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Food Safety Standard: Crown Flour Mill Gets Top Certification

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Food Safety Standard: Crown Flour Mill Gets Top CertificationPHOTO 1 (1)

L-R: Rhoda Abah, System Auditor, Bureau Veritas; Ashish Pande, Managing Director, Crown Flour Mill; Moshood Quadri, Head, Human Resources, Crown Flour Mill; Datti Danjuma, General Manager, Human Resources, Crown Flour Mill; and Adenike Akinbote, Certification Manager, Bureau Veritas, at the presentation of Food Safety Standard Certification (FSSC) 22000 to CFM Ikorodu Plant in Lagos on Friday, September 3, 2021.

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

In recognition of its commitment to continuous food quality improvement and safety standards, Crown Flour Mill Limited (CFM) has been awarded the Food Safety Standard Certification (FSSC) 22000.

The food safety standard certification proves that all CFM range of products such as Mama Gold Flour, Crown Premium Pasta, Supreme Semolina, amongst others, comply with the stringent requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and those of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

The food standardisation certification was formally presented to the top flour miller and food manufacturer by Bureau VERITAS, a global leader in food testing, inspection and certification services, at a brief ceremony held at the Ikorodu plant of CFM on Thursday, September 2, 2021.

This latest standardisation certification further emphasizes the leading food manufacturer’s continued commitment to the highest food quality and safety standards, having already secured international food safety certifications for its Warri, Port Harcourt, and Tin Can, Apapa production plants and full regulatory MANCAP for all its products.

The FSSC 22000 will also strengthen the popularity of all CFM’s food brand products among the teeming consumer markets that have consistently demonstrated overt preferences for the brand’s products as a result of the quality, safety, affordability and nutrition benefits of the products.

Speaking during the presentation of the food fortification certification to the firm, Ashish Pande, the Managing Director of CFM, said, “The FSSC 22000 certification is a demonstration of our sustained commitment to standard and safe practices across our food production processes beginning from how we source raw food materials from a wide network of vendors, to how we handle the food processing procedures, packaging and transportation across multiple channels.”

He added, “We continue to invest in best food production and fortification technology while consistently auditing our processes to avoid food hazards and risks.

These overwhelming commitments to quality food production procedures boost consumers’ confidence in our food brands as evidenced by our brand loyalty assessments and positive feedback received in all trade channels.

Our customers, therefore, take pride in our food standardisation efforts as they keep enjoying our most nourishing and affordable food products.”

Rhoda Abah, System Auditor, Bureau VERITAS, explained that CFM food production systems were closely audited before the certification.

According to her, “Based on auditing results from all testing and inspection exercises carried out by our team on CFM food production plants, the firm is one of the topmost food manufacturers that are committed to efficient, safe, and robust food production and management practices that meet global best practices.”

She, however tasked the firm to continue to improve on its processes, saying, “Having the certificate isn’t the end-goal. A commitment to continuous improvement is key to keep maintaining the current food safety and quality standard.”

Pande thanked Bureau VERITAS for painstakingly carrying out the audits, tests, and assessment exercises while assuring that the organisation is not resting on its oars, as quality management is a continuous and lasting pursuit of Olam, the leading agribusiness conglomerate to which CFM belongs.

“We understand that food safety protects consumers from health risks and ensures compliance with customer requirements, legislation and national/international standards.

Therefore, we will continue to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met at all levels, with rigorous procedures followed in line with GSFI standards to optimize best practices,” the CFM MD assured.

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ESG and the Oil & Gas sector: ABSA Advocates a Balanced View

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ESQ/Absa

ESG and the Oil & Gas sector: ABSA Advocates a Balanced View

ESQ/Absa

ESQ/Absa

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Developing a social investment plan that utilizes proceeds from the oil and gas sector is critical to stimulating impactful growth across the African continent.

This view was shared recently by Camillo Atampugre, the Director of Resources and Energy, Absa Securities, United Kingdom, while laying bare Absa Investment’s focus which aims to drive sustainability and advocate for a wider pivot to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives across the oil and gas sector.

