Zenith Beta Life”Promo To Reward Customers Debuts

Zenith-Bank-Plc
Zenith-Bank-Plc

In line with efforts at further enhancing  customer satisfaction and improved efficiency, Zenith Bank Plc, Friday, commenced its “Zenith Beta Life”Promo to reward customers of the Bank with gifts every week starting from 31st July 2020 to 30th July 2021.

During this period which spans a full calendar year,  fifty (50) customers will be selected via raffle draw each week and rewarded with gifts worth NGN30,000.

The Promo is open to existing and new Zenith Bank customers with the following raffle qualifying criteria: which includes maintaining a minimum deposit of NGN5,000 for the period; request and collection of a Zenith Bank Card; as well as the download and register on the Zenith Mobile App or register for *966# EazyBanking.

Zenith Bank Plc, recognised as one of the most customer-focused financial institutions in the country was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

A clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto and Co. The Bank was also recognised as Bank of the Year and Best in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards.

More recently, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, number one Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking published by The Banker Magazine, Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020, and Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020.

Manufacturers Express Worries Over Rising Gas Consumption Bill

    • Adam M. UkatuAdam M. Ukatu

    Manufacturers under the auspices of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have called on the relevant authorities to ameliorate the plight of its members that are currently battling the increase in cost of gas as alternative source of power generation due to incessant power outage.

  • The National Chairman of Non Metallic Mining Group of MAN, Mr. Afam Mallinson Ukatu, who expressed concern over the increase in the price of gas regretted that this is coming when the global economy is facing challenge.Ukatu said; “The pandemic is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, it is ravaging the global economy, but I expected the government to give palliative to manufacturers to cushion the resultant effect of the pandemic instead of the commodity price going up.

    “We have been complaining that we are being charged in Dollar for consuming gas locally and nothing has been done to reverse the ugly trend. I have been complaining about this over the years at the parent organisation (MAN) for a very long time that the trend should be reversed and also for the government to look into it.

    “It is very painful that gas, which is gotten from our soil is being sold to us in US Dollars. We are being charged according to the exchange rates. Now that the exchange rate has gone, following the technical devaluation of the Naira, and scarcity of Forex, the increase has come again when we are asking for what palliative the government should give us to ameliorate our situation, and to enable us pay salaries, gas bills and offset some bill that accumulated during the lockdown. We were also looking at the government to give us some relief for one year or more, but what we are getting is increased gas price. This is not done in any part of the world, it is only in Nigeria that this is happening and it is quite unfortunate.’

    He pointed out that irrespective of the cost of production is going high, that cost of moving raw materials from mining site to the factory is extremely expensive due to in-accessible roads occasioned by the rainy season.

    Ukatu said that the current price of gas has pushed the cost of production up by over 30 over percent, stressing that they are losing huge amount on the daily bases.

    “In 2019, we were advised not to pay the actual gas bills that the government has given some incentives to some sectors like the textile sector. So we asked a question, why was textile the only considered sector while there are other sectors that are purely producing made in Nigeria goods which are neglected. However, as we speak, the textile sector has even gotten that discount. I am amazed that the government who is supposed to be encouraging us in other to employ more people is behaving this way. This is however a deterrent to intending investors,” he sressed.

    According to Dr. Micheal Adebayo, Chairman, Oil and Gas Sectoral Group of MAN, the sector is working in collaboration with the Federal Government to revert the payment of gas consumed locally from Dollar to Naira.

    Adebayo noted that the government has set up a committee to hamonise the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as gas pricing for local consumption has been included in the PIB.

    He pointed out that the delay experienced is to amend it once and for all, emphasizing that the bill is at the stage of becoming a legal document which would likely be passed into law and possibly implemented before the end of 2020.

    He said; “The government is working to make sure that gas is available for domestic consumption at all times and must be sold in Naira. Before the end of 2020, the PIB must have been implemented and once this is done, we would enjoy maximum benefit and the nation’s economy would experience boom, because more consumers of gas would emerge and gas would become more relevant to the Nigerian economy that oil.”

