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Mojec International: Blazing The Trail In Sub-Saharan Africa With Electricity And Innovative Power

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True Nigerian Experience Interview with Chantelle Abdul.

1. For 34 years, Mojec International holdings have gone from Power, Energy, Technology, Real Estates to mining. Kindly run us through your trajectory from 1985 to 2019.

MOJEC Group of Companies is an international holdings company headquartered in Lagos with operations in Power, oil and gas, Renewable Energy, Smart Homes, Mining and the retail sector. Its Subsidiary, Mojec Meter Company is the largest meter manufacturer in Nigeria.

Mojec international’s rich history is rooted in its provision of key products and services to the consumers. Mojec has its roots in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumers Goods), it began as a commodities company, distributing and marketing Michelin tyres, through its partnership with the French owned Michelin tyres; papers and foods to Nigerians, via its partnership with NORSE paper and WAPCO respectively.

Mojec eventually became Michelin tyres’ leading Distributor and was nominated Michelin Ambassador for West Africa in the year.

By the early 90’s the company had ventured into the Nigerian Power sector and was the first to introduce prepaid meter technology to the then NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) turned PHCN (POWER HOLDINGS COMPANY OF NIGERIA), the nationalised government parastatal which had the responsibility of  generating, transmitting and distributing power in Nigeria.

The biggest issue with the national utility was revenue protection; its inability to collect payments on bills issued to customers. A prepaid meter afforded them the opportunity to collect payments ahead of consumption. At the time there was a 90% metering gap in the country as such Nigerians were given estimated bills by the Utility which led to a distrust of the utility by customers. Mojec took on the gigantic task of helping bridge the metering gap in the country.

In 2010, MOJEC introduced smart Meters into the country and by 2013 pre-privatisation of the power sector, Mojec International built the largest meter assembly facility with an installed capacity of 1.2 million meters in the heart of the commercial capital of the country, Lagos. Today the firm is tripling its production capacity by building a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant located in its ‘’SMART ELECTRIC-CITY’’ Project, the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.

By 2016, three years post- privatisation, Mojec had a 50% penetration into the market and by 2018 the company had footprints in over 75% of the metering market, serving 8 out of the 11 Utilities in the country. Mojec meters was the first firm in the power space to roll-out mass meters into the Nigerian market, providing multi- year financing payment options to the utilities to enable them deploy hundreds of thousands of meters to eager customers. Mojec pioneered the vendor financing of large meter contracts to utilities with minimal collateral requirement and as such Mojec Finance was born out of the necessity to provide financing options to the utilities in Nigeria. Mojec Meter company has the largest installation fleet in the country by virtue of the size of its meter production contract with the Discos.

Mojec Meter is now a leading indigenous manufacturer and contractor to power utilities in Nigeria and across the western hemisphere, and has won several awards such as West Africa Power Industry awards, in 2016. In 2019, Mojec achieved another milestone. The company got listed in the London Stock Exchange as one of the companies to inspire Africa. This accomplishment which the company is very proud of prides itself on hard work, great team of experts, innovation, great customer service and excellent service delivery.

Today, as part of its smart electric city project, Mojec is venturing into the local production of meter boxes, circuit breakers and other components that are used in metering to serve the 70% metering gap in the country which is initially estimated at between 5-10million meters.  The company has also made great strides in mining assets in the country with intent to explore and refine produce for exports. Lastly, its greatest pride is in empowering young people and building Africa of the Future and to do so, Africa needs to leverage on technology to leap sing it the 22nd century.

At Mojec, we are committed to building a world of possibilities. We are building Africa’s future and building the future in Africa.

2. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission recently introduced Meter Assets Provider Scheme to fast track the roll-out of prepaid meters to the Electricity consumers. Consequently, Mojec Meters Assets Management company signed the retail financing with 8 Nigerian Banks for electricity consumers, how well have you gone with this initiative

 The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) introduced a new regulation called MAP (Meter Asset Provider Scheme) in May 2018. The scheme which was subsequently implemented in 2019 was designed to fast track the closure of the metering gap which extricates consumers from plight of dealing with estimated electricity bills given by the utilities. It also encouraged the development of independent and competitive meter services in the industry.

