SON Wants 35% local value at Free Zone

SON-Logo2
SON-Logo2

By Andy Nssien

The Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),  Osita Aboloma has reiterated the Organisation’s resolve to continue to support manufacturers at the Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, Ogun State (OGFTZ) in meeting the required 35 percent minimum local value added to products and continual improvement in products quality.

Aboloma who made the commitment while on a working visit to Ogun State, described the zone as an important economic area, adding that his visit was to promote and enhance quality assurance and conformity assessment of products coming out of the zone.

The SON Chief Executive added that his visit was also to promote the ease of doing business with SON in particular and Nigeria in general in line with the Federal Government’s policy.

He assured companies operating in the zone of expertise and professionalism from the SON staff as well as prompt attention and a quicker turnaround time.

Aboloma reiterated that the 35% minimum local value addition to products manufactured within the Free Trade zone is stipulated by law to be carried out by SON adding that it is binding on all manufacturers and regulatory authorities operating within the zone.

Welcoming the SON Chief Executive and entourage, the Sole Administrator of the Zone, Juwon Falope acknowledged the support of the SON State office in Ota in ensuring prompt certification of products in the zone especially on the 35% minimum local value addition and necessary guidance in standards implementation.

Falope extolled the various conformity assessment and certification programmes of SON, stating that they were brilliant in ensuring the zone remains one of the best in the country in terms of product quality.

He therefore challenged all regulatory agencies with oversight functions within the OFTZ to close ranks to avoid rancour from overlap of functions, stressing the need to recognize each other as stakeholders in the ease of doing business in the country.

Responding on behalf of the Chinese manufacturers, the Deputy Manager Guandong Free Trade Zone, Mr. Daniel Chin acknowledged SON for its efforts at leveraging on the partnership to industrialize the nation through its technical support to OGFTZ

According to Chin, there are about 30 companies with over 4,000 Nigerians and 250 Chinese gainfully employed at various factories within the cluster which has helped to curb crime and youth restiveness within the host community.

He also alluded to the fact that the visit of the DG SON was an eye-opener as they were now aware of other capabilities of SON in the areas of laboratory facilities and metrology for calibration of machinery and equipment.

Mr. Chin enumerated various corporate social responsibility activities that have been undertaken by the companies within the zone including provision of infrastructures like roads, health facility and educational scholarships which according to him has ensured relative peace and harmony in and around the OGFTZ.

 

NNPC Commits To Product Sufficiency Nationwide at Yuletide

nnpc

By Andy Nssien

Respite may soon come the way of commuters at the Ijegun-Egba axis of Lagos State following a move by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to partner with the Lagos State Government, depot owners and petroleum tanker drivers to address infrastructural challenges that have perennially hampered products evacuation from the area.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, during separate visits to tank farms at the Ijegun-Egba corridor as well as the Lagos State Government House in Ikeja, Lagos,

He said as an enabler organisation to the Nigerian economy which also guarantees national energy security, the NNPC would continue to partner with stakeholders such as the Lagos Government, to sustain the current seamless supply and distribution of products nationwide, going into the Yuletide period.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, NNPC and its partners in the Downstream have made adequate preparations and our plan is robust and we foresee a very hitch-free Christmas full of products, well into the new year’’, Kyari assured.

While addressing tank farms operators at the Ijegun-Egba area, Kyari lauded their initiative to pull resources together to fix the Ijegun Road leading to the tank farms to ease movement of trucks in the area.

Mallam Kyari said although it was a palliative arrangement, the NNPC and its stakeholders would put heads together to provide a permanent solution to the problems.

Reacting to the GMD’s visit, Governor Babajide Sanwolu expressed his support to NNPC and its stakeholders’ initiative to tackle the infrastructure challenges not only at the Ijegun-Egba, but the entire state, adding that his administration would leave no stone unturned in tackling the challenges.

“This is the first time all the stakeholders are coming together to have a long-term view of the situation. We will do everything that is required to ensure that everything goes well on that entire corridor,” Governor Sanwolu assured.

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, expressed the National Assembly’s support to the initiative.