According to Camillo, the oil and gas sector remains a key channel of revenue for most African countries. He mentioned that the sector accounts for an estimated 20% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And in places like Nigeria and Angola, the sector contributes 70% of the overall forex inflow and 60% of government tax revenues while driving growth impacts that reverberate across the labour market, the security and exchange system and other downstream segments.

He advised that considering the overt contribution of the oil and gas sector to the African economy, a strategic approach to the adoption of cleaner energy is advisable. This is to forestall a sudden snap that could hamper the attainment of the shorter to medium terms growth projection on the continent.

He further pointed out the various responsible steps being taken across the continent to ensure compliance with the various ESG requirements as regard achieving a gradual transition into cleaner energy and repositioning the oil and gas sector to sustain a balanced socioeconomic impact along the trajectory.

“Recognising the strategic role of the sector in their economies, places like Angola and Nigeria have taken steps to improve Governance elements.

In Angola, the President has put significant focus on cleaning up the image of the sector and courting foreign investors while the Nigerian national assembly recently passed the Petroleum Industry Bill which is aimed at making it easier for investment into Nigerian oil and gas operations”, Atampugre explained.

Citing the social investment roles being played by the major operators in the oil and gas sector Atampugre revealed: “For instance, oil major Shell has played a pivotal role in investing in healthcare infrastructure to help in the fight against the likes of Ebola and HIV as well as being a major party in the first community-based health insurance program in the country. Similarly, dual-listed oil and gas player Oando has trained over 2800 teachers and financially supported 88 schools via its Oando Foundation”.

He referred to the framework for achieving a faster transition to cleaner energy. Amongst them is the renewed emphasis placed by government and operators in the energy sector in Africa to implement regulatory and social investment strategies that are aimed at alleviating poverty and providing access to affordable energy.

He concluded that Absa, a specialist investment bank, is committed to helping the continent achieve its socioeconomic growth agenda as well as provide guidance that ensures compliance with various ESG goals.

He said: “As an investment bank that specialises in funding oil and gas projects in Africa and has a deep understanding of the continent, we look forward to working on projects which tick all three of the ESG elements in a socially conscious manner”.

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InterswitchSPAK: Inspiring The Next Generation in Tech

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Interswitch Spark
InterswitchSPAK: Inspiring The Next Generation in Tech

Interswitch Spark

Interswitch Spark

 
AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM
SPONSORED BY: H&H
Amid a flurry of reality television shows across a gamut of themes keeping viewers glued to their screens, there can never be enough educational programmes that aim to develop and hone the knowledge base of students, and this is where the InterswitchSPAK competition comes in.
The InterswitchSPAK competition was developed with a narrowed focus on subjects around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with a view to sustaining interests in these subject areas for students in schools across the African continent.
The programme also serves as a reminder of the importance of improving the standards of STEM education on the continent, while providing the students with an opportunity to participate on a platform that avails them access to better education. The programme equips young African students with a renewed mindset to owning the solutions to Africa problems.
Highlighting the foregoing point, the winner of the InterswitchSPAK 2.0 competition, 16-year-old Oyindamola Aje of Jesuit Memorial College, amplified the goal of the competition in a “thank you” message to the InterswitchSPAK organisers in a video.
Oyindamola who is currently pursuing an honours degree in Chemical Engineering at the Texas A&M University expressed his gratitude to the management of Interswitch Group for giving Africa students a platform such as the InterswitchSPAK.
He restated the company’s invaluable support to pursue his dreams and their commitment to fulfilling their promise which includes a N7.5 million in scholarship, a well programmed brand-new laptop, and monthly stipends.
The video clearly reiterates the mission of the competition, which is to empower young Africa students in the STEM subject area and support them to carve a clear path in their individual careers that would in turn “make Africa a better place”.
The InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition is for students in all Senior Secondary Schools (SSS2) across the country, be it public or private, with a N12.5 million university scholarship prize to the winners, and free registration.
The first-place winner gets N7.5 million spread over a period of five years while pursuing an undergraduate programme, a laptop and monthly stipend.
The second-place winner gets N4 million over a period of three years, a laptop and monthly stipend. The third prize winner gets N1 million, which is received within the year with a laptop.
Students in high school in Kenya also participate in the competition, thereby fostering an inter-country and intra-continental educational experience.
As a technology giant, especially in the digital payment space, Interswitch continues to entrench itself as a bastion of advancement in the tech sector, and through the InterswitchSPAK competition, students who have found themselves enamoured of the possibilities present in STEM are given opportunities to make their dreams a reality.
Aside from the exciting prizes for the first, second, and third place winners, they also get the optional chance of being an intern at Interswitch, giving their career in STEM a jumpstart.
Created in 2017, the competition has gone on to positively impact the lives of the participants, and the journey appears to not slow down, as the programme organisers have put measures in place to ensure that the 2021 edition is conducted after the competition was suspended the previous year due to the pandemic.

