First Bank of Nigeria Limited said it had been on a journey of strength and dynamism committed to providing the best financial solutions to promote convenience and support the lifestyles of its customers.
To this end, the bank said through the years, it had demonstrated an understanding of its customers’ modern lives, wants, and needs as part of its drive to become the trusted partner providing bespoke and accessible banking offerings to its teeming customers.
It explained in a statement: “One of many of such banking offerings by FirstBank is the money transfer services available nationwide, which provide for customers an alternative transaction channel that is safe, convenient and a flexible means of funds transfer all year round. These services are also available at weekends as well as on public holidays from some dedicated branches.
“With Western Union, customers can conveniently receive money from abroad and send money from Nigeria to over 200 countries and territories Worldwide and recipients can receive funds straight to their accounts. With the outbound Western Union Service, Customers can now send funds directly to bank accounts outside Nigeria with the new Account Payment Network (APN) recently added to the Western Union Service.
“Another money transfer service provided by FirstBank for its customers is MoneyGram. With this service, users can now receive money from loved ones abroad or send to them from Nigeria. FirstBank is the leading agent bank for MoneyGram in Nigeria and has been recognised for its increased transaction volume among other agent locations.
“The bank also offers the RIA money transfer service with which customers can receive money from loved ones abroad directly into their accounts in Naira. RIA money transfer service also offers the option of cash pick up at over 750 FirstBank branches nationwide. With TransFast, users can initiate money transfer online which can be received directly into FirstBank accounts here in Nigeria. Now isn’t this just convenient?”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has advised Nigerians not to engage in any panic buying of petroleum products.
NNPC’s spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, stated this in a statement late yesterday to dismiss the report of a likely increase in the price of the products.
He said the corporation had a 1.3billion litres stock of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, which is sufficient to serve the nation for more than 38 days.
“This plea comes on the heels of reports that some motorists have begun panic buying of petrol, following rumours that the government is about to increase the pump price of the white product from N145 per litre,” the statement read.
“NNPC wishes to assure Nigerians that there is no iota of truth in the rumour that government is scheduled to adjust pump price of petrol.
“Indeed, with the resumption of production by the Corporation’s three refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri, complemented by imports, there is enough stock of PMS, automotive gas oil (AGO), diesel and kerosene.”
Ughamadu said Anibor Kragha, NNPC’s chief operating officer of the refineries, explained the state of refineries to lawmakers when he appeared before the senate on Wednesday.
“Mr. Anibor Kragha briefed the senate committee on petroleum downstream in a presentation on the current status of the refineries at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja,” he said.
“In the presentation, Kragha told the legislators that the nation’s three refineries produced additional volumes of 4.6 million litres of kerosene and 7.7 million litres of diesel, in addition to millions of litres of petrol being refined daily at the nation’s refineries.”
MMM Nigeria, the most popular ponzi scheme in the nation, says it has removed all requests for payment on the system, but it has by no means cancelled them.
In a statement on Tuesday, the scheme said that “although some people called it ‘cancelled’, the truth of the matter is that it was only removed not canceled””.
“Please note that the GH orders were not cancelled because if cancelled, you will see it at the right hand side as deleted. It was removed because of the following reasons:
“There is an ongoing upgrade because programmers are always working on the MMM system every day so the promised New Model can be unveiled as soon as possible.
“More so, many participants have formed the habit of cancelling their GH orders and creating new GH orders hoping they will be matched earlier.
“There is no need for that anyway but to forestall that, the created GH orders were removed and that is why you can’t create new GH orders because the old GH orders have not been cancelled but removed and withdrawal is still pending.”
The scheme said there was no need for participants to panic, maintaining that it would pay participants who had requested for their monies.
“There is no cause for any alarm over the removed GH orders, if you check your Mavro, you will notice the value of the removed GH order has been restored and had also increased though it is still showing pending withdrawal,” it added.