At the palace of the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Country to do more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in their areas of operations.

Other stakeholders on the GMD’s entourage were the National President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Williams Akporeha and the Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Unit of NUPENG, Comrade Salimon Oladiti.

 

(AfCFTA) : We Are Prepared – SON

Osita-Aboloma
Osita-Aboloma

The Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita  Aboloma, has restated his organisation’ s  readiness  to check tackle quality infractions that could arise with the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) recently accented to by the country.

Aboloma expressed these views in Apapa, at an interactive session with maritime journalists. He noted that since the SON could only visit the ports on invitation as presently obtained, thiis could hinder its ability to effectively check the influx of substandard goods.

The SON boss was represented at the event, Media Roundtable, put together by the Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) by Engineer Enebi Onucheyo, a Deputy Director in the organization.

“We had envisaged our absence at the ports as a challenge. It’s really a challenge; you know it’s a government policy. But with your support and that of other stakeholders, the policy can be changed in the interest of the country”, he said.

He added, “this limitation notwithstanding, like I said earlier, we’re ready and with people like you, the journalists, we can still do a lot. We can’t be everywhere in the country. So, we need intelligence to access information on trade quality infractions”.

He recounted the enormous gains inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area if there were quality check in the system, noting some of them as “return on investments, reduction in crimes as it would create jobs, boost in export, more revenue for the country, among others”.

On the preparedness of the agency to handle the fallouts of the AfCFTA, Aboloma said their quality laboratories had been put in place, as exports hitherto shipped out through neighbouring countries due lack of such structures was no longer the case.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Its effective take-off date was May 30, 2019.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Ratification by 22 countries was required for the AfCFTA to enter into force and the African Continental Free Trade Area to become effective. The agreement will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added.

Negotiations continued in 2018 with Phase II, including Competition Policy, Investment and Intellectual Property Rights. A draft shall be submitted for the January 2020 AU Assembly.

The SON is among some government agencies ordered out of the ports during the regime of former President Obasanjo.

 

 

Sterling Grows Retail Loans 200%, Net Interest Income by 19%

Sterling Bank logo
Sterling Bank logo

A 200 percent growth in the bank’s retail and consumer loans portfolio has resulted in a double-digit net interest income growth for Sterling Bank Plc. Specta, the bank’s innovative digital lending platform, supported this growth with volumes averaging N8 billion per month, reaching over 40,000 individuals as at Q3 2019.

Sterling Bank Plc, a full-service national commercial bank, reported a net interest income growth of N47.53 billion for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019 as against N39.834 billion for the corresponding period of 2018, representing a growth of 19.3 percent.

Commenting on the financial performance, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said “Our performance continues to reflect positive results of strategic decisions and investments in our focus areas. We recorded significant improvement in transaction led revenue and our funding base riding on adoption of digital channels. Overall, we delivered a 7.7% increase in operating income and profit after tax of N7.58 billion.

“Going into the final quarter, we will continue to take a customer-centric centric approach to achieving growth and enhance our digital capacity to further support the business, while remaining focused on exceeding our performance in the previous year.”

He noted that the bank recorded a 7.7 percent improvement in operating income of N65.493 billion during the quarter ended September 30, 2019 against N60.822 billion during the corresponding period of 2018 and profit after tax of N7.578 billion in 2019.

Other financial highlights showed that customer deposit also appreciated to N853.551 billion during the period under review compared to N760.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2018, indicating a growth of N12.2 percent while loans advances to customers grew to N635.093 in 2019 from N621.017 billion in 2018, representing a growth of 2.3 percent.

In the same way, shareholders’ funds rose to N109.535 billion during the period under review in 2019 compared to N97.800 billion reported for the corresponding of 2018, representing a growth of 12 percent while operating income after impairment rose by 1.3 percent to N61.583 billion compared to N60.822 billion in September 2018.

Further analysis also showed that non-performing loans dropped to 7.4 percent during the review period in 2019 from 8.7 percent in the corresponding period of 2018, representing an improvement of 14.6 percent.