Engine Oil Adulteration: SON Secures Conviction Of Businessmen

Two businessmen,, Uche Johnson and Kingsley Meteke, were on Friday convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos for  producing and distributing substandard engine oil.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyibo convicted them after pleaded guilty to the offence.

She sentenced them to two years imprisonment each.

They admitted to have adulterated 128 drums and 9.45 litres of engine oil.

They were charged with four counts of production, possession, dealing in and distribution of substandard engine oil.

SON said the defendants indulged in production of engine oil which did not meet mandatory industrial standards.

The defendants claim that the products were good for public consumption and for optimum engine performance, were  viewed as false by prosecution.

The products were said to have failed to comply with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON) Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).

According to the prosecution, the offence contravened the provisions of sections 1(8) and 1(8)(II) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004.

The defendants had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but later changed their plea to guilty.

The sentence will begin from January 27, 2019 when the defendants were arrested.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Joseph Olofindare said the judgment would serve as deterrent to manufacturers and importers of substandard products.

He said: “I want to tell genuine manufacturers and consumers that they should not be despondent or complacent. SON is there to prosecute any offender.

“It’s a judgment that will send a message to the public that SON is working tirelessly under the leadership of Osita Aboloma.

“If you’re an importer or manufacturer, you either bring products that are certified under Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) and SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) otherwise the fate that befell these individuals will also befall those who are indulging in product adulteration.

“For our consumers, the Director General and management are working tirelessly to ensure that consumers get value for their money and that only standard and certified products are in the market.”

Nigeria Customs Elevates 2,639 Officers

Th

Zainab Ahmed
Zainab Ahmed

e Nigeria Customs Service Board (NCSB) at its 52nd Regular meeting approved the appointment of Five (5) Assistant Comptrollers General of Customs, promotion of 2,634 Officers, dismissal of One (1) ACG and compulsory retirement of another ACG.

Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Chairman, NCS Board, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed who presided over the meeting said decisions taken during the meeting were meant to ginger and move the Service forward in-terms of manpower and operations.

The new Assistant Comptrollers General of Customs are:, ACG, Mohammed Boyi – Training and Coordination ACG, Adewale Adeniyi – Commandant C&SC Gwagwalada, ACG, Jack Ajoku – Strategic Research and Policy, ACG, Olakunle Oyeleke – Doctrine, Development and Administration and ACG, Emmanuel Edorhe – Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘C’.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customss, DC, Joseph Attah on behalf of the Comptrller General of the service, Col.Hameed Ali gave the breeakdown of the 2,634 Officers whose promotion have 1st January 2019 as effective date is as follows:-

 Deputy Comptrollers elevated to Comptrollers of Customs were 37, Assistant Comptrollers of Customs moved to Deputy Comptrollers were 110 , and Chief Superintendent of Customs to Assistant Comptrollers numbered 138

Also elevated were Superintendent of Customs to Chief Superintendent of Customs, 93 in number, as Deputy Superintendent of Customs moved to Superintendent of Customs were 93, just as Assistant Superintendent of Customs I elevated to Deputy Superintendent of Customs totalled 1224
Assistant Superintendent of Customs II thhat were moved up to Assistant Superintendent of Customs I equalled 475, while nspector of Customs promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Customs II stood at 464

205 out of the 2,634 are Support Staff who also enjoyed promotion to various ranks.

However, in line with the reform agenda, the Board took some disciplinary actions against two Senior Officers. ACG Aminu Dahiru was dismissed for act of serious misconduct while ACG Bashir Abubakar was compulsorily retired for act of negligence.

The Hon. Minister described the NCS as “Making Progress” and expressed the hope that the coming of the e-Customs will help improve NCS operations.

AMCON Express Worries N5tr  Debt May Be Irrecoverable Before 2022

Sunset date: AMCON doubts recovery of over N5tr outstanding debts

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON has rexpressed doubts over its ability to recover over N 5trillion outstanding debts still in its books.

