SON Wants 35% local value at Free Zone

SON-Logo2
SON-Logo2

By Andy Nssien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Investors Urged To Diversify Portfolios

Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-
Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-

Investors in the capital market have been advised to diversify their investment portfolio in order to mitigate risk.

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk stated this at a one-day enlightenment programme for the Nigerian Army Ordinance School, Ojo Cantonment, Lagos..

Uduk who was represented by the Head Lagos Zonal Office of the SEC, Mr. Stephen Falomo, said that investors must learn to invest in various asset classes to mitigate risks and exposure.

According to Uduk, “Investment in the Nigerian capital market, just as in any other capital market across the world is a mixed bag of fortunes. A smart investor is expected to have this consciousness at the back of his mind at all times, even as he wades into the market, to pick his choice instruments or instrument of  investments”.

She said that there were good opportunities to achieve decent returns on investment in the market and urged investors to seek knowledge before investing.

Uduk, however, said that an investor must be smart to avoid some obvious mistake which could lead to capital erosion through mixed bag of investment.

She explained that an investment portfolio connotes a mixed bag of investment instruments such as shares and bonds adding that investment in mutual funds had continued to be a worthwhile investment in the recent time.

The Acting DG said the Commission has a number of initiatives that have been put in place to boost investors’ confidence.

“We have the E-Dividend mandate system, the Direct Cash Settlement as well as multiple subscription in place. Investors have to take ownership of their investments. They have to be able to monitor their investments, attend Annual General Meetings as well as read the annual reports sent out to them.

“We also protect them through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk Based supervision that enables us to supervise the operators to ensure that they do not do what they are not supposed to do. And again the Complaints Management Framework enables investors to know where to complain to and how long it takes for such complaints to be resolved” she added.

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

 

CBN-2
CBN-2

By Andy Nssien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Andy Nssien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Next Titan Season-6: Heritage Bank Boosts Youth Entrepreneurship

One of Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider in its usual manner is supporting the organizer of The Next Titan, for a better and improved season six of the programme.

This year’s edition of the reality TV show is again headlined by Heritage Bank and is targeted at giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to display their ingenuity and talents.

The programme, which also, focuses on ensuring that the entrepreneurial goals of the Nigerian youths are achieved, had its auditions in four of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Speaking during the audition at the Sheba Event Centre in Lagos, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that the Heritage Bank has continued to make seamless efforts to demonstrate its commitment towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasingly competitive workforce.

“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the entrepreneurial growth and welfare of the youths is to see young men and women play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” Sekibo said.

The MD, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu, said Heritage Bank is positioned to lead the recovery of the economy through enhancing youth entrepreneurship development and engendering self-employment via its various initiatives and products.

According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations. He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank has always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as the agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining, and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and ICT.
Sekibo stated that the bank supported this initiative because of its belief in Nigerian youth, who make up about 80 percent of the country’s population. He further explained that Heritage Bank was impressed with the nature in which talents were sought out, the rigorous selection process and the integrity with which the overall scheme was delivered.

Sekibo expressed satisfaction in the long term sustainability of the initiative, stating, we will not support something that will not stand the test of time.

The Executive Producer, The Next Titan, and Managing Director, Bravopoints International Limited, Mide Kunle-Akinlaja explained, “the idea behind the next titans is to create a Nigeria of our dreams, the roll calls of entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who will boost the nation’s economy and become employers of labour. It is not just an ordinary show but a show that transforms lives.”

According to him, The Next Titan over the past five years has been the only major entrepreneurial reality show in Nigeria, which provides an opportunity for young aspiring entrepreneurs with good business ideas that can transform the economy to compete among themselves on television in order to win a grand cash prize and a brand new car to start their dreams.

He noted that it was a platform designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the generality of young Nigerians who may not have the opportunity to participate directly through its regional auditions, but who can watch the TV show, and who can, as a result, take a decision to ply the route of entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

Access Bank DiamondXtra Season 11 Announces Trader, 1,015 Others Winners

Nwogu Ijeoma, a trader in Alaba international market and one thousand and fifteen other customers across Nigeria are winners at the second quarterly draw of the DiamondXtra season 11 reward scheme powered by Access Bank Plc.

Speaking shortly after receiving the N1 million prize cheque, an excited Ijeoma told newsmen that she had been a customer of Access Bank for years, adding that Nigerians should partake in the initiative as it was real.
She said, “I have been banking with Access Bank for a long time now. The first time I got a call from the Bank, I did not even listen I hung up the phone but when they called again, I decided to give them a listening ear only to discover I have won a million naira. I am excited and I would encourage my friends and family members to bank with Access Bank so that they can partake in this initiative”.
Also speaking at the prize presentation ceremony, Head, Retail Product insight and capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Rob Giles, noted that the bank has stuck to its promise of keeping the initiative growing and ongoing.
Giles revealed that over N5.4 billion in prize money have been doled out while adding that Access Bank is trying to make the prizes more accessible so that more Nigerians can win every year.
He said, “The special thing about DiamondXtra season 11 is the difference we are making for people by giving rent allowance for a year and we had winners in that category as well as education grant for 5 years, that is something that is really impressive in this season. we are also helping our youths get education which help makes more businesses grow.
This product has been a successful product since the launch in 2008 and you do not have to have a large amount to save. for every N5,000 you save, you get one entry into the prize draw and that entry could win you any category of our prizes”.
Corroborating him, Head, Retail Market and Analytics, Access Bank, Chioma Afe, explained that the motivation behind the DiamondXtra initiative was born out of the need to transform the lives of its customers.
“We have 31 million customers across all our various products and for DiamondXtra, we have about 2.7 million customers and we want to ensure every single one of these customers have been impacted positively by this initiative in some way. We have also launched
 Diamondxtra on USSD *901# to make it easier for new customers to open accounts and for the existing customers to increase their deposits to grab more winning opportunities.
The beauty of
 DiamondXtra is that today we see these winners but the draws that happen in the markets, we reward our customers with N10,000 – N50,000 because we realise that not anybody can be a millionaire but every kobo counts and I think after banking with us for such a long time, it would not be bad if we reward our customers. The motivation is that for every time we do this, we find that these monies are used to transform their lives. So we want to keep doing that”. She said.

