AfCFTA: MAN, SON Collaborate  On Prevention Of  Illegal Trade Deals

 

Nigeria-map-colour
Nigeria-map-colour

.The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON have disclosed plans to work together towards  stemming illegal trade deals that may result from the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AFCFTA by Nigeria.

Speaking on the development, President of MAN, Engr. Mansur Ahmed stated that the agreement would open lots of opportunities for the Nigerian economy, but added that it comes with potential threats and challenges, where unscrupulous dealers in substandard goods would hide under it to bring in fake and substandard goods.
To address this challenge, he called on the present administration to empower SON in terms of human, technological and institutional capacity  in a bid to combat dumping post AfCFTA.
In his words, “I believe this creates a new demand for SON and other regulators to scale up their activities to prevent dumping. By doing this, we are not protecting the interest of only the Nigerian manufacturers, but the African manufacturers at large. It requires an even greater cooperation with stakeholders such as MAN. I believe this is what the agency is working on now and we will certainly support any effort in this regard.”
He further said, “SON has built capacity, they have incorporated new technology in their work, but also the challenges in the ports have increased and with the signing of the AfCFTA there will be more challenges that would be facing SON. I think returning SON to the ports is something we should look at.”
According to him, plans are ongoing to sign a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SON, which would enable both parties to work more extensively, while also addressing issues confronting the manufacturing sector.
“The MoU would address all issues as they arise in a continuous basis, because it is not something we can do once and forget about, we will be interfacing SON continuously and therefore, we need to find a framework which will be provided by the MoU that will enable us to resolve issues as they come without creating challenges to operators or regulators,” he said.
He continued,“This is a meeting we should have had a very long time ago. The importance of this meeting to MAN is very clear where we now have a basis to understand the objective and requirements of SON with regards to ensuring continuous quality of products not just for the ones manufactured locally, but also imported, because this ensures a market that we can compete effectively. We have had for too long substandard goods being imported into the country which does lots of harm to our economy and specifically to our operations in the sector and I think with this kind of collaboration and cooperation with the regulator and the industry. I believe that the possibility of reducing the importation of substandard goods would be brought down to the barest minimum.”
Also speaking, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, said the meeting was aimed at safeguarding the local manufacturers to achieve accelerated industrial development, saying that SON and MAN’s robust relationship have spun over the years.
He pointed out that the standards body is also working with MAN as a team to protect the manufacturing sector against the influx of substandard products.
He said going forward, any importer who abuse the import permit given to manufacturers to import raw materials and machinery for local production would be answerable to SON.
“Like every other sectors, there are bound to be bad eggs who take advantage of loopholes by importing finished products instead of raw materials and machinery. We have also agreed that anybody that takes advantage of this window to import finished products instead of raw materials that we have given concession to will be answerable to us in his personal capacity, he will no longer be sheltered under the concession given to MAN, ” Aboloma added.

“Import permit is different from SONCAP that is more rigorous for people to bring in goods into the country. So when you have permit to bring in machinery or raw material, but if you bring in finished products, it is illegal whether it is substandard or quality because you have already abused the system, you are not only taking advantage of it to bring in substandard products, but also shortchanging the federal government revenue to earn foreign exchange.  We  have perfected plans to sign an MoU to checkmate the lacuna, fashion out definite rules of engagement between SON and members of MAN,” he said.

SEC holds Q2 2019 CMC Meeting

SEC holds Q2 2019 CMC Meeting
SEC holds Q2 2019 CMC Meeting

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the Second Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in 2019 has been scheduled to hold on Thursday August 22 to Friday August 23, 2019 at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While the key stakeholders in the capital market will meet on August 22, members of the media would be briefed on August 23 on the outcome of the CMC meeting.

However, the SEC has advised that admission into the venue would be upon presentation of the CMC Identity Card and strictly by invitation.

According to the SEC, “Attendance to both events is strictly by invitation. Invited participants are expected to come with their identity cards to be admitted into the venue and all invited participants are expected to be seated by 9.45am,”

The CMC was mainly established to serve as a medium for exchange of ideas among market stakeholders as well as for feedback to SEC on how to continuously improve the market activities and regulation.

It is an industry-wide committee comprising members of the commission, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups and other stakeholders. The CMC meets every quarter to deliberate on various issues affecting the market and other policy matters.

During the meeting, issues bordering on implementation of the Ten Year Capital Market Master Plan as well as others relating to the capital market, Fintech Roadmap and the economy would be discussed and the outcome made known to the media.

The ten-year master plan for the Nigerian capital market which is expected to refocus the market and help double its size over time and grow the economy was unveiled November 2014.

Recall that the Commission has vigorously implemented some initiatives in the Master Plan with the aim of attracting more investors to the market.

Some of the initiatives, include direct cash settlement, regularisation of multiple subscription, dematerialization and e-Dividend Registration, as they promote transparency, protect and enhance investors’ confidence in the capital market.

The SEC therefore enjoins all shareholders to take advantage of the initiatives introduced in the capital market aimed, primarily, at strengthening the market and accelerating economic development.

This, SEC said is in consonance with the present administration’s economic strategy focused on deepening the capital market as a vehicle for encouraging a private sector-led economy with enhanced productivity.

