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Interswitch One Africa Music Fest 2023: Harmonizing Generations and Rhythms



For weeks, the world held its breath as it anticipated the biggest music fest in Africa, the Interswitch One Africa Music Fest, powered by Quickteller, the leading consumer digital payments platform.

The show has, over the years remained a hallmark of the harmonization of African sounds and rhythms, bringing together voices from the various parts of the African continent to thrill attendees. To demonstrate the fest’s global appeal, not only were electrifying performances delivered by African acts, but globally renowned artistes were also on ground to light up the stage.

Unveiling a resounding testament to the universal appeal of African music, the One Africa Music Fest stands tall as an amplified platform, projecting empowering melodies from the heart of the continent onto the worldwide stage, captivating hearts, and uniting cultures.
Attendees of the fest bobbed their heads, bounced on their feet, and sang along as their favorite acts took center stage, delivering memorable experiences. The theme “GenZ vs OGS” took center stage, weaving a captivating narrative that transcended generations.

This year’s edition of the music fest brought together a captivating fusion of talents spanning across different eras. On one hand, attendees were treated to the iconic sounds of the early 2000s, affectionately known as the OGs, who took them down memory lane with their timeless hits. On the other hand, the stage sizzled with the fresh energy of GenZ artistes, infusing the event with their modern flair and trendsetting vibes.

This fusion was a testament to the timelessness of music, nurturing unity across generations and its ability to shape the cultural landscape of Africa and beyond.
The Interswitch One Africa Music Fest has once again woven the melodies of Africa into a harmonious masterpiece, powered by the Quickteller platform. As the music fades and the echoes of applause settle, the impact of this fest reverberates far beyond the event itself.

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Experts Call On Dangote To Bring Down Price Of His Cement As Marketers Play Fast Ones On Builders




Aliko Dangote

Ever since the bombshell dropped by BUA Group Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu that he was bringing down the price of cement there has been clamour for the reduction of Dangote Cement price. This is because he controls the larger share of the market and if BUA can bring the price down, there is no reason why other major stakeholders cannot do same.

Rather than take a cue, react to what BUA has done, Dangote has unfortunately kept quiet with a view to maximizing on the price disparity.

Unconfirmed reports claim that cement dealers as well as distributors have been rebagging BUA Cement and selling it as Dangote Cement thereby making the BUA brand unavailable. This according to our findings is to ensure that they make more profit from the current situation.

Investigations also revealed that some of the marketers have been claiming that they have not had supplies from BUA cement and so they cannot sell at the new rates.

Our findings however negate this. What we see in all these are attempts by marketers to make unnecessary gains at the expense of the common man.

Nigerians from all walks of life have been calling upon Dangote to adjust his own price to reflect the new reality. His refusal is giving the marketers and distributors the leeway to rebag and sell BUA products as if they are his own at exorbitant price to Nigerians and he’s making huge profit at the expense of Nigerians.

Only yesterday, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, REDAN joined many stakeholders to urge Dangote to bring down the price of his own product so as to reduce the burden on Nigerians.

While commending Abdul Samad Rabiu for bringing down the price of cement to 3,500 naira, REDAN President, Dr Aliyu Wamakko who is also the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Jedo investment challenged Aliko Dangote and others in the cement business to emulate BUA.

“We in REDAN commend Abdul Samad Rabiu for his integrity, his tenacity and for being a fairly business person, and for that reason we call on other gladiators in the built industry that produce’s building materials to follow suit, somebody like Dangote and the rest of the people producing cement and other building materials in the country .

Many more groups are clamouring for same.

Building experts believe that if DANGOTE does not act on this, it simply means he doesn’t have the interest of Nigerians at heart and the industry will be plagued with crisis soon. A situation where two major players are selling virtually the same products at such different prices will ultimately play into the hands of unscrupulous distributors who will try to maximize by selling the cheaper ones at a costly price to make more profit, they added.

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Africa’s Richest Man Allegedly Got a Fistful Of Dollars In Nigerian Currency Squeeze




Aliko Dangote

As Nigeria grapples with a foreign exchange crisis, one person stands out in the scramble to obtain hard currency: Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.

When the government restricted the supply of dollars in June 2015 to prop up the value of the Nigerian naira, firms owned by Dangote landed a healthy share of dollars available at the cheap official rate, a study by Reuters shows.

Reuters examined foreign currency transactions made during an 11-week period in March to May this year. Over that time, Dangote businesses were able to buy at least $161 million in hard currency from the central bank. That was around nine percent of all the hard currency the bank sold over the period. In a single week in March, one dollar in every eight went to Dangote companies. There is not enough data to see how that stacks up with the companies’ share of foreign trade.

Compared with buying dollars on the more expensive unofficial market, though, Dangote companies benefited to the tune of about $100 million.