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Nigeria’s Multibillion Dollar Eurobond Offering Is Step In The Right Direction – Akinwuntan

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Akinwuntan

Nigeria’s Multibillion Dollar Eurobond Offering Is Step In The Right Direction – Akinwuntan

Akinwuntan

Akinwuntan

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY:H&H

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has described Federal Government’s plan for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) as a step in the right direction, stressing that the fundamentals and potentials of the nation’s economy are strong with capacity to meet its debt obligations.

Akinwuntan, who was assessing the global market as Nigeria makes its announcement of multibillion dollar Eurobond offering, during an interview on Arise TV  Lagos, said the economy is showing strong trends owing to investments in infrastructure such as road and rail transportation which is giving a lot of positive impact to the overall economy, adding that the private sector is also making remarkable improvement in power sector, telecoms, and information technology.

According to him, “You look at the fundamentals, what is the story of this economy? You look at Nigeria, the fundamentals are strong, coming from the lessons learnt in being a mono product economy which was dependent on oil. We have since embarked on the journey of diversification and we are beginning to show early fruits. Exports are improving, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

provides the opportunity to expand that even further. So, you look at the fundamentals, look at the openness of the economy, the transparency of reporting and look at the opportunities to enhance real growth, output, capacity improvements and stability of policies.

All these are factors to look at with a view of participating in the economy like that of Nigeria.”

He observed that international borrowing will allow Nigeria as a country to access more foreign currencies, deepen external reserve, allows more confidence in the medium-term planning in the private sector, adding that it allows a bench mark to be established in terms of how funding and investment are priced within the local economy.

“It also gives more rooms for the local economy to be able to breathe a bit more because when the country takes on Euro bond that portion is reduced from local country financing or public sector debt within the country.

All these factors play strongly to the benefit of the private sector and the entire economy at large.”

“In the last two quarters, we have seen the global market rebounding from the very deep end of the covid-19 that plagued 2020.

We have seen, since the arrival of vaccines, the gradual opening of the global economy such that there is much more optimism now in the market because we have learnt that shutting down the economy is not the best way to handle an epidemic and we have seen support from sovereigns ensuring that there is steady growth within the various economies; supply chain has opened and we have seen in sub-Sahara Africa renewed interest in the Eurobond market in the international debt market; we have seen Benin republic, Ghana, Cote d’ivoire and Kenya all are approaching the market with significant success. Over subscription in each of them ranges from 200% to 300% and an all high in Kenya close to 600% or six times over subscription.

This is a positive period for major economies like Nigeria, which is the lead economy in Africa, to take advantage and invite the global community to hear our story, invest in us and get good returns.”

Citing example with Ecobank’s $300 million Eurobond offer earlier in the year which was over-subscribed by 300 per cent, Akinwuntan advised those approaching international debt market to have clarity of purpose and state clearly their strengths and weaknesses.

“We are the first banking entity in Africa to do that in 2021 and it comes from our long-term planning in the economy of Africa; we are the pan African bank and when we look at Africa, Nigeria is a major player.

Quickly we understood that arising from a scenario of pandemic and all-time lows of 2020 is time to look at the brighter side and we stepped out for the $300m US Eurobond offer which met positive response from investors across the globe within the country.

We attracted more than 3 times in subscription.

But we kept to the book of doing $300m because it is based on our plan in participating in positioning Nigeria, as the leading export country in the AFCTCA environment in the continent and giving our unique position as the Pan African bank, it was very clear to us and the market responded positively.

Our experience also tells us that, what is critical is to have clarity on your strength, be very frank about your weakness or the areas of concern and how you intend to handle that positively.”

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