2nd National Tax Dialogue: We Must Stop The Politicization Of Tax Revenue Generation –  Nani

Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Naml
Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Naml
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami while calling for all hands to be on deck to support the tax system and make it function efficiently has urged politicians to treat tax revenue generation as an apolitical issue.

Mr. Muhammad Nami said this while delivering his opening remarks at the 2nd Annual National Tax Dialogue with the theme: “Tax Harmonisation for Enhanced Revenue Generation”, at the State House Conference Centre, yesterday.

While highlighting the revenue profile of the country in 2021, which showed that the FIRS had contributed a monthly average of 59.45% of revenue shared by FAAC, Mr. Nami stated that it had become clear that the survival of the nation is dependent on tax revenue.

“All hands must be on deck to support the tax system and make it function efficiently. However, it is surprising that some people have begun to play politics with tax revenue generation. We humbly invite the President to step-in to dissuade political tax gladiators to sheath their swords. Tax revenue is an inherently apolitical issue; it should be treated as such by all, irrespective of their political leaning.”

Muhammad Nami further highlighted how the FIRS was able to record an unprecedented feat in tax revenue generation in 2021, where the Service surpassed its target and collected N6.4 trillion, the highest collection ever in the history of the FIRS.

Speaking on the theme of the event, the FIRS Executive Chairman noted that the dialogue was imperative given the prevalent issues of competing revenue agencies.

“This discussion is imperative,” he said, “in view of the fact that despite our 38 tax authorities, several tax laws and numerous taxes or levies, majority of the taxpaying public still remain outside the tax net.

“The tax-dodgers found it convenient to meander among the competing revenue agencies escaping their tax obligations. The result is suboptimal revenue generation at all tiers of government.”

Declaring the Dialogue open, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that a key deliverable of the dialogue is to promote synergy in tax administration among the different tiers of government.

President Buhari also noted that: ‘’Harmonising taxpayer identification across the country is a good start; but we must do more to promote ease of doing business—including ease of tax compliance—in Nigeria.

”On our part, we have started by clarifying in the 2021 Finance Act that FIRS is the sole authority to administer tax for the Federal Government.

”This clarification became necessary in order to avoid taxpayers being burdened with multiple tax compliance obligations towards different agencies of the same government.

”Multiplicity of tax administration is as undesirable as multiplicity of taxes; it creates uncertainty and instability; and above all, it is inefficient,” the President said.

In her opening remarks, the Honorable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed highlighted the importance of the National Tax Dialogue, stating that it was designed to engage stakeholders in the Nigerian tax-space in meaningful discourse so as to glean information, ideas and experience in the aid of policy formulation and improved tax environment.

“We have observed that countries having lower economy and fewer tax base but streamlined tax administration has fared much better than Nigeria in terms of tax revenue collection; and ratio of tax-to-GDP.
“The goal for this year’s National Tax Dialogue is, therefore, to kick-start the discussion for the harmonisation of the fragmented tax systems into a coherent whole for improved tax revenue collection for all the governments in the Federation,” the Honorable Minister stated.

The 2nd National Tax Dialogue was also graced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Honorable Minister of State Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, the representative of the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Makinde Araoye, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, among other dignitaries.

The FIRS also used the occasion to also celebrate and reward Nigerias highest paying and most complaint taxpayers, including MTN, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, NOCACO, AIRTEL and CHEVRON.

Can Gold Mining Offer Nigeria An Unexpected Lifeline?

Geopolitical tensions have triggered explosive levels of market volatility and uncertainty. These unfavorable market conditions continue to accelerate the flight to safety with gold by roughly 6% since the start of 2022. Amid the negative themes bombarding global sentiment, gold remains a bright spot and high upside thanks to its status as an inflation hedge. The precious metal is trading around $1935 as of writing and is expected to remain volatile over the next few days amid key economic reports, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and China lockdowns among other factors. 

Gold buoyed by fundamental factors 

Several factors are supporting gold prices. 

Safe-haven buying triggered by fears over the Ukraine-Russia conflict has boosted the metal’s spot and futures prices. In recent events, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are set to resume face-to-face talks in Turkey this week. While signs of both sides finding a middle ground could boost risk sentiment, further delays or disagreements could rattle financial markets. Soaring Covid-19 cases in China have also added to the risk-off mood and overall uncertainty. With commodity prices soaring on supply-side fears, concerns over stagflation and its consequences on the global economy continue to weigh on investor confidence.