 DiamondXtra is an interest yielding hybrid account which allows deposit of both cash and third party cheques. Hybrid means a combination of both savings and current account features. The reward scheme has given away over N5 billion in cash and household items to over 15,000 loyal customers over the last 10 years. 

To open a DiamondXtra account simply dial *901# from your mobile phone and follow the prompts and fund the account with a minimum of N5,000.

Heritage, NEXIM banks’ CEOs for FICAN Workshop

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

The Managing Directors of Heritage Bank Limited and Nigerian Export-Import Bank  (NEXIM)  Limited have all confirmed their attendance at the forthcoming Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Annual workshop holding in Lagos.

The event, slated for Saturday September 21 at Golden Tulip Hotel, FESTAC Town Lagos, will have the  Managing Director, NEXIM, Abubakar Bello deliver the keynote speech while Managing Director/CEO Heritage Bank Limited, Ifie Sekibo will be the guest speaker. They will be speaking on the theme: “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector”.

A panel discussion will feature Director Corporate Communications at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okoroafor;  Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory Services, PwC Nigeria, Taiwo Oyedele and Senior Lecturer at Lagos Business School, Adi Bongo.

In a statement, FICAN said unlocking the non-oil sector requires collaborative efforts between the government and private sector  adding that opportunities in the sector have to be harnessed for effective economic growth.

“The non-oil sector is critical to Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth as it is the largest source of employment to the country’s huge young population. Before the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria in 1956, the non-oil sector, especially the agricultural sector, was the mainstay of the economy. The agricultural sector alone provided 85 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the 60s”.

“The oil sector now provides over 95 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The challenge is that frequent fluctuation in oil prices has made the Nigerian economy often susceptible to shocks as the economy suffers whenever prices are down. The challenge is further worsened as the world is beginning to look at life after oil in a bid to tackle climate change. It is a pointer that crude oil would become less relevant and attract fewer earnings in years to come. Successive governments have not done enough to tap into other potential non-oil sector sectors,” the statement said.

It said that government’s long term plan is seen in its launching of the  Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017–2020 that contains critical reforms for diversifying the economy away from oil and set it on a path of sustained and inclusive growth over the medium- to long-term.

Among other things, the workshop will bring together experts from global multilateral financial institutions, public and private sector players, to highlight and examine the various options available in getting the economy fully diversified away from reliance on crude oil.

The conference will be attended by journalists covering money market, capital market and the insurance industry, from the print and electronic media.

UNN Produces Nigeria’s First Electric Car

Image result for UNN Produces Nigeria's First Electric Car

It was excitement galore at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) yesterday as the institution’s Engineering Faculty successfully unveiled its first five-seater electric car.

Christened Lion Ozumba 551, the car, made with 80 percent locally-sourced materials, could undertake a 30-kilometer distance when fully charged.

Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Igwe, said the car was part of the drive to accord innovation and technology the highest attention to reposition the institution for greater heights. He commended the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, who he said laid the foundation for innovation and technology upon which the car dream was realised. Remember that the Institution is of the best Universities in Nigeria

“I feel happy that I inherited a strong institution from Ozumba and I promise to consolidate on his achievements,” he said.

Director-general, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, also commended the university for the stride, urging other institutions in the country to give priority to technology and innovation.

He disclosed that the council had on February 6, 2019, invited UNN, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Usman Danfolio University, Sokoto (UDUSOK) and the Metrological Institute to make proposals on how to produce electric cars in the country, adding that he was elated that it had become reality.

Aliyu, who was represented by Director of Finance and Accounts, David Oyetunji, said improving on the automobile industry in the country would help create more employment and reduce huge amount of money used in importing cars into the country. He also commended UNN for the recent production of the gasification plant that uses organic waste to generate electricity.

Responding, Ozumba said he was overwhelmed when he was invited to witness the unveiling of the electric car, which was initiated by his administration. “When I came on board, I said we need innovation and technology to be at par with China, United States, Sweden and other developed countries of the world.

“That was why I provided the resources and encouragement for innovation and technology because I believe that is one of the ways we can improve our country’s economy. “It was part of my desire to improve UNN’s and Nigeria’s economy and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings,” he said.

Earlier, coordinator of UNN Medtronic team that produced the car, Ozoemena Ani, affirmed that it was produced with 80 per cent local materials, adding that it would go 30 kilometres when fully charged, The Guardian reports.

Davido Disappointed Supreme Court Affirms Oyetola’s Victory

Image result for Davido Disappointed Supreme Court Affirms Oyetola's Victory

Nigeria’s Afro-pop star David Adeleke popularly known as Davido would certainly be disappointed over this morning’s Supreme Court judgment affirming Adegboyega Oyetola as the duly elected governor of Osun State.

Davido had in a reply to a tweet by fholarwealth @fholarwealth on Thursday that he had a dream that the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Senator Ademola Adeleke, stated: ”This dream shall pass in the mighty name of Jesus”.

But both were disappointed as the Supreme Court today declared Governor Oyetola as the true winner of the Osun governorship election. David Adeleke is one of the Richest Nigerian Musicians in Nigeria according to Forbes and other ranking bodies.