Managing Director/CEO of the corporation,  Ahmed Kuru, who spoke at the weekend reiterated the fact that if at the sunset date of year 2022, AMCON is unable to recover its outstanding huge debt of over N 5trillion, the debt burden would automatically be inherited by the Federal Government of Nigeria for which tax payers’ monies will be used to settle on the long run.

Kuru who spoke in Abuja at the first seminar for AMCON Receivers/Receiver Managers in General Enforcement, said the implication of such failure would be that the Nigerian public will be made to pay for the recklessness of only a few individuals who have continued to take advantage of the loopholes in the country’s legal system to evade their moral and legal obligations to repay their debts.

Altjough the corporation has not revealed how much has been recoverrd so far,™Kuru, who was represented at the event by AMCON’s Group Head, Resolution Strategy Aliyu Kalgo, charged all AMCON partners especially the receivership business not to allow a few individuals to escape with the commonwealth of all Nigerians, cautioning however that whatever step AMCON Receivers intend to take in the process must however be within the confines of the law.

Kuru who underscored the key role of AMCON Receivers in the debt recovery drive of the government said:, “We reiterate, our Receivers are very key to the success of AMCON. In order to streamline the functions of our Receivers and make them more effective and accountable, we have developed a new Receivership Framework, which will henceforth govern our relationship in terms of management of the assets and accountability.

“We have had course to disengage some of our Receiver Managers due to non-performance. We did that because assets are being abandoned without cause or plan to come out of the debt. And at times Receiver Managers are confused about their responsibilities. Therefore, I urge the participants to partake actively in this interactive session and share some of their experiences with one another so that we can all succeed in our collective efforts to recover the over N5trillion from these recalcitrant debtor, which is a national assignment”.

Also speaking on the issue, Senior Partner, Lexavier Partners Dr. Francis Agbu SAN, and the CEO, Alheri Legal and Allied Services Consulting and a former Board Secretary/Director Legal at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation NDIC,  Alheri Nyako,  took their turn to amplify the position of the AMCON CEO as well as the many possibilities AMCON could leverage to hasten recovery given the enormous powers of receivership as well as winding up and bankruptcy proceedings in its Act, which they described as undisputable and potent tools for debt recovery.

Agbu SAN, who was also represented by Mohammad Umar, described receivership as the most effective debt recovery tool within the current insolvency/debt recovery regime and challenged AMCON to leverage it to the maximum to help Nigeria especially now that the federal government needs a lot of money to bridge Nigeria’s financial challenged that have been heightened by the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Receivership, as a debt recovery strategy, is arguably the most effective debt recovery tool within our current insolvency/debt recovery regime. This is primarily because of the control, which it gives to the debenture holder/creditor over the assets, or the assets and business of the debtor company. By virtue of section 393(4) of CAMA, upon appointment of a Receiver and Manager, the powers/control of the directors over the debtor company becomes immediately suspended. Even where the Receiver is not empowered to act as Manager, he retains executive control over such portion of the company’s assets, which have been charged.”

On how AMCON can apply the powers of receivership, Agbu added: “With respect to AMCON Receivership, the AMCON Act has further extended the powers/rights of AMCON-appointed Receivers beyond the scope of Companies and Allied Matter Act CAMA and the general principles on receivership. Firstly, pursuant to section 48(3) of the AMCON Act, the Receiver’s powers to assume control over the assets of the company is not limited to the assets, which have been charged under the Eligible Bank Asset EBA, but also included unpledged/uncharged assets.

“This extraordinary provision bestows a far-reaching advantage on AMCON in the realisation of outstanding EBAs by enabling AMCON to sustain maximum pressure on the debtor company (including its officers and shareholders) and increasing the pool of assets from which AMCON may realise the indebted sum.”