On the flipside, expectations over the Federal Reserve adopting an aggressive approach toward interest rates could hit zero yielding gold. An appreciating dollar and rising bond yields may compound the precious metal’s woes, creating obstacles for bulls down the road.
Nigeria’s Gold reserve….
Back in 2020, Nigeria refined its own reserve gold bar and paid N268 million for the 12.5kg bar to start a central bank stock. When considering the previously mentioned factors stimulating appetite for gold, this move was a welcome development for Nigeria as it diversified away from oil reliance. Indeed, if cultivated well, gold mining and trading possessed a frightening potential to generate more revenue than crude oil for Nigeria. 

Fast forward to today, Nigeria still remains in an ongoing quest to tap the potential of the gold mining sector. Since the massive hype in 2020 which created awareness on access to the markets, it’s been a tale of uncertainty and negativity. Illegal mining activities have become a major plague in the sector, with solid minerals being smuggled out of the country – resulting in a loss of potential government revenues. 

The numbers do not lie…

The underlying math’s in Nigeria’s Gold market show strong potential. 

Nigeria’s Gold reserve is estimated at 200 million metric tonnes, according to the Nigeria Mining Growth Roadmap. Meanwhile, Trading Economics places Nigeria as the sixth largest country with Gold deposits in Africa, with an average of 21.37 tonnes from 2000 to 2020, reaching an all-time high of 21.46 tonnes in during the first half of 2021. The nation’s current estimated gold reserves are over 200 million ounces, most of which have not been exploited.

Back in 2020, the newly-regulated gold mining sector was expected to create 250,000 new jobs and provide the Federal Government with an additional estimated annual revenue of $150 million in taxes, $25 million in royalties, and $500 million in foreign exchange reserves. It remains to be seen whether these predictions will match reality. Should the developments in the gold mining sector improve, this could help boost investor sentiment against external risks in the form of geopolitical tensions and oil price volatility among many other factors.

In a perfect world, a well-managed diversification into precious metals mining and building a national gold stock could support the CBN’s foreign exchange reserves in the longer term. But we do not live in a perfect world. Negative news around illegal smuggling and violence around the sector have hit the sector’s reputation. However, there is still hope if government regulations instill long-term trust and credibility -especially when factoring the sectors strong potential.

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CIBN Commissions South-South Zonal Office In Port Harcourt

L-R: Dr. Seye Awojobi, Registrar/Chief Executive, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria; Dr. Uche Olowu, Immediate Past President, CIBN; Mr. Chucks Okeke, CBN Branch Controller, Rivers State Branch; Dr. Bayo Olugbemi, President/Chairman of Council, CIBN and Prof Deji Olanrewaju, 2nd Vice President, CIBN during official Commissioning of CIBN South South Zonal Office in Port Harcourt today 
L-R: Dr. Seye Awojobi, Registrar/Chief Executive, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria; Dr. Uche Olowu, Immediate Past President, CIBN; Mr. Chucks Okeke, CBN Branch Controller, Rivers State Branch; Dr. Bayo Olugbemi, President/Chairman of Council, CIBN and Prof Deji Olanrewaju, 2nd Vice President, CIBN during official Commissioning of CIBN South South Zonal Office in Port Harcourt today 

March 29, 2021: Dr. Bayo Olugbemi, President/Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria has commissioned the Institute’s South-South Zonal office in Port Harcourt, Nigeria with the objective of bringing the services of the Institute closer to Members and Stakeholders in the various States of the Federation  
Speaking at the commission of the new Zonal office in Port Harcourt on Monday, Olugbemi advised the zone to take advantage of this initiative to grow the membership of the various Branches in the Zone, work towards training and developing more Chartered Bankers, organise impactful programmes and activities and let the impact of the Institute be felt in the Zone 
He said that it has been the desire of the Institute to register its presence in the South-South region and today marks the birth of that dream as the Zonal Office will officially take off in Port Harcourt, the garden city today. 
The CIBN President added that the office space was graciously offerd to the Institute by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank Plc, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, FCIB, for the use of the Institute as its South-South Zonal Office 
He stated that the new office will serve the Leadership and Members of the State Branches under the Zone, namely, Rivers State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State, Akwa-Ibom State, Delta State and Edo State adding that this initiative opens a new vista of opportunities for you as the Institute is now closer to you.  
Olugbemi stated that since the establishment of the great Institute almost six decades ago, the Institute has continually maintained its relevance as a foremost professional body for bankers in Nigeria, upholding ethics and professionalism, supporting the economy.  
We have worked very closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee on the implementation of the Competency Framework, ensuring that fit and proper persons occupy various positions in the banking industry, he said. 
According to him, the Institute also recently launched a new syllabus for the training of professional bankers, the new syllabus was fortified and enriched with contents that are contemporary and addresses emerging issues in the world of banking and finance. The syllabus was adjudged by stakeholders within and outside the country as robust, revolutionary, rich in content, fit for purpose and in line with global standards.  
In conclusion, CIBN President charged all members in the South-South Zone, to stay committed to and purse the realization of the Institute’s Strategic Objectives as listed below, in the region: 

