WAUG: Heritage Bank restates commitment to youth, sport devt


\Heritage Bank Plc says it is committed to improved youth and sport developments in the country as a means of ensuring rapid growth in these areas, through sponsorship of sporting activities in tertiary institutions.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo affirmed this at the just concluded 14thedition of the West African Universities Game (WAUG) held in Port Harcourt at the University of Port Harcourt.

The bank recently supported the premier edition of Africa Freestyle Football Championship and continued to sponsor youth entrepreneurial initiatives, particularly, The Next Titan,” a reality television show.

Sekibo, who was represented by a Senior Manager, Oladapo Lawal stressed that the financial institution has strong desire to see young Nigerians succeed in other areas other than what they studied in school, whilst urging government at all levels and private institutions to pay closer attention to sponsorship and innovation.

He stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of WAUG, is working assiduously towards achieving its vision to become a bank of national reckoning for which it was established.

He noted that there is need for institutions to give back to society through sponsorship.

“Heritage Bank believes in development. These are University Students and we want to level our legacy on University students that is one of reasons we decided to sponsor the event. We have the tenacity to develop and sport is a way of developing youths in the country. We want to encourage the youth and I believe that this type of games are capable of robbing off on the students in future.

“I would advise the federal government to look in this direction, because when we support this kind of project, we are developing our country. The government needs to do more in sponsorship drive of sports in the country, “he noted.

Meanwhile, UNIPORT emerged the overall winner of the 14th WAUG, 2018 amassing 125 medals to top the log.

A breakdown of the figures shows  that UNIPORT won 75 gold, 26 silver and 24 bronze medals to beat University of Lagos (UNILAG), the first runners up that scored 16 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze. The second Runners up was University of Cape Coast, Ghana that bagged 9 gold and 16 silver medals.

The football event went to University for Development Studies, Ghana that beat Bayero University, Kano(BUK) 4-2 on penalties after the duo played out a  1-1 draw within  90 minutes regulation time and 30 minutes extra time.

Declaring the competition closed, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu congratulated the winners and indeed all the participants for a job well done.

He commended UNIPORT for organizing what he described as one of the best championships in the history of WAUG.

The Minister said university games and sports generally should be encouraged in our institutions to build  friendships and bridge barriers among the students in Nigeria and beyond.

He promised that the Federal Government will continue to encourage sports in our schools.

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor(VC) of UNIPORT, Prof Ndowa Lale commended Heritage Bank for its sponsorship to the successful competition. He congratulated he winners and the losers alike. The VC  particularly commended University of Cape Coast for coming all the way from Ghana  to lift  the football trophy regarded as the king of sports.


Reps say Shipping Companies Diverted FG’s $300m



The house of representatives has raised alarm over how foreign shipping companies’ local agents are shortchanging the Federal government of revenue to the tune of over 300 million dollars.

House committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, investigating allegations of non remittance and ill practices by the shipping companies, revealed this at the investigative hearing in Abuja.

The committee revealed that so much monies amounting to 300million dollars from 3 per cent levy they collected on behalf of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), from international shipping companies had been diverted.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Umar Bago, said that while it was common on the part of the shipping firms as receivers on behalf of NIMASA to receive 3 per cent levy from their parent companies ( as Nigeria agents), regrettably they deployed such monies for their personal use.

Bago added that at times they changed their corporate names, directors and decline to remit the funds to the nation’s consolidated fund account.

”You collect monies from international shipping companies, sit on the money, change your company names and directors, and do business with the funds without remitting to the consolidated fund, ” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 12 local shipping firms, some of which have denied the allegation of wholesale indebtedness to government are currently being investigated by the House from 2004 till date.

They are: GAC, Daddo Maritime Services, Blue Sea, Divine Marine, Transoceanic support services, Inchcape shipping and Maersk.

Others are AlRaine, Hull Blyth CMA CGM- Delmas, Joe Eboje and Peak shipping.

In their presentations, those who appeared before the panel like, Gac, Inch Cape, faulted the amounts allegedly owed NIMASA.