On his part, the CEO of Alheri Legal and Allied Services Consulting who insisted that AMCON must activate winding up and bankruptcy proceedings in its debt recovery drive argued that Section 52 of the AMCON Act has already provided for winding up of a debtor’s company upon a demand notice for a liquidated sum owed and failure to pay in full within 30 days, thus, making the inability to pay a debt a ground for winding up under the AMCON Act, which is similar to Section 408 (d) of the CAMA

 

NIMASA Wants Harmonised Safety Standards For Inland Water Transport Operations

Bashir Jamoh
Bashir Jamoh

The Nigerian Maritime and Safety  Agency NIMASA has proposed the development of cohesive safety enforcement guidelines and regulations for implementation across the littoral states.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, made the proposal, in Lagos when he played host to the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority LASWA, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel.

He said the mrasure had become expedient to stem he increasing cases of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways, hence the need to harmonise the standards and procedures for safety on the nation’s territorial waters, which would go a long way in minimising unsafe practices by operators of non-conventional vessels, which are not subject to international regulations and standards, and therefore rely primarily on national regulations, which have not been very effective.

The DG warned that the agency would get tough with untrained and uncertified boat skippers, who often ignore safety procedures and endanger the lives of passengers.

“We have a number of boat skippers that are not trained, and not knowledgeable enough and they do not have certification. They only know how to maneuver the boat and risk people’s lives.

“We will now start to check that. The issue is important, that is why I would start to take it more seriously because charity begins at home. If we have enforcement officers and they are laid back, they will continue to watch what is happening without doing anything.

“I am glad to see the synergy and collaboration that is developing with the Lagos State Waterways Authority because we all have as our common mandate the job of ensuring safety on our waters”, he added.

It was however gathered that the Federal Ministry of Transport is at the verge of completing the process that would lead to the establishment of unified enforcement guidelines for safety in the country’s waters. It is therefore expected that the current synergy between NIMASA and the Lagos State Government would help to fast track the process with a view to reducing boat accidents on the nation’s inland waterways.

The DG, who advocated greater supervision of officers engaged in the enforcement of safety standards said:

“Our responsibility is to ensure that we monitor and supervise the members of staff that are given the responsibility of enforcing the issue of safety at sea.

“Safety procedures, such as availability of adequate lifejackets, good condition of the boat, and the time of sailing, must be verified by enforcement officers before a boat sets sail”.

In his own remarks, the LASWA General Manager promised to intensify information sharing between his agency and NIMASA as part of efforts to improve collaboration for maritime safety.

“We have the database of small craft, which I believe that we would be ready to share with NIMASA,” Emmanuel said.

He also elaborated on the importance of uniform enforcement procedure, saying, “I am really excited that this is happening because overtime what we generally tend to see on the waterways is an overlap of so many functions. I am sure it is not news to anyone here the issues we have had over the years between LASWA and  the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA and how that has affected the things that have happened on the waterways.

How FOU Zone A Added N17b To FG

The Acting Customs Area Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A,, of the Nigeria Customs Service, Usman Yahaya,  has revealed that N15.6 billion was generated from contraband seized from smugglers while N1.4 billion were raised from wrong classification, transfer of value and false declaration of cargoes.

He added that contraband intercepted by the unit were from smugglers terrorising the South Western states of the country and it include used vehicles, pharmaceuticals, textiles, foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, second hand clothing, among others.

He noted that the Debit Notes were raised on importers who under-declared their cargoes for lesser Customs duty.

In a recent statement, Yahaya said “the total Duty Paid Value of N15.6 billion were premised on seized contraband while the N1.3 billion were revenue from the unit interventions arising from wrong classifications, transfer of value and false declarations by importers.

“So, a total of N17 billion was recovered for the Federal Government in the period under review,” Yahaya said.

He noted that the unit also intercepted a truck load of banned textile materials worth N565 million imported from Benin Republic.

He said that 18,760 bags of foreign parboiled rice were smuggled into the country from Benin Republic and 64 units of exotic vehicles were intercepted and detained for duty evasion and under payment.

“From Jan. 7, 64 exotic vehicles including two bullet proofs cars, 18,760 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice valued at N469million; 1,338kg of Indian hemp worth N201million and 147 sacks (9,504kg) of Pangolin scales worth N10.4billion.