Lead advocacy, national discourse and collaborations on the future of banking and finance. 

Revitalize the CIBN brand and overall market perception 

Extend Global Positioning and Activities 

Upgrade and Expand Certifications and Learning Activities 

Reactivate Old Members and Attract New Members 

Enhance Operational Efficiency and Organizational Synergy 

The President Olugbemi also used the avenue to thank everyone who had played one role or the other in making the event a reality.  I recall that the approval for the establishment of this South-South Zonal Office was granted by the Governing Council during the tenure of the Immediate Past President, Dr. Uche Messiah Olowu, mni, FCIB, he said. 
He then congratulated everyone present physically and those joining on the virtual platform including the Host State Branch, Rivers State and the newly appointed Zonal Coordinator, Mrs. Chinenye Onwuka. He commended and congratulated the Executive Management and Staff under the leadership of the Registrar/Chief Executive, Dr. Seye Awojobi, FCIB as well as the members of the Governing Council, fellow Office Holders and the entire CIBN family. 
In his intervention, the Rivers State Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Chucks Okeke said that the commission of the zonal office in Port Harcourt is a welcome development and CBN would continue to partner with the Institute to improve the financial system in the country 
Grand Patron CIBN Rivers State Branch, High Chief Abbey Hart said that the new office was a dream come true and his people will leverage on this to grow membership. 
The event attracted Office Holders, Past Presidents, Governing Council Members of the Institute; Regional Zonal Managers of banks, Zonal Coordinator, NDIC; Various banks staff, student members and other stakeholders in the financial sector. 


Access Holdings Plc Announces Board Changes At It’s Banking Subsidiary Access Bank Plc


Access Holdings Plc has Announced the appointment of Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna FCA, CFA as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of it’s banking Subsidiary

The appointment is further to the completion of the Scheme of Arrangement between Access Bank Plc (‘the Banking Subsidiary’) and holders of its fully paid ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each resulting in the listing of Access Holdings Plc (‘Access Holdings’) as the parent entity of the Bank and related group companies on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (‘the Exchange’) and the delisting of the Bank.
the Board of Access Holdings has therefore announced the following changes to the Board of the Banking Subsidiary.Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna FCA, CFA – Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.
The appointment underscores the effectiveness of the Group’s robust succession planning arrangement and follows the appointment of the incumbent, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, as the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings.

Mr. Ogbonna has been the Bank’s Deputy Managing Director since 2017. Prior to 2017, he was appointed Executive Director, Commercial Banking Division, in October 2013.

He is a through-bred and consummate professional with over two (2) decades of banking experience having joined Access Bank in 2002 from Guaranty Trust Bank.

Mr. Ogbonna has a very rich professional cum academic background. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (HCIB), a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellow programme, an alumnus of Harvard Business School and a CFA charter holder. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from IMD Business School, Switzerland; a Master’s degree (LL.M) in International Corporate & Commercial Law from King’s College, London; an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business; and a Bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2015, he was selected as one of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) Future Global Leaders. Roosevelt has attended Executive Management Development Programmes on diverse areas of banking and management in world leading institutions.

He has a robust corporate board experience and currently serves as a Non-Executive Director of the Bank’s subsidiaries in UK and South Africa. He also represents the Bank on the Boards of its investee companies – African Finance Corporation and CSCS Plc.

Mr. Victor Etuokwu – Deputy Managing Director, Retail North

Mr. Etuokwu was appointed an Executive Director of the Bank in 2012 and his appointment was renewed in 2022 following the expiration of his second term. He has approximately three (3) decades of banking experience cutting across Operations, Information Technology, Business Development and Retail Banking.