For instance from the whooping 172million dollars, Gac argued that it owed less than 5million dollars and not 172million dollars.

It was the same position canvassed by Inch Cape and Hull Blyth.

Both claimed that the figures before the committee did not represent what they owe, since reconciliation of figures was continuous.

According to the firms, some payments made to NIMASA were not receipted, a development that has also jeopardized the reconciliation process.

But based on the revelation at the hearing, the committee had vowed to invoke Executive order six and a bench warrant of arrest on the chief executive officer of any of the erring companies

The committee added that the warrant of arrest would be on companies who may have made away with the country’s monies and those who declined to honor and appear before the House panel.

“Moreso, firms indicted will be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution,” Bago also warned.

CBN, NPA, Fidelity Bank Win NEPAC Awards


By Andy Nssien

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and Fidelity bank Plc, were among the corporate organizations who emerged the winners of the maiden Nigerian Eminent Personalities and Corporates (NEPAC) Awards,

The award was instituted to recognize and honour individuals and organisations that have contributed significantly to the growth of the economy.

Fidelity Bank Plc emerged Best Bank in Corporate Social Responsibility; Central Bank of Nigeria, Best Public Sector Institution in Agriculture Financing; and Nigerian Ports Authority as winner, Best Public Institution in Trade Facilitation and Transparency.

Other winners are Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing who was awarded Outstanding Performance in Road Construction and Rehabilitation; Comrade Joe Ajero, President, United Labour Congress bagged the award for Leadership Excellence in Workers’ Rights Advocacy; Tincan Ports Customs Command received an award for Outstanding  Performance in Trade Facilitation and Enforcement; Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), for Outstanding Contribution in Foreign Exchange Rate Stabilization; while the  Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was named Best Public Sector Institution in Maritime Safety and Security; just as Nigerian Breweries Plc received the Outstanding Leadership In Sports Sponsorship award.

The  event which held at the Sheraton Lagos Hotel and Towers, Ikeja was preceded by a lecture titled, “Diversification: Path To Sustainable Economic Recovery and Growth” delivered by the Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management  (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo.

Ekpo stressed the need for the Government to play active role in diversifying the Nigerian economy through formulating and implementing strategies for the policy.

He said, it was the strategic thinking of government that would excite the private sector to want to invest in various areas  of the economy (diversification), contribute to growth and make profit.

”The private sector is an engine of growth and not development – the latter is second best.  It is government that is an engine of development utilizing the benefits of growth to ensure equity and fairness. It is government that is concerned about education, health, employment, poverty and inequality, not the private sector,” Ekpo, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, stated.

However, for the economic diversification to be effective and sustainable there must be good governance embracing an economic blue-print which stressed development as top priority, he said.

The WAIFEM boss identified key economic drivers for successful diversification to include, economic blue-print, quality of leadership, macroeconomic stability, political will, capacity building and training, competitive federalism, peace and stability, amongst others.

He said there was need for a clear economic blue-print with the understanding that the federal government and states had agreed to foster economic co-operation among their respective states, even as the economic thrust of the co-operating states might be different from that of the government at the center.

A visionary leader, he stated, would galvanize the citizens for development, adding that his/her approach to governance would elicit support and enthusiasm from the followership.

“The positive attributes of a good leader would permeate all other levels of leadership. Leadership within the context of good governance would drive the diversification process in the country,” he added.

Ekpo stated that macroeconomic stability was essential for diversification to take place, explaining, “the economy must be managed to ensure moderate inflation, ensuring that macroeconomic fundamentals move in the right direction. This would enable potential and domestic investors to plan and weigh costs and benefits of investing in Nigeria.”

Stressing the import of political will, he said, “This is both a necessary and secondary condition for economic diversification to be effective and sustainable.  Without political will, diversification would remain an exercise in futility.’

Justifying the need for diversification, the former university don stated that the sluggish growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the high rates of unemployment and inflation, rising misery indices, non-performance of the manufacturing sector, traditional agricultural practice, high incidence of poverty, among others pointed to the need to diversify the Nigerian economy.