Sterling Bank Plc is a leading commercial banking establishment in Nigeria. It commenced operations as NAL Bank in 1960. It currently has more than N1 trillion in total assets, 180 business offices and over 800 ATMs nationwide.

The bank has grown into a major financial institution and prides itself as ‘Your one-customer bank’ that celebrates each customer as a unique individual.

Post Merger: Access Bank Reports Significant Increase In Q3 Profit

Access-bank-new-logo
Access-bank-new-logo

Access Bank Plc has released its unaudited financial statements for the period ended September 30, 2019, which clearly show positive figures across most financial indicators.

The breakdown indicates that Access Bank generated N210.21 billion in net interest income as at the period ended September 2019. This represents a 70.98% increase compared to the nine months period of 2018 when the lender recorded N122.94 billion.

It also recorded Profit before Tax of N103.10 billion as profit before tax, up from N70.26 billion, which represents an increase of 46.74%.

The lender recorded a profit after tax of N90.73 billion for the nine-month period of 2019, compared to N62.91 billion recorded in the corresponding  period for 2018. This represents a 42.22% increase in profit.

The bank’s Earnings Per Share of N2.18 as at the end of the third quarter of 2018 moved  up to N2.79 as at the end of the third quarter of 2019.

Also, non-interest income grew by 3.3% y/y to NGN97.74 billion, driven by fees and commissions income (+49.5% y/y to NGN56.01 billion). Consequent, on the increased income from both funded and non-funded sources, operating income settled 42.1% higher year-on-year.

In the same vein Operating Expenses grew significantly by 39.8% y/y, pressured by increased costs related to the merger. Regulatory costs increased significantly due to the expansion in assets from the merger – AMCON levy (+29.5% y/y to NGN22.66 billion); NDIC premium (+39.9% y/y to NGN8.99 billion –, while personnel costs (32.0% y/y to NGN54.70 billion), among others, also spiked during the period.  Nonetheless, given the expansion of operating income relative to operating expenses, the bank’s cost-to-income ratio (ex-LLE) settled lower at 65.3% relative to 66.4% in the prior year. This was enough to drive a substantial increase in profitability, with profit-before-tax and profit-after-tax growth settling higher by 46.7% y/y and 44.2% y/y respectively.

According to analysts  the bank’s macro-prudential ratios are above par, with only the non-performing loans ratio settling above the regulatory limit (6.3% relative to 5.0% statutory limit). While NPLs declined from 6.4% as at H1-19, this could be adduced to the 4.0% growth in total loans over the quarter. All other ratios are settled well above regulatory minimums; Liquidity ratio (48.5% relative to 30.0%), Capital Adequacy (20.3% relative to 16.0%). Also, we note that the bank’s current reported loans to deposit ratio (67.4%) is above the new minimum LDR of 65.0%.

 

 

NSE Hosts 7th Capital Market Information Security Forum

Nigerian-Stock-Exchange-
Nigerian-Stock-Exchange-

By  Andy Nssien

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE) is to host the 7th edition of its  Nigerian Capital Market Information Security Forum (NCMISF), themed, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation: Achieving Compliance.” The bi-annual event is slated for  Thursday, October 31, 2019, at the NSE Event Center, 2-4 Customs Street, Lagos.

A statement from The NSE said the one day free event would bring together leading industry data privacy and security experts and capital market stakeholders to share actionable information on the prevailing data protection regulation which is aimed at achieving privacy by default and privacy by design. The forum will also highlight how organizations can comply with these regulation on an ongoing basis, as a means of protecting client data and boosting investor confidence.

Chief Risk Officer NSE, Rasaq Ozemede said, “the event will provide participants a perfect opportunity to get deeper understanding of present and developing trends in Information Security through case studies on topics ranging from how industry is redefining their Data Protection Regulation practice to developments in protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII), data protection regimes and share effective strategies and best practices in ensuring information privacy is in compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and the international General Data Protection Regulation”.

“This year, we have received sponsorship boost from Zenith Bank Plc and Axa Mansard. We look forward to welcoming more sponsors”, Mr. Ozemede added.

