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Naira depreciation wipes out MTN’s profit amid stellar performance

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MTN Nigeria Plc has recorded Foreign Exchange, forex loss of N740 billion in its financial year 2023, according to its report released on the Nigeria Exchange Limited, NGX, on Friday.

Consequently, the forex loss impacted negatively on its performance as it posted a loss before tax of N177.8 billion compared to a pre-tax profit of N518.8billion in the previous year.

Against this backdrop, Mr Karl Toriola, MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, said “despite headwinds, we remain optimistic and committed. We believe in Nigeria”.

The company’s audited results for the year ended 31 December 2023, as indicated by it resulted in a loss after tax amounting to N137billion. This sharp contrast was evident compared to the restated Profit After Tax (PAT) of N348.7 billion reported in 2022.

MTN stated that the repercussions of this financial decline extended to negative retained earnings and shareholders’ equity, reported at N208 billion and N40.8billion respectively, as of December 2023.
The reports stated that adjusting for the substantial net forex loss, the restated PAT would have been N344.5billion, reflecting a 14.3 percent decrease.

The report stated, “The significant devaluation of the naira in 2023 resulted in a materially higher net forex loss of N740.4billion (2022 restated: N81.8bn), reflected within net finance costs, which resulted in a reported loss after tax of N137bn compared to a restated PAT of N348.7billion in 2022.”

On 14 June 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced changes in the Nigerian forex operations, which required the immediate collapse of all segments of the market into the investor and exporter window and reintroduced the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ model to improve forex liquidity.

This led to a 96.7 percent movement in the exchange rate since the announcement of N907/US$ (NAFEM rate) at the end of December 2023 as the market seeks an equilibrium level.

MTN said this significant movement in the exchange rate impacted its operations especially its operating expenses and net been finance costs.

“The most significant of these exposures relate to the tower lease costs, which comprised the bulk of the 45-50 percent foreign currency exposure in our operating expenses in 2023.

“Our tower lease costs are recognised in line with IFRS 16 and IAS 21, which has had several impacts on our financial performance,” the company said.

Toriola also explained: “2023 witnessed a very challenging operating environment characterized by rising inflation, currency devaluation, and foreign exchange shortages, complicated by geopolitical disruptions and cash shortages in Q1 arising from a redesign of the naira.

These factors created severe headwinds for our customers and our business during the year.
The inflation rate increased throughout the year, reaching 28.9 percent in December 2023 – the highest reading in 18 years, with an average rate of 24.5 percent.”

The CEO said this was further exacerbated by higher fuel prices, arising from the removal of the fuel subsidy in May 2023, with the average prices of diesel and petrol up by 66.4% and 257.1 % in 2023 to N1,416.8/litre and N600/litre, respectively.

To mitigate the effects of these headwinds on its operations, Toriola said the company continued to invest in network infrastructure – with a disciplined focus on value-based capital allocation and efficiencies – to enhance capacity and expand coverage.

“This enabled us to meet the rising demand for data and, coupled with compelling and competitive propositions for our customers, accelerate the growth of our commercial operations,” he said.

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UNILORIN lecturer produces biodiesel from eggshells

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A Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Elizabeth Odetoye, has produced biodiesel through the exploration of chicken eggshell-derived heterogeneous catalyst.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Odetoye said that the feat is in line with the efforts of UNILORIN to develop homegrown technology that would enhance the country’s socio-economic progress.

She explained that the feat was accomplished through a “transesterification experiment.”

The don Said the yield showed that eggshells were affordable potential catalyst sources for biodiesel production.

The scholar said, “The utilisation of eggshells can add value to the poultry production process and minimise waste in the poultry industry.”

Odetoye pointed out that biodiesel had been considered one of the sustainable fuel alternatives.

She noted that the high production cost of biodiesel when juxtaposed with fossil fuel, remains one of the major drawbacks of biodiesel production.

The don defined biofuel as fuel made from biomass, saying, “Biofuel is synonymous with biocrude, biodiesel, bio-oil, biogas, bioethanol, Bio syngas and Bio slurry fuels.”

The Professor of Chemical Engineering added that Nigeria has abundant lignocellulosic biomass residues that are waiting to be explored in more environmentally friendly ways.