The NEPAC awards is brainchild of Nigeria’s leading business and financial journal BusinessUpdate, with an online platform (www.businessupdatereports.com).



Economic Inclusion More Fundamental than Financial Inclusion – Sterling Bank MD

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman while speaking at the just-concluded Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference in Abuja, said Non-Interest Banking will provide lawyers with huge opportunities in the near future as it is currently one of the fastest growing financial products in the world.

Mr. Suleiman, gave the advice while contributing to a panel discussion on ‘Financial Inclusion and Wealth Management’ saying lawyers have a role to play in ensuring financial inclusion for their clients, he added that Non-Interest Banking is backed by the law because every single transaction is treated as a separate contract as opposed to the practice in conventional finance where a single contract covers the total transaction.

According to him, “Every single transaction in Non-Interest Banking is a separate contract as opposed to conventional finance where there’s actually a single contract that runs through your total transaction.”

He, however, debunked the notion that deposit money banks often prefer to focus on professionals and the educated rather than the poor in rural areas, saying decisions in the banking sector are largely dictated by the dynamics of the market system.

He said: “I think the joke is on all of us. I don’t see any law firm in the villages either. The beauty of running a market system is that people will offer their services in places where they’ll pay for it.”

“I desire to see everybody being able to pay for all the services but the reality is that you need to create the capacity and affordability. People have to be able to afford the services before the private sector can provide it.

“And that’s why economic inclusion is far more fundamental than financial inclusion. Once these people become economically included, financial inclusion will automatically follow.” He added that there are social programmes in place to improve financial inclusion of rural dwellers which are not profit-led.

He said banks in Nigeria recently committed to as many as two million free telephone handsets for distribution to the poorest people so that they can become not just financially included but also have access to telecom services.

According to him, Sterling Bank alone is providing 200,000 phones to people in the villages at no cost.

“So the social programme will take care of that but the commercial programme will always follow the money,” he said.

2, 835 Graduates Vie For NDDC’s Foreign Scholarship

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By Andy Nssien

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has conducted Computer-Based Tests for 2,835 candidates out of the over 4,000 that applied for the Commission’s Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Scheme for 2018.

Speaking at the Rivers State University, ICT Centre, venue of the aptitude test, the Director, Education, Health and Social Services, Mr Goshua Okejoto, explained that the choice of electronic examination was to enable the Commission shortlist the right candidates to be selected for the scholarship scheme.

The NDDC Director stated that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship, which was started in 2010, was meant to equip Niger Delta graduates with relevant training and skills for effective participation in the local content programme of the Federal Government.

He explained that only candidates who had finished the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and secured admission into foreign universities were eligible to participate in the scholarship award process.

Okejoto said that after the aptitude test, 1,500 candidates would be selected for oral interview. He noted: “The process is very transparent as the candidates see their scores immediately after the test. That is the beauty of the computer-based test.”

According to him, the scholarship programme was designed to encourage excellence and debunk the myth that the Niger Delta was the bedrock of militancy. “The NDDC is using the programme to showcase the best of the Niger Delta and this has been justified by the academic performance of previous beneficiaries,” he said.

Okejoto said that the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, was committed to the success of the programme and had directed that the process should be completed by September 21, 2018 with the presentation of award letters to the successful candidates.

He added: “The MD is very passionate about the programme because he wants the NDDC to continue to build the capacity of graduates from the Niger Delta region.”

He said that some new programmes had been added to the scholarship scheme to help universities in the Niger Delta to engage high calibre staff. This, he said, necessitated the introduction of awards in education in addition to studies in management which was added in 2017.

In his remarks, the consultant for the scholarship programme, Mr Godson Ideozu, stressed that computer-based examination encourages transparency because “candidates get to see their scores immediately after writing the examination.”

He observed that the candidates, comprising those for Masters and Doctorate degrees, were examined primarily in their core area of study, noting that the exercise was not only fair but gave the applicants equal opportunity to compete.