“Others are 3,059 cartons of tomato paste, 10,653 cartons of frozen poultry products, 5,423 kegs of 25 litres each of vegetable oil, 56,472 bundles of Printed Textiles valued at N565million, 66 packs of Tramadol, 872 bales of Second hand clothing worth N61million and 11,077 cartons of frozen products worth N177 million.

“Also intercepted are 5,423 kegs of vegetable oil valued at N87 million, 7,549 jerry cans of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) valued at N27 million, five containers of pharmaceutical valued at N2.9 billion, 64 units of motorcycles used for smuggling valued at N565million, among others,” Yahaya said.

While disclosing that the seizure was borne out of intelligence and hard work of eagle-eye officers of the unit, he warned smugglers to embrace legitimate business as the unit was ready to send them out of illegitimate business.

“My message to smugglers is that they should stop smuggling and embrace legitimate business because the unit is ready to run them out of business and we are always a step ahead of them through intelligence gathering and steadfastness.

“We will not get tired until the service suppressed smuggling finally from the South-West,” Yahaya insisted.

Heritage Bank Upgrades ‘Padie’ Mobile App To Easy Access To Services

Heritage Bank Plc
Heritage Bank Plc

Heritage Bank plc,  one of Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has upgraded its HB ‘Padie’ mobile application to HB ‘Padie’ 2.0, which comes with new improved features for convenient, quick, secure and affordable way for seamless 24/7 banking transaction.    

The HB ‘Padie’ 2.0 app has been redesigned and relaunched with new improved multi-functional feature and game-changing innovation that leverages customers to ease accessibility to funds and improve the standard of living. This is poised to enable customers’ card management in connecting all bank accounts with their Debit Card details or account holder information.

The banking app which is squarely targeted at customers across board and embedded with improved security and self-service features allow the customers to open accounts from comfort of their zones.

HB ‘Padie’ 2.0 combines digital transactions and community lifestyle payments that empower customers with the power to build their world and perform digital transactions how they want.

The platform possesses other numerous benefits, as one of these is an enabler for foreign exchange transfer with speed and convenience you need all in one.

The platform enables customers and small business account holders key into electronic payment system easily, efficient collections, bills payment, mobile virtual top-up, funds transfer, balance enquiry and many more.

Other added features include frequent transaction; dashboard flexibility and personalization, which involve profile management. The HB ‘Padie’ 2.0 can be customized by the user by adding any profile picture of choice, whilst the customers can retain and delete beneficiaries without having to repeatedly enter the recipients’ account details.

The HB ‘Padie’ 2.0 platform also allows customers to monitor their spending patterns, as it shows the inflow and outflow of funds on their account.

To further improve banking experience and make access of funds easier, Heritage Bank launched its USSD code *745#.

According to the bank, it does not require a smartphone or data and would induce an improved banking experience.

The bank said to register for the service, customers should dial, *745# account number* last 6 digits on the customer’s debit card# and follow the voice prompt.”
To ensure seamless banking transactions, the bank explained that customers are constantly communicated to, to also adopt its available 24/7 alternate electronic channel.

“We have encouraged our customers to adopt the self-service platforms like *745*0# for balance enquiry, Funds Transfer (Within Heritage Bank): *745*1*Amount*Account Number#, self-airtime recharge: *745*Amount#, third party airtime recharge: *745*Amount*Mobile Number# and change pin: *745*00#.”

 

Proposed BOFIA Amendment: Effective Regulation Of Banks Will Depend On Clarity In NDIC, CBN, Roles – MD NDIC

  • NDIC MD AT BOFIA HEARING
    NDIC MD AT BOFIA HEARING

    In a bid to establish effective legal instruments to secure the safety and stability of the nation’s financial system, there is a need to closely examine enacting laws with a view to harmonising the positions of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the NDIC Act 2006 and The Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2004. The NDIC Managing Director/CE, Umaru Ibrahim said this as part of the Corporation’s presentation during the Public Hearing for the Amendment of the BOFIA Act 2004 towards the Repeal and Re-enactment of the Bill to BOFIA 2020 at the Public Hearing organised by Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions at the National Assembly in Abuja.