Those who have been invited to attend the expanded session are Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all registered capital market firms (i.e Broker Dealer, Capital Market Solicitors, Custodians, Fund Managers, Issuing Houses, Rating Agencies, Registrars, Reporting Accountants, Trustees, and Consultants, etc.);

Others are Chief Executive Officers of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), The Financial Markets Dealers Quotations (FMDQ), Africa Exchange Holdings (AFEX), Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX), Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS); as well as representatives of relevant Financial Services’ Agencies, among others.

 

Zenith Bank Introduces Upgraded Mobile Banking App.

Zenith-Bank-Plc
Zenith-Bank-Plc

Zenith Bank Plc. has upgraded its mobile banking application to ensure its services are more aptly suited for the lifestyle needs of its customers.

The upgraded mobile app has an improved user interface and more offerings such as QR payments, biometric sign-on for android users, and a help menu for prompt challenge resolution to guarantee a more rewarding bank experience.

Speaking on the launch of the new Mobile App, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said the new features were designed to ensure a truly amazing experience that will further create value for its teeming customers.

To download the Zenith mobile app, customers need to uninstall the former application to be able to install the new one. The Zenith mobile app is available for free download on the android and IOS app stores by following this link https://ww.zenithbank.com/smartlink.

Zenith Bank Plc is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Nigeria and was adjudged as the most customer- focused bank in Nigeria for the Retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

 

NDIC Warns On The Adoption of Crypto-Currencies

 

 

Umar Ibrahim
Umar Ibrahim

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Umaru Ibrahim has advised Nigerians to exercise maximum caution in the adoption of crypto-currencies as their preferred mode of financial transactions.

While acknowledging that various forms of digital currencies currently in operation have their positive and negative attributes, Alhaji Ibrahim insisted that those who patronize them risk losing their savings because the medium is largely unregulated and without  the backing or support from the traditional Central Banks in almost all financial jurisdictions.

The NDIC Boss handed down the warning during the courtesy visit by the Board and Management of the Corporation to the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in his office at the National Assembly Complex, in Abuja.

Earlier, in her opening remarks, Chairman of the Board of the Corporation, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun, informed the Speaker that the NDIC remained a critical player in the Nigerian financial safety net that had contributed immensely to the growth and stability of the nation’s financial sector in the 30 years of its operations using best practices. She added that recently the NDIC became the first public sector institution in Nigeria to be awarded three International Standard Organization (ISO) certifications simultaneously by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in view of its result oriented system, processes and procedures.

The Board Chairman solicited the assistance of the House in the passage of the NDIC Act Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly.

Responding, the Speaker commended NDIC’s visit, describing it as a right step towards fostering harmonious working relationship with agencies in the executive arm of government.

On the issue of Crypto currency, he noted that as the entire world currently exploited ways of mainstreaming its use into the global financial landscape, NDIC and other safety-net participants in the country must not be left behind in the adoption of appropriate regulatory framework to deal with the prevalence of crypto currencies in the global financial space. added that only recently, there was a meeting of world leaders in Osaka, Japan to deliberate on the subject, the Hon. Speaker said

Responding to a specific request from the Board and Management of the Corporation, he assured that the House, under his leadership will ensure that the most appropriate Committee is assigned to handle the oversight functions of the Corporation.

 

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SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has restated its commitment to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to further develop and deepen the capital market.

The Ag. Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms Mary Uduk stated this on the occasion of the visit of members of the association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) SEC in Abuja, weekend.

Uduk noted that a well-functioning capital market wasessential to Nigeria’s economic development, and to realise its full potential, the country must have a world class capital market that is strong, sustainable, effective, and plays a central role in economic development.

According to her, the SEC is open to suggestions and actions that would make the Capital Market vibrant but however added that such collaborative efforts would be with associations and persons that are fit and proper to operate in the market.

She said the SEC is willing to collaborate with the association to lift the market and re-position it among leading capital markets that meet international standards and best practices.

Uduk commended members of the group on their efforts so far in deepening the market especially for their support towards the financial literacy campaign of the SEC and assured them of the readiness of the commission to continue to work with them.

“It’s good that we work together to take our capital market to the height we want it to attain. We are ready to engage with you to give us clarity on several issues relating to the market.

“We are open to discussions that will benefit the market; the market is the most important in all our engagements.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of ASHON, Chief Onyewechukwu Ezeagu pledged the commitment of the group to the growth of the capital market adding that whatever is done to make the Market work is of concern to the association.

“We have always worked with SEC and will continue to do so and accord you all the co-operation you require to succeed” Ezeagu assured

On financial literacy, the ASHON Chairman said the group will continue to collaborate in every way possible to reach financial illiterates in the country.

 

WAUG: Heritage Bank restates commitment to youth, sport devt

Managing-Director-of-He
Managing-Director-of-He

\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

 

yakubu-Dogara
yakubu-Dogara

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

npa-logo
npa-logo
cbn-logo
cbn-logo

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).

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Economic Inclusion More Fundamental than Financial Inclusion – Sterling Bank MD

Image result for Mr. Abubakar Suleiman

By Udo ONYEKA

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.