FG Repositioning Maritime Sector – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the Nigerian maritime sector is being repositioned by the Federal Government to take a leading position as one of the viable alternate sources of revenue in growing the economy as part of its resolve to continuously diversify the Nigerian economy.

The President who was the Special Guest of Honour at a public book presentation titled: Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future, authored by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Bashir Jamoh, said that there is no change without pain, hence the need for Nigerians to keep faith with the Federal Government’s determination of rejuvenating the Nigerian economy.

President Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi noted that Nigeria has relied so much on the crude oil economy; it is time to focus on other sources particularly the Blue Economy which covers both aquatic and marine spaces including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground waters. Which also encompasses a range of productive sectors; Fisheries, Aquaculture, Tourism, Transport, Ship building, energy, bio-prospecting, under-water mining and related activities, all pointing towards economic prosperity, when adequately harnessed.

“We know that the maritime sector has so much to offer the economy in terms of jobs and wealth creation and also contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On our part as a government, we are determined to walk the talk so that our economic diversification initiative will be fully achieved for the benefit of all Nigerians”, the President said.

He commended the Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management of NIMASA for its efforts in repositioning the maritime sector and for its huge contributions to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government. The Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi stated further that there is a new NIMASA, stating that the Agency has been transformed to being alive to its maritime regulatory and promotional mandates.

Commenting on the book, he noted that it is a document that should be given adequate consideration as it speaks to the Authority and other Stakeholders in the maritime sector.

Speaking further he said the Federal Ministry of Transportation understands Stakeholders’ yearnings for the urgent review on the guidelines of the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF), and called for an immediate meeting in his office to find a lasting solution to it.

The event also had in attendance, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who buttressed the Federal Government’s quest for diversification, adding that the government is willing to implement any new idea that will bring about a boost to the Nigerian economy.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, also joined his counterparts in Government to assure that the military will continue to provide necessary security for the protection of the nation’s economy, including the maritime sector where the Army, Navy and Air Force are currently playing major roles in protecting our assets.

On his part, the author of the book, Mr. Bashir Jamoh noted that the book was borne out of his passion for the development of the maritime sector, adding that this is just the beginning for Nigeria as the intention of the book is to expose the vast opportunities in the maritime sector to equally do well as oil and agriculture have done to the economy.

The NIMASA Executive Director who is a seasoned administrator with over 25 years’ experience in the maritime sector is currently a Ph. D student at the University of Port Harcourt, specializing in Logistics and Transport Management.

NIMASA Boss Launch’s Book On Maritime Assets

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Executive Director, Finance and Administration Mr. Bashir Jamoh is set to be launch his book titled “Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future.

The book which is a chronicle of events in Nigeria’s maritime industry will be launched at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by 10:00 am with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR as the Special Guest of Honour and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, as the Guest of Honour alongside dignitaries from all walks of life.

 Dignitaries to grace the occasion include; the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi as the Chairman of the occasion, His Excellency, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai and the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the Chief Hosts.

 Others are; former Executive Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Executive Governors of Lagos and Ogun State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Ibikunle Amosun respectively, Emir of Zauzau, HRH, Dr. Shehu Idris and the Emir of Kano, HRH, Sanusi Lamido II as Royal Fathers of the day among other notable Nigerians.

 Speaking ahead of the book launch, Mr. Jamoh said “the maritime sector is very critical to the growth of the economy, hence the need to do all we can as Nigerians to preserve it. This public book presentation is my own way of contributing to the growth of the sector and also to point policy makers, operators and scholars to the direction of sustainably developing the nation’s maritime assets”.

 The NIMASA Executive Director who is a seasoned administrator with over 25 years’ experience in the maritime sector is currently a Ph. D student at the University of Port Harcourt, specializing in Logistics and Transport Management.

Police summon Fani-Kayode over alleged criminal conspiracy, incitement

Police Femi Fani-Kayode

Controversial politician, Femi Fani-Kayode, has been asked to report at the national headquarters of the Police in Abuja on Tuesday over alleged criminal offences.