Odetoye noted that the open burning of biomass residues led to environmental pollution, especially during the dry season.

According to her, biomass waste pyrolysis is a potential means of converting waste to wealth and will create opportunities for skilled engineers and technicians.

She added that when the ensuing fuel is deployed for massive usage, it will make the nation’s physical environment cleaner and more conducive to healthy living.

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Sylvester Oromoni: Falana Faults Judgment, Says Coroner Ignored Evidence

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the recent ruling by Coroner Inquest sitting in Ogba Magistrate Court examining the death of a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Sylvester Junior Oromoni.

Falana said the Coroner disregarded further toxicological examination and withdrew initial recommendations for criminal negligence charges, despite glaring evidence and allegations of bullying within the school, including the discovery of a mysterious substance in Sylvester’s stomach.

Earlier, the Coroner Magistrate, Mikhail Kadiri, said Oromoni died as a result of failed treatment for his enlarged liver due to his parents and doctor’s negligence.

Kadiri said, “Based on the foregoing it is clear that the deceased health deteriorated in (doctor) PW 3’s care.

“PW 3, did not take proper care of the deceased, PW 3, completely abandoned the deceased for a period of more than 32 hours.

“The deceased’s death was an avoidable one but for the negligence of the parents and PW 3, they didn’t take him to the hospital until the day he died on November 30, 2021.

“The deceased went through an avoidable and excruciating pain and made to suffer needlessly,” Kadiri said.

Reacting to the judgement in a statement on Monday, Falana said the coroner ignored the evidence of the government pathologist that the “black substance” found in the stomach of the deceased was not subjected to toxicological examination.

“It is curious that the coroner ignored the evidence of the government pathologist that the “black substance” found in the stomach of the deceased was not subjected to toxicological examination. The allegation was that the deceased was forced to drink a poisonous substance.

“The Acting Director of Public Prosecution of Lagos State at the material time had recommended that some staff and students be prosecuted for criminal negligence over the bullying of students in the school.

Four days later, the Acting DPP turned around to say that there was no case to answer without any fresh evidence from the police investigators. The coroner ruled that the acting DPP has the power to withdraw her recommendations at any time!

“The doctors who testified stated that the deceased died of sepsis and that the sepsis could have been caused by excessive massaging of the leg of the deceased. The coroner conveniently overlooked the fact that the school doctor and the nurses massaged the leg of the deceased for two days before inviting his parents to take him home.

“In an attempt to exonerate Dowen College, the coroner was silent on the overwhelming evidence of the bullying of the deceased, his sister, and other students by the same set of students. In particular, the coroner discountenanced the evidence of a student who had testified that he saw the deceased beaten up and subjected to torture by a group of senior students.

“In spite of such uncontradicted evidence, the coroner said that the deceased died of natural cause. The coroner claimed that the negligence of the family doctor led to the death of the deceased but failed to refer him to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria for appropriate sanctions,” said Falana.

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Woman accused of false testimony meets pastor, says no grudge against megachurch

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The woman who was accused of giving false testimony at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, Anyim Vera, has said she has no grudge against the church.

A video that went viral on Sunday showed the church’s Senior Pastor, Paul Enenche, questioning the credibility of the woman’s testimony at his church in Abuja.

The woman, who claimed to have graduated with a “Bsc in Law” from the National Open University of Nigeria, was interrupted by Enenche, who accused her of lying.

He told her she didn’t sound like a Law graduate, going by how she spoke. He also told her that there is nothing like a “Bsc in Law” and demanded that she leave the pulpit.

The video attracted mixed reactions, with many asking that the pastor apologise to the woman.

But Anyim, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday, said she had put the situation behind her.

She made the statement after meeting Enenche and his wife, Becky.

Sharing photos from the meeting, she wrote, “I want to inform the whole world that I just had a warm meeting with my spiritual father and mother, Dr Paul Enenche, and Dr Becky Enenche.

“I don’t have any grudge against the church or them. I remain committed to serving God as a member of Dunamis Church.

“I am thankful for the concern of the public.

“I have put the situation at my back, and I have moved forward, and I want everybody to do the same. Peace.”

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