He commenced his professional career in Citibank Nigeria where he served in various capacities including Head, Operations and Records and Reconciliations. He joined the Bank in 2003 and has led several critical projects including the mergers with the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc.

Mr Etuokwu holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Ibadan and University of Benin respectively. He has attended several executive education programmes in prestigious institutions including Oxford Business School.

He is an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and represents the Bank on the boards of E-Tranzact Plc and Unified Payments Services Limited. He also sits on the Board of Access Pension Fund Custodian Limited.

Mrs. Chizoma Okoli-Deputy Managing Director, Retail South

Mrs. Okoli is a seasoned professional with approximately three (3) decades of robust banking experience. She commenced her professional career in 1992 as an Executive Trainee in the defunct Diamond Bank Plc where she distinguished herself and rapidly rose through the ranks to become an Executive Director in 2016. Following the Bank’s merger with the defunct Diamond Bank in 2019, she was appointed Executive Director, Business Banking Division by the Bank.

Her robust experience cuts across commercial and consumer banking; corporate banking; branch banking, institutional banking, business banking and business development.

She obtained a Bachelor’s of Law degree from University of Benin and a Master’s in Business Administration from Warwick Business School, United Kingdom. She is an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Member of the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria.

Mrs. Okoli has attended various courses in Nigeria and abroad including the Advanced Management Programme of Wharton Executive Education, University of Pennsylvania, and the Senior Management Programme of the Lagos Business School. She is also an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

The three appointments have been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria and are effective May 2, 2022

Meanwhile, the Board also announced the resignation of Mr. Adeolu Bajomo as Executive Director, Information Technology and Operations with effect from September 30th, 2022. This follows his decision to pursue other personal interests.
Mr. Bajomo has confirmed that he has no disagreement with the Board and there is no matter relating to his resignation that needs to be brought to the attention of the regulatory authorities.

The Board has expressed its appreciation to Mr. Bajomo for his contributions to the Bank.

Commenting on these developments, Mr. Bababode Osunkoya, the Chairman of the Board said,” the new appointments reflect the robustness of our leadership succession plan and our decision to considerably strengthen our retail business while harnessing the potentials of SMEs and financial inclusion towards the attainment of Group’s strategy.

The appointees have been selected based on their exceptionally rich, professional, academic, and corporate board experiences, which are all relevant to the needs of our Board.

We are deeply convinced that their skills will no doubt continue to add significant value to our Bank’s quest to become Africa’s Gateway to the World”

SON Ranked Best Governments Agency In PEBEC  Transparency Efficiency In Business Environment Report

DG, SON, Farouk Salim
DG, SON, Farouk Salim

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has been ranked as the foremost government agency in facilitating the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment.

The according to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

The ranking is contained in the PEBEC 2020/2021 Business Made Easy Report and the 2021 Executive Order 1 compliance report published recently.

According to the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business and Secretary, PEBEC, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the published report is in line with the Council’s commitment to continuously measure compliance to the Executive Order (EO1) on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment and to periodically capture the footprint of the Federal Government’s reform agenda.

She disclosed that an additional set of metrics was introduced in the latest ranking to measure the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government with emphasis on functional Social Media channels for communication, the incorporation of the website assessment ranking of the Bureau for Public Service reforms as well as the Ethics and integrity scale of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to further reduce the challenges faced by businesses and boost the competitiveness of Nigerian made products.

Commenting on the award, SON Director-General, Mallam Farouk Salim stated that his organization is committed to the promotion of domestic and foreign investments, creation of employment opportunities and continuous stimulation of the national economy through the diligent implementation of standardization and quality assurance programmes in line with the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

The SON helmsman emphasized that SON has intensified efforts to remove product quality limitations and technical barriers to trade (TBTs) while improving the competitiveness and market acceptability of Made in Nigeria products locally and internationally.

According to him, the international accreditation of SON laboratories, the continuous improvement of its training and management system certification services and the ongoing automation of all its services to stakeholders are aimed at greater efficiency, reduced turnaround time and promotion of the Ease of Business in and with Nigeria.

Also speaking on the award, SON Desk Officer, PEBEC, Mrs. Phebean Arumemi reiterated that the organization has placed renewed emphasis on improving its technology edge through automation to enhance its service delivery to Nigerians.