The 7th edition of NCMISF will feature presentations and panel discussions by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO) such as Michael Ango, Associate Director, Andersen Tax; Akin Oyegoke, Managing Consultant, Johan Consults; John Anyanwu, Partner, Technology Advisory, KPMG Advisory Services and Linus Osita Okeke, Partner, Ernst & Young. Mrs. Oluyemi Obadare, Business Continuity Manager, NSE will also be speaking at the forum.

CBN  Directs Banks, Companies  On Cash-In-Transit, Currency Processing Operations

 

CBN-2
CBN-2

By Andy Nssien

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all companies, including Deposit Money Banks, who are desirous of providing currency distribution and/or currency processing services in Nigeria to register for operations.

In a revised guidelines for the registration of Cash-in-Transit and Currency Processing companies in Nigeria, the CBN said the purpose was to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of currency management.

It was also to facilitate the generation of fit Naira banknotes for payment, promote the use of shared facilities to drive down currency management cost, engender healthy competition among service providers and ensure product quality, integrity and standardization in Nigeria.

The apex bank said this update was in furtherance of the circular it released  on the “Notice to Companies Providing Currency Sorting and Distribution Services and Deposit Money Banks providing these services for themselves or other banks in Nigeria”, published on 14th December, 2009.

Under the revised guidelines, a company registered to provide Cash-in-transit services in all states in the federation shall have a minimum capital of N1billion while a regional operation shall attract a minimum of N500 million.

For  Currency Processing companies (CPC), a company would be registered to operate  a national CPC operating in all the states in  the federation or  a regional CPC operating within the states of one geo-political zone. The national CPC shall have a minimum capital of N3 billion, while the regional CPC shall attract a minimum of N2 billion.

Companies providing both CIT and CPC services shall meet all the requirements for registration as specified under Cash-in-transit and Currency Processing operations.

In addition, they shall have a minimum capital of ₦4.0 billion or such other amount as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time, while companies registered to operate both Regional CPC and CIT shall have a minimum capital of ₦2.5 billion or such other amount as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.

For money banks desirous of providing currency processing and distribution services,  they shall jointly (two or more banks) float a subsidiary company. The subsidiary company(ies) shall meet all the registration requirements and be subject to the regulatory and supervisory framework of the CBN.

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 Buhari, Heritage Bank, Zamfara State, Others  Parley On Ssolid Mineral Development Boost

President Muhammadu Buhari (4th right) with Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle (3rd right); Minister of Solid Minerals, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite (3rd left); President/CEO AfreximBank, Prof. Benedict Oramah (4th left); MD/CEO Heritage Bank Plc, Dr Ifie Sekibo (2nd right); Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, AfreximBank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani (left); Zamfara State Official, Alhaji Bashir Hadejia (2nd left) and Managing Director,  Pan African Capital, Mr. Chris Oshiafi, during a meeting to brief President Buhari on the Afreximbank cooperation with Zamfara State for Solid Mineral development put together by Heritage Bank and PAC, in Sochi, Russial,
President Muhammadu Buhari (4th right) with Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle (3rd right); Minister of Solid Minerals, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite (3rd left); President/CEO AfreximBank, Prof. Benedict Oramah (4th left); MD/CEO Heritage Bank Plc, Dr Ifie Sekibo (2nd right); Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, AfreximBank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani (left); Zamfara State Official, Alhaji Bashir Hadejia (2nd left) and Managing Director, Pan African Capital, Mr. Chris Oshiafi, during a meeting to brief President Buhari on the Afreximbank cooperation with Zamfara State for Solid Mineral development put together by Heritage Bank and PAC, in Sochi, Russial,

In a bid to boost the nation’s economic growth, Heritage, Zamfara State Government and the Pan African Capital, at the just concluded Russian-African Summit in Sochi, Russia, held a meeting to brief President Muhammad  Buhari on the African Export Import Bank cooperation with Zamfara on solid minerals development put together by the two aforementioned financial institutions.

This is coming on the heels of the signing of $1bn Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the areas of mining, agriculture, water resources and others, between Afreximbank and Zamfara, which Heritage Bank is the banker to the project.

