This is the 50th edition of Cloout and to mark this milestone let’s play the game of Charades:
It starts with the 3rd letter of the alphabet and everyone’s talking about it.
Yes, you got it right.
We’d be making an attempt to tell this week’s news without talking about it. Just to see what else is happening.
Now, The other Stories for the Week.
PZ Cussons is shedding off some weight
The UK based consumer products company, PZ Cussons recently announced the proposed sale of its Nigerian dairy business, Nutricima, to FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc.
So who are these again?
Thought you’d never ask :) Here
PZ Cussons - specializes in care products like Ava, Canoe, Elephant, Flourish, Joy, Morning fresh, Nunu and Premier.
FrieslandCampina WAMCO - Incorporated as West Africa Milk Company Nigeria (WAMCO) in 1973, it is an affiliate of Royal FrieslandCampina of The Netherlands, one of the largest dairy producers in the world. Known for the Peak and Three Crowns brands.
Nutricima - Its product portfolio includes milk and yoghurt based drinks such as Nunu, Yo, and Olympic.
Why the Sale?
The deal is in line with the group’s strategy to focus on high margin earning Personal Care and Beauty brands in scalable regions to deliver sustainable financial growth.
Also PZ Cussons also recently announced Jonathan Myers as its new CEO, with the appointment reportedly taking effect on May 1, 2020. The company hopes to leverage his experience in developing business in different product categories and markets.
Why it matters
Companies are always buying and selling business units based on market realities and business goals. PZ Cussons has products in 5 Brand categories: Beauty, Electricals, Personal care, Food & Nutrition and Homecare.
This is a diversified company that's pruning non-performing business units. Hopefully, it's a right call.
What happens when Lagos yellow taxis go digital?
Since the turn of the year, the Lagos state government has been curtailing operations of online hailing companies. From banning motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke) to enforcing regulations on them, the state has more in store for the transport sector than you can tell.
How Ekocab was founded
When ride-hailing platforms started operating fully in Lagos, it marked the downward need for the regular yellow taxi operators by most commuters in the state so the Lagos state government in partnership with co-founders Nathaniel Gideon and Segun Cole, launched Ekocab, a digital platform that gives online presence to yellow taxi drivers in the state so they too can take part in the ever-growing online-hailing market in the state. Before then, the government announced plans to regulate hailing companies solely because they (Uber especially) refused to be categorised as a functioning transport company but as an online application This prompted the state government to search for alternatives to bring them under the state tax law.
The new regulatory measures require that drivers have LASDRI cards and a driver badge issued by the Department of Public Transport and Commuter Services of the Ministry of Transport. Also, the regulation will require that third-party operators like Uber and Bolt that have less than 1000 drivers will pay N10 million and an annual renewal fee of N5 million while those with more than 1000 drivers will pay a licencing fee of N25 million and an annual renewal fee of N10 million.
Possible implications of Ekocab
There is going to be a shift for regular taxi drivers who can barely access the internet and whose cars are not fit for the change but commuters in Lagos are mostly indifferent about the launch, considering how they have gotten so used to other hailing platforms. However, some people say Ekocab will make finding taxis in Lagos even easier and others are wary that there will be more cars on the road thereby increasing the traffic situation.
In a nutshell: Many riders see this new development as competition between existing hailing platforms and the yellow taxi drivers but the end goal of these changes by the government is to ease movement.
Could there be better ways to go about this?
A step further than advocacy
Ecosia was launched in 2009. It donates 80% of its advertising profits to tree-planting schemes. It publishes monthly financial reports to show the world what it’s doing. So far: 82.5 million trees across 22 projects and 17 countries.
Now THAT’S environmental action 👏👏👏
MTN finally settles with Ugandan Government
MTN has listed 25% of the shares of its Ugandan subsidiary on the Ugandan Stock Exchange. A necessary step for MTN -- Uganda’s largest teleco with over 10 subscribers -- to gain a ten-year extension of its operating license after it expired in October last year.
Asides from paying the license fee, the Uganda government wanted MTN to sell part of it to the Ugandan Populace.
Foreign firms in Africa repatriate profits back home to the detriment of local economies, so in the bid to retain a bit of that profit, it’s important that indigenes own a part of it.
Also, Uganda is one of the countries that attract the most Foreign Direct Investments in East Africa. FDI flows to Uganda accounted for USD 1.3 billion in 2018, an increase from USD 803 million in 2017.
Note: FDI refers to foreign ownership of production facilities. To be classified as foreign direct investment, the share of foreign ownership has to be equal to at least 10 per cent of the value of the company.
Big Picture: For companies operating in foreign countries there are sometimes no restrictions on how much profit should be retained because it’s up to business owners to decide what to do with the money made after settling all legal obligations, but as we know business operations in a country affect the economy of the country, that’s why it’s difficult or almost impossible to separate business from politics. After all, if the role of government is to ensure the welfare of people, It would do anything to make that happen.
Another President for life?
While the world is preoccupied with bigger issues Russian President Vladimir Putin is making power moves.
Earlier in the week, Russia's high court approved constitutional changes that seemed well thought out - with something for everybody.
Tell me about these changes
14 amendments in total were proposed, some of which are:
For Lawmakers: Increased decision making powers and increasing the weight of the Russian Constitution - it should take precedence over international law.
For those seeking power: Presidential candidates must live in Russia for at least 25 years (currently 10 years), persons who hold "important positions for ensuring the country's security" (President, Ministers, judges, heads of regions) should not have foreign citizenship or a residence permit in other countries, either at the time of their work in office or, in the case of the President, at any time before.
For citizens: A pay bump for those at the bottom. With the minimum wage and pension being increased to reflect the cost of living.
For whoever is president: A removal of the term limit ( currently three terms) and reset of the term count.
Putin who clocked 20 years in leadership of Russia last year has been in a leadership role since 1999 – twice as PM and three other times as president. His current term is up in 2024. This means he gets to rule indefinitely if he keeps running and winning - which is what has always happened.
Now that the high court gave its blessing, it's left to voters who would hit the polls next month to decide whether to give it the green light.
What are people in Russia saying:
Some are praising Putin, citing that he "raised Russia from its knees", while others (mostly opposition) are furious, and have tried organizing a mass rally, however, in times such as this most people would rather stay indoors.
Worth Reading 📚
That’s how my life is now: I’m walking without fear, and if there are mistakes to be made, I’ll make them, learn from them, and keep going.
Mary J. Blige (an American singer)
Written by Daniel Adeyemi, Bright Azuh and Damilola Amusan.