She stated that all SON conformity assessment programmes are now accessible online and the organisation has continually made efforts to improve on its service delivery, thus deserves the high rating because it took a lot of re-engineering to get the organisation where it is today.

“It shows what we are doing is right to come tops for the years under review 2020/2021 out of over 34 Ministries, Departments and Agencies and considering that this is the first time SON is coming tops with a cumulative score of 78% since the inception having at various times been 7th and 3rd positions, respectively,” she said.

Arumemi explained that the PEBEC rating relates to the compliance of concerned MDAs with the government policy directives on the ease of doing business which includes accessible service charges, following set flow process, including timelines for fulfilling the service level agreements and providing efficient services to the satisfaction of the Customers particularly, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

NCC’s Experiences At ITU Bolstering Nigeria’s Digital Transformation – Danbatta

Chairman NCC, Prof. Umaru Dambatta
Chairman NCC, Prof. Umaru Dambatta

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) vast experience as a long-standing member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has served as a booster to the Commission in its effective implementation of government policies, and in stimulating regulatory initiatives focused on advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation. The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said.

Danbatta stated this while addressing global actors in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry at the ongoing Session of the ITU Council taking place in-person at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from March 21-31, 2022.

Speaking at the Council session, Danbatta said the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the important role ICT will continue to play in ensuring peace, security and prosperity around the world. “It is as a result of the enabling experiences in the ITU ecosystem that Nigeria continue to be active and forward-looking regarding the activities of the ITU as the leading organ of the United Nations (UN) in the area of ICT,” he said.

He emphasised that, as a long-standing member of Council, Nigeria has utilised ICT as a driver of socio-economic development not just for herself, but also for the benefit of the sub-region and the continent, given its role as a founding member and flagship promoter of the West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA).

“Over the years, as a member of ITU, Nigeria has chaired World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)-15; chaired ITU Council Standing Committee on Administration and Management (SC-ADM), in 2019 and 2022; as well as chaired the Ad-Hoc Committee on ITU Regional Presence”, the EVC said to underscore the strategic, symbiotic relationship between Nigeria and ITU.

Reinforcing the intensity of his assertion on the contribution of Nigeria in ITU, Danbatta said, “Nigeria had also chaired ITU-Standardization (ITU-T) Study Group 20 Regional Group for Africa; served as Vice Chairman, ITU-T Study group 20; served as Vice-Chair, ITU-T Study Group 12; Vice-Chair, ITU-Development D Study Group 2; as well as provided Financial Support to ITU Headquarters Building, among others”.

The EVC said this robust experience in ITU has continued to enable Nigeria, through NCC, and was particularly instrumental to the recent management of a globally-acclaimed transparent auction of Fifth Generation 5G licence in 2021; achieve 40.88 per cent broadband penetration in Nigeria as at December 2021; implement robust financial inclusion initiatives; as well as in the promotion of universal access across institutions and communities in Nigeria through the NCC’s Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). “All these were made possible through the successful launch and implementation of policies to foster use of ICTs across all sectors and enhance a digital economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, the EVC has used the opportunity of his brief remarks during the Council session to announce Nigeria’s intent to seek re-election to ITU Council during the forthcoming Plenipotentiary Conferences. According to Danbatta, having Nigeria re-elected will help the country to continue to collaborate with and support ITU’s development agenda, ensure effective and efficient implementation of ITU Resolutions, implement inclusive programmes to foster universal use of ICT across all divides, and provide focused and strategic partnership. “We look forward to a robust Council session and subsequent support for Nigeria during the forthcoming elections,” Danbatta stated.

The ITU is governed by the Plenipotentiary Conference and the Administrative Council. The Plenipotentiary Conference is the supreme organ of the Union. It is the decision making body which determines the direction of the Union and its activities.

The Council, on the other hand, acts as the Union’s governing body in the interval between Plenipotentiary Conferences. Its role is to consider broad telecommunication policy issues to ensure that the Union’s activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today’s dynamic, rapidly-changing telecommunications environment.

