NDIC Hosts  International Virtual Conference

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has taken the front seat in the international finance community to drive public discourse on the impact, risks, challenges and opportunities of Financial Technology (FINTECH) by organising a two-day Virtual International Conference with the theme “Financial System Stability, Fintech and Emerging Risks: Challenge for Bank Supervisors” from Thursday, 22nd to Friday, 23rd October 2020. The Conference, which is the first of its kind to be hosted by a Deposit Insurance System (DIS) in the African region, is informed by emerging developments and financial system stability effects of Fintech and COVID-19 pandemic.

The Conference, brings together speakers & participants from the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), sister deposit insurers, supervisory & resolution authorities, as well as professionals & practitioners in the financial systems across the globe. Some of the local participants are drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), FITC, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), amongst others.

The Conference is part of effort to promote knowledge and experience sharing amongst key stakeholders on Fintech, as well as provides opportunity to promote broad discussion on policy options to address emerging risks and opportunities associated with Fintech.

The two-day virtual Conference will address pertinent topics such as: How Big Tech and Asian Banks are Reinventing Banking; Emerging Issues on Cyber Risks; Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning; and Consumer Protection in the Fintech era. Other topics include, the use of Regulatory and Supervisory Technologies as Early Warning Signals; Regulation of Fintech Payment Service Banks (PSBs); and Identifying the Potential Impact of Disruptive Technologies on On-Site Supervision.

The Chairman, NDIC Board of Directors, Mrs. Ibironke Sokefun will give the Opening Remarks, while Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Corporation, Umaru Ibrahim will give the Welcome Address. Also, the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Secretary General, Mr. David Walker, will deliver Keynote Remarks.

#EndSARS Violent Protests: Sanwo-Olu Imposes 24-Hour Curfew In Lagos

The Lagos State Government has imposed a 24 hour curfew in Lagos with effect from 4 pm, Tuesday, till further notice.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who announced this in a statement, however, exempted essential workers and security agencies from the curfew.

According to the statement by the governor, “I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society.

“Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our State.

“As a government that is alive to its responsibility and has shown a commitment to the movement #ENDSARS, we will not watch and allow anarchy in our dear state.

“I, therefore, hereby impose a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the State as from 4pm today, October 20, 2020.

“Nobody, except essential service providers and first responders must be found on the streets. ”
The action of the governor follows the the violence which was gradually taking over a protest which started out as a rather peaceful demand for an.end.to the high-handedness and brazen brutality of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS.

SEC Sets January 2021 for Implementation of Corporate Governance Guidelines

The Securities and Exchange Commission, has issued a Corporate Governance Guidelines and a template (revised Form 01) for reporting compliance with the Securities and SEC Corporate Governance Guideline, (SCGG) which becomes effective on January 01, 2021. 

Some provisions of the document which can be found at the SEC website www.sec.gov.ng, indicates that Membership of the Board shall not be less than five (5) and to safeguard the independence of the Board, not more than two members of the same family shall sit on the Board of a public company at the same time

The guidelines also stipulate that in appointing a person to the Board, Shareholders should be provided with information on any real or potential conflict of interest, including whether a proposed appointee is an interlocking director, adding “The letters of appointment should cover the following: Synopsis of Director’s rights; Director evaluation programme used by the company, and Any other contractual responsibilities”.

On sustainability, the guideline stated “Companies shall recognise corruption as a major threat to business and to national development and therefore as a sustainability issue for businesses in Nigeria. Companies, Boards and individual directors must commit themselves to transparent dealings and to the establishment of a culture of integrity and zero tolerance to corruption and corrupt practices.

“In order to foster good corporate governance, companies shall engage in increased disclosure beyond the statutory requirements in the CAMA”.

In a bid to minimise risk in the operations of companies, the guidelines states that the annual risk-based internal audit plan shall: address the broad range of risks facing the company, linking this to a risk management framework; ii. identify audit priority areas and areas of greatest threat to the company; indicate how assurance will be provided on the company’s risk management process; and indicate the resources and skills available or required to achieve the plan.