The police ‘invitation’ dated August 20 alleges criminal conspiracy, defamation, inciting publication, injurious falsehood and conduct likely to cause breach of public peace.

It was signed by CP Habu Sani, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the IGP Monitoring Unit at the Force headquarters in Abuja, a special unit that focuses on exceptionally serious crimes.

“This office is investigating the above mentioned case reported to the Inspector-General of Police, in which your name featured.

“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to interview the undersigned through SP Usman Garba on 28/08/2018 at 1000 hrs, to shed light on the allegations raised.

“You are to, however, note that the invitation is purely for fact-finding and your cooperation in this regard is highly solicited please,” the police stated.

My life under threat, says Ortom

Ortom Benue

Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom yesterday alleged threats to his life and those of his security aides.

The governor, who spoke at an interactive session between the church, traditional institution and other stakeholders on peaceful elections in 2019, said he had received information on plans by some unnamed persons to attack his convoy on his way to Abuja.

He also alleged a plan by the would be attackers to kidnap and torture one of his security aides before subjecting him to the most cruel death for daring to speak out against the invasion of communities in Benue State where massive killings were carried out.

Ortom said since he received the information he had sometimes resorted to taking chartered flight to Abuja while such flights have been stopped from landing at the Makurdi Airport.

He said he was confident that God would show him a way out of the situation if he had to travel out of the state.

At the event, which was organised by the Makurdi Diocese of the Catholic Church and held at Pope John Paull II Pastoral Centre in Makurdi, the governor listed eradication of nationwide violence as well as arrest and prosecution of its perpetrators as the recipe for peaceful elections in 2019.

He expressed worries that individuals and groups known to have been involved in violent acts were not being punished even when they sponsor large scale violence involving destruction of property, arson and killing of about 20,000 people in 19 states of the federation.

He said: “If those that perpetuate violence, like armed herdsmen, are arrested, prosecuted, jailed or appropriate sanctions are applied on them, it will serve as deterrence for those contemplating violence in the future.

“Nigerians should use the 2019 elections to demand an end to the Fulani herdsmen’s aggravated violence.

“The Federal Government must stem the tide of violence and address the root causes of threats to elections in some states.

“Actors, including INEC, the police, judges and other state security personnel neglect or fail in their duties during and after elections, leaving room for violence.”

He added that actors like non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), labour unions, religious and traditional leaders, social and mass media must not relent in promoting and advocating for peace and community values that would strengthen national unity.

According to the governor, the main threat to peaceful election in 2019 is the incessant and devastating attacks by herdsmen in 14 states.

Quoting media reports, the governor said between January and March 2018, at least 1,351 people were killed by herdsmen, Boko Haram and other forms of insurgencies.

Egypt Targets $11bn Foreign Investment

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Egypt Government said it aims to raise foreign direct investment to $11 billion in the current 2018-19 fiscal year, up from $7.9 billion the year before, Planning Minister, Hala al-Saeed said on Wednesday.

According to the minister, the government, under a medium-term development plan to 2022, hopes to create about 750,000 jobs in the current fiscal year which ends in June 2019.

Egypt is implementing deep reforms under a 2016 IMF-backed austerity plan that called for energy subsidy cuts.

Economists say that the reforms, which had piled up pressure on ordinary Egyptians grappling with higher fuel, transportation and electricity prices, were intended to help attract more foreign investments into the country.

Egypt’s unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in the second quarter of 2018, down from 11.98 percent during the same period a year ago, according to state statistics agency CAPMAS.

The medium-term plan, which is part of Egypt’s Vision 2030, is intended to bolster the Egyptian economy’s competitiveness, Saeed said.

She said that the plan envisages economic growth to increase to 8 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year, up from 5.8 percent in the current 2018-19 fiscal year.

Saeed said that raising non-oil exports by an annual average of 13 percent to reach $35 billion by 2021-22 was one of the main goals of the plan.

The plan also aims to increase average savings to 23 percent by 2021-22 from around 11 percent in the current fiscal year.