The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference for this year is scheduled to take place in Bucharest, Romania, from Monday, September 26 to October 14, 2022

Ogun State Ministry Of Environment And Nestlé Nigeria, Collaborate To Mark 2022  World Water Day

As the world celebrates World Water Day, Ogun State Ministry of Environment and Nestlé Nigeria have jointly hosted a stakeholders’ forum to address the Water Sustainability challenges in Ogun state.
World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater.
World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness for the 2.2 billion
people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. The theme for this years’ event is “Groundwater: making the invisible
Groundwater constitutes an important source of water for domestic supply and agriculture in Nigeria. Domestic consumption and industrial needs place a huge burden on this valuable yet limited resource.
Access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities is a daily challenge for many Nigerians, as 60 million Nigerians, or 33 percent of the population, do not have access to clean water. This contributes to high prevalence of waterborne diseases and impacts education, health and the national economy.
In her comments at the event, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. Noimot Salako Oyedele, ably represented by Honorable Kola Salako, Senior Special Assistant to the
Governor said, “World Water Day is a day in which the future of one of the most essential natural resources is explicitly reviewed for the good of the generations to come. Water is
vital for survival. It is the life blood of human existence and our economy, hence, proper management of this resource is crucial. I encourage all stakeholders in the water sector
to cooperate with the Ministry for appropriate and sustainable management of water resources in the state”.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Environment, Engr. Razak Ojetola, commended Nestlé Nigeria for collaborating with the Ministry on the maiden World Water Day celebration in the State and for the strides of the company around water
sustainability. He emphasized the commitment of the Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration to the actualization of access to clean water and sanitation for all in line with Sustainable Development Goal 6 and the sustainability of groundwater resources
which is reflected in the establishment of the Ogun State Water Supply (Ground Water Quality Control) Regulations 2017.

In a statement at the forum, Wassim Elhusseini, MD/CEO Nestlé Nigeria PLC represented by Category and Marketing Manager Nestlé Waters, Gloria Nwabuike, said, “Water is a shared and precious resource that we need to manage sustainably and conserve for everyone, today and for generations to come. The sustainability of shared water resources
depends on all water users working together locally to address the shared water challenges, be it scarcity, quality or access. At Nestlé, we are committed to responsible water resource management as we rely on water throughout our supply chains and
operations. We therefore recognize our role in helping to ensure access to safe water and Lsanitation in communities near our operations and will continue to invest in responsible water stewardship in our factories. Our approach to sustainable water management is in
line with the globally recognized Water Stewardship framework – ‘the AWS standard’ensuring water-related best practices in our operations.
We have committed to certify all
our water sites to the AWS standard. Our Agbara site attained this status in 2021 and our Abaji factory will be certified in 2022”.
“Our partnership with the Ogun State Ministry of Environment for this years’ celebration is in line with our commitment to work together with local and global stakeholders to address shared watershed challenges”, he added.

This year’s theme, “Groundwater: making the invisible visible’, draws attention to the hidden water resource that has always been critically important. Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere.
The event also included a panel session particularly focused on Water Sustainability and
Conservation in Agbara, with panelists from the private sector companies in Agbara including Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Reckitt Benckiser and Beta Glass as well as the public sector – Ogun State Ministry of Environment.
This year’s campaign explains groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems and climate change adaptation. Also, the rapid
population growth especially of urban areas comes not only with planning and
infrastructure challenges such as water supply and waste disposal, but also heavy reliance on groundwater.

SEC Staff Stage Peaceful Protest Over Outstanding Promotions,

The uneasy calm that prevailed at the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, was blown open Thursday as staff of the Commission staged a peaceful protest at the Commission’s headquarters over alleged stagnated promotions and directorate cadre appointments.

The aggrieved staff said they decided to stage the protest to attract the intervention of the Commission’s board which was sitting at the time.

Addressing Journalists, Mr Nelson Oleghe, the Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, SEC Unit, stated that other issues affecting the staff include parity adjustment, vacancy declaration and examination structure.

Oleghe who addressed the press at the end of a closed-door meeting with members of the association and the board said

“Before now, we have had several issues that the board and management have not attended to.

“One of the issues is the appointment of directors.

“We had several discussions with the executive management to appoint directors from the deputy directors we have today but they said they will appoint only six due to lack of funds.

“Reliably, we heard that there was a memo going to the board to bring in directors from outside including those that had served here, so we felt that will be injustice to the system,’’ he said.

“Another issue is outstanding promotion; we have four sets of promotion that are due but not carried out.

“There are staff that have stayed in a position for over seven years without promotion.

“The management said that they will do the promotion but we have not seen any evidence on ground.

“Another issue is parity adjustment, vacancy declaration, examination structure.