Recall that the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG) of 2018 issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria effectively replaced the Code of Corporate Governance for public companies issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The FRC had also issued a template for reporting compliance with the NCCG 2018.

According to the SEC, Public Companies are by this circular advised to comply with the requirements of the NCCG 2018 and also note that compliance with the SCGG/revised reporting template is mandatory. 

The recent peaceful protest to demand an end to policy brutality in Nigeria themed #EndSARS may have taken a new dimension.

This development is sequel to the numerous blocked that led to difficulty in vehicular movements across the state.

The action of these youths which practically brought Lagos state to its knees both in terms of the level of business activities and flow of traffic was I initially said to be a protest to halt the numerous extra judicial killings and other nefarious activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police .
BusinessUpdate gathered that the protest was also a demonstration against bad governance an the level of economic hardship faced by the citizens particularly with the removal of subsidy and the hike in electricity tariff.
The angry youths barricaded all known major routes within the state to press home their demand for better living condition for the masses.

Some of the protrsters who spoke to BusinessUpdate said all they want is for government to institute measures and policies to revamp the economy and transform the polity.

Otedola Bridge Explosion: NNPC Commiserates With Victims, Lagos Govt

Mele Kyari. MD, NNPC
Mele Kyari. MD, NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has commiserated with the Government and people of Lagos State and especially the victims over the unfortunate tanker explosion which occurred on the Otedola Bridge, in Lagos, in the early hours of Saturday.
According to reports, the unfortunate incident occurred when a container truck loaded with fabric experienced a brake failure and collided with a 33,000ltrs fuel tanker loaded with Premium motor spirit (PMS), belonging to a downstream operator, the impact of which resulted in the fire outbreak.
A press release by the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated that while the Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari commiserates with the victims, the Lagos State Government and Lagosians in general, he feels particularly sad about the re-occurrence of these events which could have been avoided.
The GMD admonished motorists and downstream operators to continue to ensure strict adherence to safety rules and regulations in order to avoid these unfortunate incidents that always lead to loss of lives and property.

CBN To Hammer Shipping Lines Over New Export Policy …As Shippers Council Pledges Synergy With Stakeholders

Godwin Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has warned that it will hesistate to sanction shipping companies, importers and exporters (shippers) that fail to comply with Federal Government’s new export policy, which requires that all export goods leaving the country should carry the Nigerian Export Proceeds NXP numbers.

This warning is sequel to the discovery that many shipping lines and shippers operating in the country have deliberately disregarded the rules and regulations, prompting the apex bank’s warning to wield the big stick on erring institutions.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Shippers Council has pledged to synergise with stakeholders, including other government agencies as part of efforts to ensure full compliance with the policy.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke while chairing a virtual meeting, stated that following a directive by the Federal Government to audit shipping companies to ensure that all shipping documents carry the NXP number, the apex bank discovered that several shipping companies failed to comply with the policy, which he warned would attract severe sanctions henceforth.

Addressing the shipping lines during the virtual meeting, Emefiele said:  “We are going to set up an auto system, where if someone wants to send cargo, copies of the NXP form will be sent directly to you, so that if you don’t have it on-line on your system that the NXP has been registered, you turn back that cargo.

“You cannot accept any number and use it as a basis for shipping. We are not going to allow that. That is not acceptable. If you don’t see NXP Forms, that cargo should be turned back”.

It was however gathered that the CBN is currently working on a circular that would outline the procedures, which would be sent out to shipping lines and relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service and security agencies, among others.

Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said the council in partnership with the Central Bank has carried out levels of sensitisation meetings in Lagos and Port Harcourt with a view to educating shipping companies and exporters on the need to implement the directive on the NXP.

Bello assured that the council would work with other agencies of government to ensure full compliance, so that export without the NXP is discontinued.