In April 2019, Mojec Meter company partnered with Eight (8) banks to provide loans to customers to enable them purchase meters. These partner banks include Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank and Keystone bank. Customers can now approach these banks to get their meter purchasing loans.

Mojec Meter Asset Management Company (M3AC) is the MAP subsidiary of Mojec International. M3AC is saddled with the task of providing meter assets, installation and maintaining financing of these meters to end users for 1-10 years., It is the largest MAP in the country today.

“In 2019, Mojec achieved another milestone. The Company got listed on the London Stock Exchange as one of the companies to inspire Africa. This accomplishment, which the company is very proud of, prides itself on hard work, great team of experts, innovation, great customer service and excellence service delivery.

M3AC won the award to provide meters to 3million Nigerians over the course of 3 years, as such M3AC and Mojec Finance must develop the in-house capacity to lend money to retail customers. The opportunity for investment here is Immense because it runs into revenues in the hundreds of Millions of dollars and it entails lending to the informal sector of the country which makes up about 60% of the population.

3. Beyond Metring of homes and commercial clients, Mojec Power is said to be leading the provision of renewable energy to commercial and industrial clients. Tell us more about your venture into the clean Energy space.

In a strategic move to further tackle the challenge of uninterrupted   power supply to Africans, 2019 was tagged ‘’ THE BEYOND METERING YEAR’’.  Virtuitis Solaris  is Mojec’s Portfolio company for the provision  of renewable energy solutions and smart Energy. The company seeks to use the power of abundant Sun in Africa to power people’s homes, offices, industries and cars. During the day while they are not home, the power generated by the panels  can be stored in smart energy storage  units called V-cube or the V-container (which stores up  to 100kv  of power).

Virtutis Solaris also offers clients smart home Solutions which includes automation, Energy measurement and Energy Management. Customers are able to remotely switch on and off appliances in their homes in the bid to manage their energy consumption. Solaris intends to deploy solutions nationwide.

Solaris is also involved in building embedded mini grids for large commercial, industrial, and utility customers.

4. In your opinion, six years down the line, how well have we fared with Nigeria Power Privatisation Program of 2013.

In my opinion, we have fared very well with the Nigeria Power Privatisation Program of 2013. The Federal Government took the very bold step of privatizing the Nigerian power sector in 2013 with the sale of majority shares in the Distribution and Generation companies to private investors.

The privatization was driven by the desperate situation of the sector, which affected businesses and all aspects of Nigerian life, thereby crippling economic growth as only 4,000 megawatts of power was available to 180 million Nigerians.

One major key to our success has been the willingness to identify industry issues and tailor solutions to them and address industry issues directly. Some examples include lack of finance in the sector, we designed to address this issue with the distribution companies (discos). We were able to get and offer vendor funding which made our meters attractive to our customers and the discos. Another example is our willingness to tailor our meters to address the needs of our customers, such as enhanced resistance to tampering. This helps to ensure adoption in the market. We also ensure that at all times we are the most cost effective and reliable solution to our client’s problems.

As we look into the future, while acknowledging the great challenges ahead, we continue to see opportunity for growth in the sector and are willing and able to partner with key industry stakeholders to face and surmount the industry problems head on.

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How Inverroche Is Pioneering South Africa’s Craft Gin

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Inverroche is a progressive craft distillery that pioneered craft gin in South Africa, creating uniquely South African spirits using rare hand-harvested wild African Fynbos botanicals. A true proudly South African product, Inverroche is built on family and prides itself in creating a niche product which looks as good as it tastes.

Lorna Scott

Founded by Lorna Scott and her family in Still Bay, this petite distillery has grown from a small home industry to a pioneering craft distillery and leader in the world of craft Gins. Inverroche is located in Still Bay in the Cape Floristic region which hosts one of the highest known concentration of plant species known as Fynbos. Famous for its large and diverse variety of botanical species – the South African heritage is intertwined beautifully into the Inverroche brand.

Fynbos has long been used by indigenous people for medicinal and culinary purposes but is now under threat due to agricultural development and invasive alien plants. Lorna felt that one way of preserving fynbos would be to find a commercial use for it and to create a global brand telling the story of these historically significant plants which contributed to the emergence and survival of modern humans. BY doing this she created an abundance of jobs for the local community and this is portrayed by the in excess of 70% local female workforce employed by the distillery.