The NDIC MD/CE explained that variances in the Bills that may be perceived as overlapping mandates between the NDIC and the CBN should be clarified in order to avoid any ambiguity in the laws governing their operations and should be reflected in the BOFIA 2020. This, he said was specifically critical in the area of the resolution of failing banks where the NDIC should be recognised as the primary actor in the resolution process while the CBN intervenes in the event of systemic crisis. He also expressed the need for the Corporation to be involved in the process of licensing banks in collaboration with the CBN in order to ensure the necessary fit and proper checks and to establish clearer assessment of the status of financial institutions before licensing. He also noted that the bill seems to suggest the option of the appointment of other entities in the liquidation of failed banks adding that the Bill should be amended to reflect the NDIC as the sole liquidator of failed banks based on the Corporation’s core mandate of Bank Liquidation. He said, the clear delineation of roles between the NDIC and CBN would strengthen the legal framework and contribute towards effective and efficient collaboration in the supervision and regulation of the Banking Sector.

The highlights of the NDIC presentation focused on the following areas;

Express prohibition of insider loans/criminalising insider loans by making it an offence punishable with imprisonment and fine for directors of licensed banks to obtain credit facilities from their own banks, whether such credit facilities are secured or not.

The Corporation noted that there is no need for approval of the Central Bank to be sought in the implementation of supervision, control and management and distress resolution of banks as reflected in the Bill as this constitutes the core mandates of the Corporation. The Corporation should therefore carryout these functions in consultation with the CBN not with the consent of CBN as both institutions are independent and compliment the functions.

Directors of banks should be held are personally liable without any limitation for the causes of the failure of their banks where they have been found to be negligent in managing the bank.

The imposition of penalties and persecution of various offences to serve as a deterrent to officers and directors of banks and will ensure that the banking industry ensures compliance with available laws and regulation in order to avoid paying stiff penalties.

COVID-19: OPSN Close Ranks To Reboot The Economy

Hajiya-saratu-aliyu
Hajiya-saratu-aliyu

The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) made up of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), have agreed to work closely with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to reboot the economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This resolve came to the  fore  at a virtual meeting with the Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo  on Thursday, 9th July, 2020.

The meeting was attended by the President of NACCIMA, who is also the current president of the OPSN; Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu; the President of MAN, Engr. Ahmed Mansur; President of NECA, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi; and the President of NASME, Sir Orimadegun Agboade.

Otunba Adebayo affirmed that the private sector has an important role to play in the bid to restart the economy and assured the OPSN of his readiness, and that of his ministry, to work closely with the private sector in this regard. He announced that a series of stimulus packages will be made available soon to assist operators in the private sector. These include a N50billion Naira survival funds for MSME; and a N15billion Naira Guaranteed Uptake Scheme to save 500,000 jobs. He revealed that under some of these interventions, 40% of the funds will be reserved for women owned businesses.

The virtual meeting also discussed and agreed that the implementation of project and programmes under the Economy Sustainability Plan which was recently approved by National Executive Council will be in close cooperation with members of the OPSN.

In her earlier statement, the OPSN President Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu thanked the Minister for the opportunity given to the private sector to present its positions and requests. She called for closer ties between the OPSN and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, especially as the country struggles to save and reboot the economy. She said that present situation truly presents an opportunity to diversify the economy and make it more self-reliant, and steps must be taken towards that goal. Other issues discussed at the meeting were Maritime Port Reforms; Appropriate Gas pricing; Special Economic Zones and Industrial Clusters, as well as stable and regular power supply.

The meeting agreed on a quarterly consultative meeting of the OPSN with the Minister as part of strategies to work closely with the private sector for the implementation of appropriate policies across all sectors of the economy to ensure desired impact.