Responding, the Managing Director, MSC Nigeria Limited, Andrew Lynch stated that his company receives NXP forms on all major agro commodities such as cashew, cocoa and sesame seeds, but not for commodities such as charcoal and timber.

According to him, they found out that these items do not have NXP forms after they have already arrived at the port and once cargo gets to the port and has gotten clearance from the Nigeria Customs Services, there is pressure, due to space constraints at the port to ship immediately.

He added that one of their challenges also lies in their inability to verify the authenticity of an NXP Form.

Managing Director, Grimaldi Nigeria Ltd, Ascanio Russo, stated that in addition to not being able to verify the authenticity of the NXP Form, his company is unable to access CBN’s online portal.

The virtual meeting which was attended by some representatives of shipping lines in the country was also an opportunity for the Governor to enquire as to why these companies were not complying by the Federal Government’s directive and some of their challenges regarding the NXP.

Again Explosion Rocks Otedola Bridge

Otedola bridge explosion
Otedola bridge explosion
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi has confirmed that at about 2.30am, Friday 17th October, 2020, there occurred an accident involving a tanker laden with PMS and a container truck at Otedola end of the Lagos/ibadan expressway.

The Commissioner of Police Lagos state has visited the scene for on the spot assessment and evacuation to ease flow of traffic, assisted by the operatives of the Road Safety Corps, Nigerian security and civil defence corps, LASMA, NEMA, LASEMA, and the Fire service of Lagos State, who have been working assiduously to contain the situation.

The accident, BusinessUpdate gathered was caused by a container driver who lost control and rammed into a tanker laden with PMS, and caught fire. No live was lost.
Meanwhile, efforts are in top gear to ease traffic along the route..

NNPC Refutes Claims Of Bribe To NANS, For Vote-Buying In Ondo

N824.7 Billion of Oil Revenue Withheld by NNPC Within 6 Months Of Buhari’s Govt
N824.7 Billion of Oil Revenue Withheld by NNPC Within 6 Months Of Buhari’s Govt
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has refuted reports in a section of the media alleging that it paid bribe to the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and provided funds for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to buy votes in the just concluded Ondo State gubernatorial election.
In a press release by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, the Corporation described the reports as mischievous and contrived allegations, without any substance in truth, ostensibly designed to serve the selfish ends of their sponsors to bring NNPC to disrepute and tarnish the Corporation’s image.
On the alleged bribe or Covid-19 palliative to NANS published by Saharareporters, NNPC confirmed that it received a letter dated April 22, 2020, from NANS signed by one Comrade Danielson Akpan, requesting for financial support to enable the association provide palliatives to students who were stranded at various schools during the lockdown, a request the Corporation could not honour due to the peculiar circumstances and financial constraints thrown up by the global oil market meltdown.
Concerning the allegation of providing funds to support a political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in buying votes during the Ondo State gubernatorial election published by Nairaland, the Corporation explained that the NNPC is owned by the Federation and indeed, all Nigerians, hence, it is non-partisan and does not engage in sponsorship of political parties or causes.
NNPC called on Saharareporters and Nairaland to retract the reports failing which it would be forced to seek legal redress as appropriate.
It also urged members of the public to discountenance the reports, stressing that they were a crass display of unprofessionalism with predetermined conclusions aimed at serving the selfish purposes of their sponsors.

PTML Customs Command Rakes In N138bn Revenue In Nine Months

Compt.. Festus Okun
Compt.. Festus Okun
The Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command of Nigeria Customs Service said it has collected a total of N138,034,958,113 as revenue from January to September 2020.

Mohammed Yakubu, Customs Public Relations Officer for the command said the amount is 19 percent above N115,910,867,674 collected within same period of 2019 indicating an increase of N22,124,090,439

Yakubu attributed the upswing to volume of cargo and strategies by the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Festus Okun, to block possible areas of revenue leakages.

