other customers to take advantage of the subsequent opportunities the last quarterly draw will offer.

The Group Head, Transaction and Electronic Banking, Sampson Aneke, who also spoke at the event said,  “There is no better time to give back and delight customers than this challenging economic period where people need all the support they can get to make life more meaningful. With this in mind we decided to prioritise our customers as we always do at UBA by giving them plenty to cheer about and that is the reason why another 20 customers have been made millionaires today.

Aneke noted that the promo is consistent with the bank’s novel initiatives in prioritizing customers, and said it was necessitated by the invaluable belief the Bank has in its customers.

“We will continue to listen and give them nothing short of the best that they deserve. UBA will not relent, because we are impressed with the impact this has made so far and will continue to touch the lives of our loyal customers positively,” he explained.

The criteria for qualifying for the draw is to save at least N30,000 in a UBA savings account or in instalments of N10,000 each for a period of three months. Those yet to be UBA customers can open a savings account on any of the numerous bank channels, including Magic Banking (*919*20#) and LEO, or in any of the UBA branches across the country, and start saving to stand a chance of winning.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, operating in 20 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and with presence in France.

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank which was awarded the Best Digital Bank in Africa by the Euromoney awards in 2018, provides services to over 17 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.

The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.

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Banking

FBNHOLDINGS RECORDS N294.2BN GROSS EARNINGS FOR H1’19, REPORTS IMPROVED NPL AT 14.5% DOWN FROM 25.9%

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By Babajide Komolafe (VANGUARD)

 

FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, yesterday, said it recorded gross earnings of N294.2 billion for the six months ending June 30, 2019 (H1’19).

 

This represents 0.3 percent growth when compared with the N293.3 billion recorded as gross earnings in the corresponding period of 2018 (H1’18). The company disclosed this in a statement announcing its financial results for the six months period ending June 2019. The results also showed that the company recorded profit before tax of N39.9 billion in H1’19, up by 2.6 percent from N38.9 billion in H1’18. Profit after tax however dropped by 5.4 percent to N31.7 billion in H1’19 from N33.5 billion in H1’18.

 

Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, FBNHoldings, UK Eke said: “Despite the difficult operating environment, we remain resolute in delivering on our guidance across key metrics, including our commitment towards a single digit Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio by the end of year, as evidenced by the reduction in NPLs from the last quarter.

 

“Essentially, Atlantic Energy, our largest NPL, was written off, translating into a decline in the NPL ratio from 25.9 percent in December 2018 to 14.5 percent as at June 2019, a step that brings us closer to our full year 2019 target and create more headroom for quality asset growth.

ARNINGS FOR H1’19, REPORTS IMPROVED NPL AT 14.5% DOWN FROM 25.9%

By Babajide Komolafe (VANGUARD)

 

FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, yesterday, said it recorded gross earnings of N294.2 billion for the six months ending June 30, 2019 (H1’19).

 

This represents 0.3 percent growth when compared with the N293.3 billion recorded as gross earnings in the corresponding period of 2018 (H1’18). The company disclosed this in a statement announcing its financial results for the six months period ending June 2019. The results also showed that the company recorded profit before tax of N39.9 billion in H1’19, up by 2.6 percent from N38.9 billion in H1’18. Profit after tax however dropped by 5.4 percent to N31.7 billion in H1’19 from N33.5 billion in H1’18.

 

Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, FBNHoldings, UK Eke said: “Despite the difficult operating environment, we remain resolute in delivering on our guidance across key metrics, including our commitment towards a single digit Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio by the end of year, as evidenced by the reduction in NPLs from the last quarter.

 

“Essentially, Atlantic Energy, our largest NPL, was written off, translating into a decline in the NPL ratio from 25.9 percent in December 2018 to 14.5 percent as at June 2019, a step that brings us closer to our full year 2019 target and create more headroom for quality asset growth.

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