The wrangling for dollars highlights Dangote’s pivotal role as Africa’s biggest economy tries to diversify away from oil.

Over the past year, Nigeria pegged its currency, the naira, to the U.S. dollar at an official rate of 197-199 naira. The central bank doled out dollars at the official rate to companies it deemed strategic to the Nigerian economy. Until June 20, when the bank abandoned the peg, anyone else had to pay a lot more on the black market.

Small businesses complained that the foreign exchange restrictions were forcing them out of business. Frank Jacobs, president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, said that the majority of manufacturers – 2,000 of them – had been unable to source raw materials because they could not obtain dollars to pay for imports. Up to 100 firms either shut completely or cut production, he said. “The large companies have better clout.”

Dangote’s purchases were entirely legal, and some economists say the 59-year-old deserved such special treatment because he has promised to build a much-needed oil refinery. He also has a track record helping Nigeria become more self-sufficient in cement and food.

Dangote Group, the parent firm, declined to comment. Dangote Cement said it had received enough dollars. “We believe that we are being treated fairly and we do not receive preferential treatment,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Egan said by email.

The central bank did not respond to written requests for comment.

Reuters’ calculations are based on foreign exchange purchase data which the Nigerian government required banks to publish. Reuters examined every transaction that Dangote’s companies made between March 1 and May 13. One newspaper, This Day, calculated a weekly total of all the published official transactions. Reuters used this total to analyze Dangote’s share.

In the period Reuters analyzed, the average black market rate was around 320, according to AbokiFX, a Lagos financial company. The difference against the official rate equated to about 20 billion naira ($101 million).

Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital in London, said Dangote got more hard currency than other firms because his plan to build a refinery will help the government end fuel imports, which cost Nigeria some $6 billion annually.

“A lot of drain on the foreign exchange is from the need to buy imported fuel,” he said. “Getting the refinery going will require a lot of investment and imported goods.

“He’s got a track record here. He did it with flour. He did it with cement and now the idea is he does it with the oil refinery … He is trusted. You no longer need to rely on foreigners, Nigerians can do it themselves.”


The collapse in the oil price has hit Nigeria’s revenues hard, pushing it into its worst economic crisis for decades. Crude oil and gas revenues bring in 90 percent of its foreign currency earnings and fund 70 percent of the state budget. At the same time as collecting lower revenues from crude oil sales, Nigeria has also had to spend billions importing refined products because it lacks refining capacity.

Africa’s biggest economy contracted for the first time in at least 12 years in the first quarter of this year, and state governments are struggling to pay public servants. After the central bank abandoned the currency peg, the naira tumbled 30 percent against the dollar in a single day.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who was elected to office in March last year, has made it a priority to fund investments which can help make the country more self-sufficient in everything from food to energy. Buhari often uses the slogan, “We must produce what we eat.” Last month, he said the central bank would give firms which helped to diversify the economy “incentives,” without saying what that meant. Buhari’s office declined to comment for this story.

Buhari backed central bank plans to adopt a more flexible foreign exchange policy. But he long resisted devaluing the official naira rate. In a speech last month, he said, “we cannot get away from the fact that a strong currency is predicated on a strong economy.”

Atedo Peterside, chairman of Lagos-based Stanbic Bank, told a conference in February that the peg had guaranteed “huge windfall incomes” to those lucky enough to get dollars allocated at the official rate. Some speculators would buy dollars at the official rate and sell them for a quick profit on the parallel market.

“Most investors here are currently caught in a frenzied pursuit of the cheapest available dollars,” he said. “The difference between losing this game and winning it can be as high as a mind-boggling 50 per cent.”

In January, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said the bank would assist the Dangote Group to access foreign exchange to facilitate its refinery project, which will be the country’s first private oil refinery and is due by 2018. Emefiele also said the bank would help companies that boost local food production.

Muda Yusuf, a spokesman for the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, said the central bank’s allocation of hard currency gave businesses only 20 percent of what they needed to operate. Even state oil firm NNPC had to ask big international oil firms for loans worth $200 million to fund fuel imports, according its Managing Director, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.

In a February interview Dangote’s brother Sani Dangote, Group Vice President, said the firm was not getting 100 percent of its foreign exchange needs. “We’re getting some amount to make sure the industries keep going,” he said, adding that the firm’s sugar refinery was running at 60 percent capacity.

But Dangote, whose businesses refine sugar and produce cement and mill flour, continued to expand. He pushed ahead with plans to build the $12 billion oil refinery, a gas pipeline across West Africa, a tomato plant and farms in Nigeria to produce one million tonnes of rice.

Reuters’ analysis shows that about 80 percent of Dangote’s dollar purchases during the 11-week period were for the import of equipment and raw materials for his agricultural, sugar, cement and food companies.


Technically, commercial banks decided how to allocate dollars. But executives at import firms say the central bank played a big part.