Disclosing this in a press statement, Yakubu said the command made its highest monthly collection this year in August with a record N18,147,171,910

Okun urged all port users operating in PTML to remain compliant by making sincere declarations, avoiding smuggling and adhering strictly to import and export prohibition lists.

He also commended customs officers under his watch for their diligence and commitment in ensuring seamless trade facilitation and promoting ease of doing business in line with government directives.

A month by month breakdown of the collections shows increases in 2020 figures above 2019 except in the month of July when N14,860,863,304 was collected in 2019 which was 1.3 percent above N14,661,692,533.36 collected in July 2020.

PENCOM Board: Abaribe Urges Senate Committee To Halt Screening Of  Umar as DG

Nigerian-Senate
Nigerian-Senate
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has petitioned the Senate Committee on Establishment over the nomination of Aisha Dahir-Umar as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

In the two-page petition dated October 14, 2020 addressed to the Chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, which was entitled ‘A Petition Against The Nomination Of Aisha Dahir-Umar as Director-General Of Pension Commission (PENCOM)’, Abaribe asked the committee to stop forthwith the screening of the DG nominee as it was at variance with the Act establishing the commission.
According to him, the nomination of Umar was in clear violation of section 20 (1) and section 21 (1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014.

The Minority Leader in the petition stated inter alia:
“I hereby forward herewith a petition in respect to the above subject matter to alert you on the inherent none-adherence to the provision of the Act that established PENCOM.

“The purpose therewith, is for the distinguished Committee to stop action that could lead to the clearance of the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar as Director General (DG) of National Pension Commission (PENCOM), because her nomination is in flagrant breach of the Act, particularly the section that deals with replacement of the DG when the need arises.
“May I, draw your attention to section 20 (1) and section 21 (1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, which state that, “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geopolitical .zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.

“I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated; therefore the nomination of Mrs. Dahir-Umar by the President that has now moved the DG to another zone is not correct and has breached the Pension Act and the Federal Character Commission.
“Accordingly, and in line with the provisions of the law in this case the “National Pension Commission Act 2014”, the nominee is automatically disqualified from holding the office of DG PENCOM.

“To refresh your mind, Distinguished Senators, the immediate past DG, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, had her five-year tenure truncated two years before the end of her term and as such having come from the South East geo-political zone, it behoves on the President to nominate her replacement from the same zone to complete the term in obedience to the provision of the Pension Act.

“It is therefore, in line with the spirit and letter of the constitution, which we all swore to uphold as Senators and in adherence to the provisions of the National Pension Act 2014, that I urge you, distinguished colleagues to reject the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar.

Doing so, will no doubt strengthen our laws and the institution of the National Assembly.”

The Senate South East caucus led by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, had a fortnight ago rejected the nomination of Umar as PENCOM DG, as replacement for Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, whose appointment was terminated in 2017, two years to the end of her tenure.

Also last week, the PENCOM workers under the aegis of Pension Workers Advocacy Group, in a petition to the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, asked the upper legislative chamber to stay further legislative action on the six board nominees.

The group in a two-page letter dated October 6, 2020 addressed to Lawan stressed the need for Senate leadership to direct the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters to stay action on the confirmation of the six nominees sent to the Red Chamber by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The petition signed by Alhaji Isyaku Abdulrahman on behalf of the concerned workers drew the attention of the Senate President to “the flagrant violation of procurement process, abuse of office and criminal diversion of public funds by Aisha Dahir-Umar, Acting Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and her cohorts whose nomination as Director General was submitted by the President for confirmation by the Senate.”

President Buhari had in September, 2020 in a letter addressed to President of the Senate, Lawan nominated the duo of Dr. Oyindasola Oluremi Oni and Aishat Umar from North-central and North-east respectively for the office of Chairman and DG of the Board.

Others nominated as Commissioners include Hannatu Musa (North-west); Clement Akintola (South-west); Ayim Nyerere (South-east) and Charles Emukowhale (South-south).