“We heard that the board will meet today and we felt it was an avenue to ventilate our grievances before the board. We have discussed with the board members,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Salihu Mohammed, an ex-officio member of the association, said the board had been able to douse the tension.

Mohammed said the staff were unhappy with some management decisions in the commission, saying “this is the hardest period for us.

“The board has made several commitments and we look forward to seeing those commitments being addressed.”

Mr Mamman Ali, the Treasurer of the association, said the association was relying on the legacies and integrity of the commission’s board Chairman, Mr Olufemi Lijadu to address their grievances.

Mr Ibrahim Boyi, the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services of SEC, who addressed the staff during the protest, appealed to them to calm down, saying tthat they should not base their action on unofficial information.
Recall, that the Commission had earlier the idea of triming down on its staff strength.
Meanwhile, this development will without doubt affect operation in the capital market as many have alluded to the fact that the development will impact the operation of staff on the commission.

FirstBank Holds A Round TAs Cobhams, Asuquo, Osas, Denola Grey , Ore Runsewe, And Foluso Gbadamosi Share Their Experiences

FirstBank HQ
FirstBank HQ

Did you miss FirstBank’s recent webinar on 8 March 2022, to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD) – themed Breaking the Bias – and are yet to recover from the grumble of missing the event, following the experiences and excitement shared by participants?

Letting the cat out of the bag…

By 1pm on Friday, 25 March 2022, FirstBank will hold a round table for the Gen Zs and Millennials to learn from the event speakers cutting across diverse experiences, socio-economic backgrounds and career paths. 

The event themed “Discrimination, Bias, Stereotype. Still Walking Tall!” will have Cobhams Asuquo, award-winning music producer, songwriter and musician; Osas Ighodaro, Actress, Host, Producer & humanitarian; Ore Runsewe, the founder of Arami Essentials, a natural beauty brand and Foluso Gbadamosi, Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria share their experiences with the event participants. Denola Grey, Actor, Model, Fashion Consultant, and on-air multimedia personality (OAP) will moderate the event. 

To attend the event, you will have to register via the link: https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JKkhnSYXQx-YFkaFNQ2Ieg

From the roll call of speakers, it is one to look forward to – irrespective of environment, background or career path – as participants will be exposed to insights and shared experiences on the need to stand tall and forge ahead in the face of “Discrimination, Bias, Stereotype” 

This webinar is designed by FirstBank to amplify the voices of millennials and Gen Zs.

FirstBank Conveves SMEConnect Webinar To Enlighten SMEs On Alternative Payment Methods That Are Key To Driving  Revenue

FirstBank logo
FirstBank logo

In furtherance of its role in promoting the sustainability and viability of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank will by 11:00am on Thursday, 24 March 2022 convene its SMEConnect webinar themed Leveraging Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) to drive revenue for your business.
The virtual event is open to everyone, especially small business owners and attendees who are to register via https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hxkQXlKuSji6JDqaA6x34Q to participate in the event.

Guest Speakers at the event include Jeffrey Williams–Edem, Group Business Head, Merchant Acquiring, Interswitch Group and Kolawole Ogunmekan, Head, Digital Innovation Lab, FirstBank. 

All over the world, the advent and reinvention of technological practices have birthed numerous opportunities that have spearheaded the continuous growth of the business environment. Amongst the areas impacted by technology is the payment methods and systems which have unrelentingly evolved as businesses have been exposed to easy, seamless and time-saving ways to foster their business transactions with customers and other stakeholders. 

The objective of the forthcoming webinar is to update businesses with current technologies as they concern payments and demonstrate how the adoption of alternative payment methods can play an integral role in driving revenue growth.

Speaking on the event Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank said: “Payment systems have continued to evolve through the years and given our pedigree of being woven into the fabric of society for 128 years, we have played a vital role in enhancing the various payment systems. 
This journey has been the bedrock to fortifying our experience in supporting our customers through their adaptability and embrace of new payment methods, as with these our SMEs have been at an advantage in expanding their businesses.”

For many years, the FirstBank SMEConnect webinar series has been the cornerstone for exposing SMEs to vibrant and flexible ways to have their businesses strengthened through visibility to new opportunities that are critical to sustaining and expanding their businesses. The webinar has been one of the Bank’s gateways to delivering the capacity building pillar of its value propositions to SMEs which has had many businesses reinvent themselves with the by relevant competitive edge.