Competition among industrial bosses for the central bank’s attention was on display in April at the funeral of Governor Emefiele’s mother. Dozens of business leaders attended the service, including Dangote and the CEOs of most big banks. Business leaders, dressed in traditional robes, left their bodyguards behind as they crammed into the small town of Agbor deep in the Niger Delta.

Since founding his business in the 1970s, Dangote has been close to a series of presidents, both military and elected. He was an economic adviser to Buhari’s predecessor Go odluck Jonathan, who ruled from 2010 to 2015.

Although Dangote built his business under Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party, he also had links with the opposition. On election night in 2015, when Buhari ousted Jonathan, a smiling Dangote was pictured next to Buhari at a house in Abuja as results came in.

Moses Ochonu, a Nigerian-born African history professor at Vanderbilt University in the United States, has criticized Dangote for having outsized power in the Nigerian economy. But he says Dangote also creates jobs. “People are willing to give him the benefit,” he said. “He’s contributing a lot to the economy.”

Story Culled From (Reuters)

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How Nami’s Administrative Skills Have Turned Around FIRS Fortunes





Anybody who knew the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before the advent of the administration of Muhammad Nami would in all fairness concede that he has remarkably used his salient administrative skills to improve the operations of the apex tax body. His dexterity in achieving an upward swing in revenue generation has much to do with his administrative skills than the deployment of technology.

To understand the road Nami traveled before arriving at this destination,  there is a need to look back at the state of affairs in the  Service before he happened. It will not be overstating the fact to say that the state of disrepair, staff disorientation, and demotivation in the Service when Nami took over the reins of leadership, was legendary. There was a backlog of more than ten years of promotions, the reporting line was skewed and obsequious, the structure was straitjacketed, and work ethics were thrown overboard. Staff allowances were not regularly paid which thereby affected staff morale and caused disenchantment.

With this overt climate of the insufferable condition of service prevailing at the time of his assumption of office,  there is no gainsaying the fact that the task he found himself handling required tact, circumspection, and astute administrative skills. And Nami rose to the occasion. He navigated the turbulent economic climate occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the dwindled oil revenue, and the EndSars protest to post an impressive record of revenue generation. Today, the country relies on the non-oil tax revenue being administered by Nami’s leadership.

One thing that stands out for Nami, besides his ability to manage people and resources, is his ability to headhunt and identify resourceful people who are fit for various tasks and offices. The first thing he did when he assumed the mantle of leadership of the Service was to reorganize the structure of the Service. In doing this, he freed up offices, created new departments, additional state coordination, fourteen satellite offices, and more functions thereby making it possible for promotions to happen and staff to aspire to higher offices and responsibilities.

He similarly restored to the staff functions that were given to consultants which made it possible to harness the potentials and initiatives of the staff. One important result of this is the in-house building and implementation of the now famous TaxPro-Max, his baby which is yielding astronomical revenue haul for the country. This remarkable achievement could only have been possible with one that has administrative skills and the foresight to see beyond the here and now.

In the same vein, fixing the right people in the right positions as well as utilizing the experience and expertise of retiring officers of the Service has helped greatly in shoring up some gaps which would have put the Service in a serious manpower deficit. Therefore,  being able to mix both the experienced and the upstarts has helped to entrench mentorship and succession plans in the Service. This trend would surely bring about inbreeding and quality manpower that would be capable of standing up to any headwinds.

From the inception of his administration, Nami has maintained a studious approach to administering the affairs of the Service by setting up some cardinal goals for the organization,  which are rebuilding the FIRS institutional framework, making the Service data-centric, and customer-centric, and having a robust stakeholder collaboration. And these are not just mere concepts.
True to his words, he has religiously fixed his focus on achieving these goals against all odds. That is why presently he has created a department called Intelligence Strategic Data Mining and Analysis in the Service. He equally established Special Tax, Tax Incentives Management, and Special Crimes and Investigation Departments as a way of strengthening the mechanism of tax collection and administration. He has also maintained a close engagement with all facets of stakeholders to enhance the visibility of the Service and enhance its operations.

Nami has equally applied his leadership and administrative skills through wide consultation with both internal and external stakeholders in policy formulation toward enhancing workflow and work ethics within the system. This has resulted in the formulation of the right policies and reduced roles conflict considerably. Reporting lines have also been strengthened and redefined in a way that has put the staff on a sound footing for enhanced productivity. This is done through constant and rigorous performance evaluation.  
All these point to the fact that Nami’s administrative skills manifest consummate leadership qualities and performative vision. Nami understands the intricate combination of administration, leadership, and vision for the attainment of organizational goals. That is why he has been able to raise the bar of revenue collection to an all-time high. And in the coming years he will do even better.

Andrew Okonkwo writes from Abuja.

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