The Inverroche distillery lies at the confluence of the Goukou River and the Indian Ocean near the coastal resort of Still bay in the Western Cape. Vineyards, olive groves and Fynbos surround the distillery itself, with ancient Milkwood trees marking the boundaries of the estate. The name Inverroche was an amalgamation of French and Celtic words, combined to celebrate the unique geography surrounding the distillery (‘Inver’ refers to the confluence of waters, ‘Roche’ is the French translation of the word rock).

The distillery’s three gins were launched on 16th December 2011, which incidentally, is also the first time that they opened their doors to the public. From selling a few bottles on that first day to now being the leading South African Luxury Gin in both South Africa and abroad.

Each variant of Inverroche (Classic / Verdant & Amber) is carefully created with fynbos from the various areas (Limestone rich lowlands / mountainous terrain / coastal region ) which make them truly unique spirits.

Try the below Gin & Tonic serve with the Inverroche Amber Recipe

Drink Serve Recipe

NAME: AMBER G&T

50ML INVERROCHE AMBER

200ML INDIAN TONIC WATER

3 DASH BITTERS

GARNISH WITH FIG JAM AND SESEAME SEEDS

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Charmaine Mabuza Honoured With FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Social Impact Award

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Brand Voice by Zamani Holdings and ITHUBA

Group CEO of Zamani Holdings, Charmaine Mabuza was honoured with the Social Impact Award at the 2020 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit held in Durban ICC recently.

This award recognizes Mabuza for her measurable philanthropy that has positively impacted the lives of many South Africans for the past 21 years. 

At the top of her philanthropical projects is the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Scholarship Foundation which she founded with her husband, Advocate Eric Mabuza in 1999. The Scholarship Foundation started in Mpumalanga, where the Mabuza’s business hub is centered. Speaking to Ukhozi FM in an interview, Charmaine Mabuza said that together with her husband, they funded this foundation straight from their pockets. “Both my husband and I come from humble beginnings and we know what it’s like to not have means to study further, especially when you believe that education is your way out of poverty. So when we started making good profits from our small businesses at the time, we decided to dedicate a portion of our personal income to funding tertiary education fees of previously disadvantaged children”, said Mabuza.

Powered by Zamani Holdings, the Scholarship Foundation later expanded its reach to the rest of South Africa, supporting over 160 students countrywide, many of which have qualified as Doctors, Chartered Accountants, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and many more. The 2020 Scholarship Foundation programme launched on 13 January, with an intake of 21 students.

Zamani holdings has empowered the rest its group of companies to roll out CSI initiatives that truly transform the lives of ordinary South Africans. At the forefront of these initiatives is ITHUBA, the South African National Lottery Operator and Zamani’s flagship company.

In July 2017, ITHUBA launched the ITHUBA Female Retailer Development programme, specially designed to empower women who own spaza shops and informal supermarkets, who currently sell National Lottery products, from all around the country. This included women from previously marginalized communities in the rural outskirts.

In collaboration with reputable institutions such as Regenesys and the University of Johannesburg, this programme has upskilled over 100 women in retail business. The latest group of 14 women graduated in October 2019 at the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus, each being awarded a qualification in Advanced Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation.

Zamani’s Social Responsibility initiatives include:

  • ITHUBA Graduate Programme: An annual skills development programme for graduates within the Marketing, Finance, IT, PR, HR and Logistics fields, with intake of 13 students in 2020.
  • Youth Enterprise Development:  Eradicating youth unemployment through developing upcoming entrepreneurs and helping them build sustainable, profit making business. 
  • Housing project: A project that builds houses for employees in the lower income brackets, who have been in the employment of the company for 10 years and more.
  • A media campaign to condemn femicide and violence against women.

“I firmly believe that education is key to eradicating poverty and injustice. This is why all of our initiatives are based on imparting knowledge and skills. Through education we empower, through education we liberate” said Mabuza.

