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Dangote introduces new cement brand



Dangote Cement Plc on Monday unveiled a new brand of its product known as the Dangote BlocMaster, a 42.5 grade cement.

The Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr Joseph Makoju, said the new product had been formulated to make a difference in the construction industry.

“We identified an opportunity that we can have a product combining all the qualities of good cement; the cement market is relatively sophisticated with different products. This particular product is good for multi-level structures,” he said.

According to him, block moulders were involved in the research leading to the formulation of the product.

“We took samples to them to test before we finally concluded the product. This new product is up to 50 per cent stronger after one day and is ideal for all block and concrete applications,” he said.

He added that the company had an efficient fleet to get the product to consumers as quickly as possible, at the best price.

The Chief Marketing Officer of the company, Mr Oare Ojeikere, said the new product was designed for all concrete construction purposes.

He stated, “Dangote Cement BlocMaster is up to 15 per cent stronger than any 42.5 grade available in the Nigerian market today and gets up to 50 per cent stronger after one day, which means more strength and yield.

“We want the name to resonate anywhere cement is mentioned, which is why it is called BlocMaster, with its rapid setting quality.”

The President, National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria, Mr Rasheed Adebowale, said his members were happy about the new product and urged the company to make it affordable.

“As block moulders and the end users of cement, we use more than 80 per cent of the cement produced by Dangote, so we appreciate this effort,” he stated.

The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma, who was represented by Joseph Ugbaja, said the initiative to produce a higher quality of 42.5 grade cement was commendable.

He confirmed the product had been tested and certified by the SON.

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Ecobank to appeal tribunal judgement on tax liability



Ecobank to appeal tribunal judgment on tax liability

Ecobank Nigeria says it will appeal a judgement delivered by the Lagos zone tax tribunal that it has an outstanding tax liability of N1.6 billion to be paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

In a statement released on Thursday and sent to The Witness, the bank said its tax liability based on the judgement delivered is N1.3 billion not N1.6 billion as claimed by the FIRS.

“Ecobank Nigeria wishes to provide its position on a statement released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the judgement of the tax appeal tribunal (TAT), sitting in Lagos in respect of disputed tax liability between the bank and the FIRS for the 2015 financial year,” the statement read.

“For purposes of clarity, the decision of the TAT was for the bank to pay excess dividend tax on the dividend sum of N5,545,000,000 declared by the bank from its 2015 financial accounts. Based on the decision of the TAT, the excess dividend tax liability is N1,311,673,367 and not N1.6 billion.

“The bank will be appealing to the federal high court against the decision of the TAT as it believes, based on advice from its professional consultants, that the dividend declared relates to income from sources which are statutorily exempt from tax by virtue of the companies income tax ( exemption of bonds and short term government securities) order, 2011.”

Ecobank said its position is based on the principle that “income established to be exempt from companies income tax should not contrary to the intendment of the law, be subjected to the same tax it was intended to be exempt from”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the FIRS had said the tax appeal tribunal ruled in its favour ordering Ecobank to pay N1.66 billion excess dividend tax for the 2015 financial year.

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Dangote strengthens export terminals




Dangote Cement Plc will soon boost its export sales as it prepares to inaugurate its Apapa, Lagos, export terminal. This will be followed by Onne, Rivers State, export terminal. The company disclosed this while commenting on its future plans following the release of its 2019 financial results.

Dangote Cement Plc commended the decision of the federal government to close land borders, saying it is good for the economic growth and should be supported.

According to the company, the preparing to export products by sea in large volume affords it the flexibility to export cement and clinker. The company has spent over $95 million to put the export terminals ready for operations.

Speaking on the result, outgoing Group Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Cement, Joe Makoju, said: “Dangote Cement maintained strong financial performance despite a low growth environment, pricing pressure and increasing competition in key markets. The Nigerian operations maintained volume and revenue performance in a challenging environment. Looking ahead, I expect an increase in volumes in 2020 as we commence clinker exports via shipping from Nigeria. Pan-Africa volumes were slightly up notably supported by Tanzania and Senegal. I am glad to report that Tanzania contributed positively at earning before tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA level. In 2020, I believe Dangote Cement will see an increase in profitability in Pan-Africa driven by higher volumes and further efficiency improvements.

Dangote Cement Plc recorded a revenue of N891.671 billion in 2019, a profit after tax of N200.5 billion and recommended a final dividend of N16 per share.

Analysts at CSL Stockbrokers Limited has predicted that the cement stock will soon hit N224 per share up from the trading price of N170. They are recommending a buy option for the stock.

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Keystone Bank trains entrepreneurs in Abuja



Cross section of participants at the Keystone Bank ‘Spark Up Your Brand 2.0’ capacity building training for business start-ups (MSMEs) held at Rock View Hotel, Abuja, recently.

(Keystone Bank Limited) In demonstration of its commitment to consistently promote and support the growth and development of the economy and also to deepen its foothold in the retail sector, Keystone Bank Limited recently held another edition of its capacity building training for its customers in Abuja and its environs.

According to the lender, the programme tagged ‘Spark Up Your Brand 2.0’ which was launched in July 2019 and is part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is designed to teach start-ups on how to position their brands for business growth and make them attractive to investors and for profitability.

Speaking on the initiative, Keystone Bank head of CSR, Izore Bamawo said: “SMEs are established drivers of the strongest economies and Nigeria cannot be an exception. With over 15 million SMEs dotting the Nigerian landscape, we are poised to ensure our customers in this segment actively grow their businesses through our partnerships and focused initiatives in the segment, and that is why we have strong support for the MSME sector.

“Keystone Bank is one of the financial institutions that have long-running support for the growth and development of small businesses in Nigeria because of the recognition of critical roles of MSMEs as vital agents of economic development and transformation.

“May I reemphasize that this programme is a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to leverage business growth opportunities pivotal in accelerating the process of economic and social development, which is one of the global millennium development goals?

“Our target is at delivering top-of-mind value propositions to enable the entrepreneur’s position their brands for profitability.”

At the event held on 14th February 2020 at the popular Rock View Hotel, Wuse II, participants were offered a free website alongside mentorship sessions by experts who shared deep insights on varied aspects of marketing and brand management.

Keystone Bank, a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers, has a full-fledged SME banking division which over the years has developed various engagement programmes focused on empowering entrepreneurs.

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