Part of the agenda of the present administration is the development of solid minerals as a means of diversifying the economic base of the country and reduce the overdependence on oil as the major source of foreign exchange earnings .

Nigeria is blessed wit a lot of mineral resorces scarttered accross several geopolitica zones of the country and its development is sxpected to enhance the nation’s economic development as well as boost the standard pf living through an increase in the GDP and per capita income respectively.

OPL 245 Scam: EFCC to Serve Adoke, Etete by Substituted Means

EFCC
I’m ready to be probed – EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu

By Andy Nssien

Justice D. Z. Senchi of Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja on Friday, October 25, 2019, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve the criminal charges of alleged abuse of  office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI, brought against a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke and others, by substituted means.

He lifted the arrest warrant earlier issued against the defendants and ruled that it would be reissued after the prosecution has served them by substituted means due to their unavailability.

In a statement by the EFCC, the Commission had on April 17,  2019, obtained a warrant of arrest against Adoke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, and four others over the OPL 245 scandal.

The EFCC filed criminal charges against the defendants, but having all fled the country, it has been difficult for the Commission to serve them the charges or produce them in court.

The situation forced the EFCC to apply for a warrant of arrest against them, which was granted by the court,empowering  the Nigeria Police Force and Interpol arrest them, anywhere they are seen.

Again, it has been difficult to execute the warrant as the defendants remained in hiding in foreign locations, leaving the court to contend with endless adjournments in the matter.

With the development, the defendants through their counsel went to court, asking that the warrant be set aside, based on the fact that the EFCC has so far not served them any charges.

Justice Senchi obliged them,  saying the application was meritorious. The trial judge stated that the EFCC ought to have served the charges to the defendants before applying for the arrest warrant that was granted to it.

The judge further ruled that the arrest warrant would be reissued against the defendants if they refused to show up in court after they have been served and upon a new application by the EFCC.

Justice Senchi, however, stated that the EFCC ought to have informed the court that it could not trace the defendants so as to serve them the charges, and that the court would have authorised the Commission to serve them by substituted means, which may be by a newspaper advertisement or through their legal representatives when they are in court.

Following Justice Senchi’s pronouncements, prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Yusuf informed the court that the Commission was going to apply to serve the defendants, through their legal representatives.

“As we cannot serve them because they are at large, we will  write an application for leave of court, permitting us to serve the accused through their lawyers and if after adjournment they did not show up, we will still ask the court for a warrant of arrest,” Yusuf said.

It could be recalled that the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Etete, who was his Petroleum Minister and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company. Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas, however, reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, a fraudulent settlement and resolution came under President Goodluck Jonathan’s  government with Shell and Eni buying the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.

Investigations by the EFCC into the deal revealed crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billon against  Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials, culminating in criminal charges against Adoke, Etete and others, which is still pending before the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court.

 

 

NAICOM Reveals Life Annuity Fund Portfolio At N323bn

 

NAICOM
NAICOM

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the major insurance regulator in the country has revealed that the industry life annuity fund portfolio has risen to N322.9 billion as at the end of second quarter of 2019.
The figure is an improvement of 17.4 per cent over the N274.9 billion recorded as at end of  fourth quarter of 2018.
NAICOM’s Head, Commissioner’ Directorate, Mr Rasaaq Salami  revealed that within the same period under review, the cumulative total Retiree Life Annuity (RLA) payouts stood at N122 billion as at the end of second quarter of 2019.
According to Salami  the RLA market has been in existence since the advent of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
The RLA portfolio so far has recorded 73,554 contracts purchased for a total premium of N341. 6 billion as at end of second quarter of 2019.
This represents a 13.02 per cent and 6.21 per cent growth in count and volume respectively in 2019 from end of fourth quarter 2018.
The growth during the last three years for RLA business has averaged 34.28 per cent and 34.12 per cent in count and volume respectively, while RLA fund portfolio growth has averaged 27.46 per cent notwithstanding the RLA payout made ( i.e. cumulative total payments of N22 billion as at end of second quarter of 2019