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FOCUS ON NIGERIA: The Next Level For Africa

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“Foreign companies, especially oil prospects and development companies, have been in Nigeria for about two generations – 40 years and above and so on. So, they know the environment. They stayed that long. They continue to invest because they know the potential Nigeria has in oil and gas and the capacity of the people to learn and work hard.” H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

With the recent re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has secured an additional four years with an administration that is dedicated to the nation in its efforts to continue its path toward bringing Africa to the next level. With the largest population on the continent, domestic demand in Nigeria continues to rise while resources and favourable demographics are attracting the strong flow of FDI. As one of the leading markets in the continent, investment possibilities in the country cannot be overlooked. Improved macroeconomics, which are supported by recovering oil prices and production, has ensured that Nigeria maintains the title of the largest economy in Africa. This title is largely aided by Nigeria’s powerhouse of GDP generation: oil and gas.

Nigeria has seen strong and steady growth in the oil and gas sector over the past sixty years when petroleum was officially discovered. To bring the reality of the oil and gas industry into perspective, the first quarter of 2018 reported that sales of crude oil made up 76.3% of Nigeria’s export earnings, bringing in about US$11.7 billion. In the same time span, processed oil products (e.g. condensates and lubricants) earned an additional US$1.75 billion, which accounted for an additional 11.4% of the total export earnings. In regard to contributing to the immense success of the industry, Segun Adebutu, CEO of Petrolex says, “As integrated energy conglomerate with strategic investments across the energy value chain, we are committed to building communities, transforming lives and driving economic growth and development in Nigeria.”

Driving economic growth and development is ultimately the central goal of His Excellency President Buhari’s administration. H.E. President Buhari says, “The administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments.” The administration’s commitment is further brought to life through a focus on infrastructure development. Nigeria currently has several on-going and upcoming gas projects in the works for the rapid development of the country’s energy sector. One such project is the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline. The AKK pipeline is a continuation of infrastructure built for the domestic gas market. “The AKK pipeline is part of the Gas Master Plan,” says Emeka Okwuosa, CEO of Oilserv. “It is going to move 1.5 billion scf of gas a day and provide resources for power generation and other energy requirements. It is not only a development of the north; it is such for the entire country. So, this single project can transform the whole of Nigeria in terms of industrial capacity.”

The implementation of the AKK pipeline will only further Nigeria’s potential in the industry, specifically by monetising the incredible opportunity in the gas market. Focus on this type of infrastructure is testament to how the current administration is embracing the Gas Master Plan, which is poised to help Nigeria become the gas hub of West Africa while improving the socio-economic development of the nation. Recently, State Minister of Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva has declared 2020 as “the Year of Gas”, and this proves to be true as the country makes moves to capitalise on gas and improve its local energy distribution. With an extensive roadmap in place, the gas revolution is on the right track to usher in Buhari’s vision for a next-level Nigeria.

Reflecting this dedication to the next level of the sector, Chief Tunde J. Afolabi, Chairman & CEO of Amni, speaks of the potential of gas in the country: “Given that Nigeria has three to four times more gas than oil, companies such as ours should focus more on gas; in our discovery of gas reserves we should look to harness and monetise the gas as we go along. The government is making a requirement that when looking for oil, companies must find a solution for the gas before they are allowed to produce oil.” This mentality will inevitably evolve the prosperous sector toward new avenues and make even greater use of the natural resource. 

While the oil and gas industry continues to sustain further growth in forthcoming years, FDI remains crucial for the sector and new investments keep being launched to make sure it continues sustained growth and development. Tein T.S. Jack-Rich, Founder and President of Belemaoil, says “Nigeria has been pretty predominant in the oil business. Nigeria has great potential. We have the demographics to decide the right economic framework.”  Investment opportunities range from upstream oil and gas production, such as deposits or drill wells, or in downstream production that focuses on the post-production of crude oil and natural gas activities, such as seen in refineries plant production, or sales. Within any level of exploration, extraction or production, the partnering opportunities are immense.

Under the guidance of H.E. President Buhari’s administration and the Gas Master Plan, the oil and gas sector is destined to spur economic growth and drive industrialisation with linkages to other key sectors such as construction, ICT, power, railways and agriculture. H.E. President Buhari is confident in the future of Nigeria, saying, “We have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.” As such, the upcoming years are sure to prove that the “Year of Gas” is, in reality, a new era for the industry, which will further signal a new age for Nigerians by creating jobs, facilitating investment, and offering greater access to electricity. While it is known that oil is a constant, Nigeria is showing that gas will continue to play an increasingly important role to ensure that the nation progresses forward towards the next level.

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