“There have been reports of ‘removed GH orders’ in some POs. The removed GH orders are mostly GH orders created on Friday/Saturday.
“There is no cause for any alarm. The value of the removed GH order has been restored and increased though showing pending withdrawal.”
It asked participants to “please await further instructions either to create a new GH order or if it will be automatically restored and matched”.
“We crave your indulgence, patience & understanding at this period. We are doing our best to have these issues/upgrades resolved ASAP,” it said.
“Let’s be patient while the Administrators of MMM do their best to restore the confidence we have in the system.”
Malaysia’s palm oil output may rise by 12 per cent this year to 19.4 million tonnes from 17.4 million tonnes in 2016, an industry group forecast media report on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Nigeria, biggest economy in Africa, which used to be largest exporter of palm oil, is making efforts to bridge 1.7million metric tonnes deficit gap annually.
“Crude Palm Oil production we anticipate will improve, an increase of about 12 per cent, I think it’s a good increment, so as not to affect the price,” Ahmad Kushairi, the Director-General for Malaysian-Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said at a conference in Kuala Lumpur.
He added that palm oil exports for the year would rise 11.2 per cent to 17.85 million tonnes from 16.05 million tonnes in 2016.
Crude palm oil prices will be firm in 2017, he said.
Though the inadequate supply of the commodity is taking its toll on the economy, new initiatives are being taken to close the gap.
Already, key players have begun to unveil their backward integration plans while some are undergoing expansion phases to bridge the demand-supply gap for the commodity in the country.
For instance, PZ Wilmar Limited has staked about $80 million on its crude palm oil refinery in Nigeria.
According to the company, the plan, which is being implemented, would save the country some foreign exchange by eliminating yearly imports of $300 million spent on Palm oil importation, while bringing back the nation’s glory as a primary exporter of oil palm.
Palm oil fuels a $50 billion global industry of food and food products and is projected to reach $88 billion by the year 2022.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians against the use of virtual currencies, including bitcoin, ripples, litecoin.
In a statement on Tuesday, CBN said virtual currencies are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions.
“The attention of bank and other financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions actions pending substantive regulation or decision by the CBN,” the statement read.
“Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies. Ensure that existing customers that are virtual currency exchangers have effective capital AML/CFT controls that enable them to comply with customer identification, verification and transfer, monitoring requirements.
“Where banks or other financial institutions are not satisfied with the controls put in place by the virtual currency exchanger/customers, the relationship should be discontinued immediately.
“Any suspicious transactions by these customers should immediately be reported to the Nigerian Finance Intellignece Unit (NFIU).”
The apex bank said anyone trading in bitcoin is doing so at his or her own risk.
“The CBN reiterates that VCs such as bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecion, onecoin, etc., and similar products are not legal tenders in Nigeria.
“Thus, any bank or institution that transacts in such businesses does so at its own risk.”
Bitcoin was the best performing currency of the year 2016. It has appreciated from four cents in 2010 to over $1,000 in 2017.
A report by Oxfam, an anti-poverty organisation, has revealed that eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.
The report, titled ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, was released on Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting opening in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Oxfam used the Forbes billionaires list published in March 2016 to make it’s claim, saying the new data on wealth distribution from countries such as India and China had prompted it to revise its own calculation, having said a year ago that the wealth of half the world’s population was in the hands of 62 people.
According to the Forbes billionaires list, the world’s richest men are Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft at $75 billion; Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of Inditex a fashion house; financier Warren Buffett; Mexican business magnate, Carlos Slim Helu; Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos; Mark Zuckerberg; Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Micheal Bloomberg, former mayor of New York.
“It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International.
“Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.
“Across the world, people are being left behind. Their wages are stagnating yet corporate bosses take home million dollar bonuses; their health and education services are cut while corporations and the super-rich dodge their taxes; their voices are ignored as governments sing to the tune of big business and a wealthy elite.”
The measures that could reduce the inequality, as listed by the organisation, are: higher taxes on both wealth and income to ensure a more level playing field, business leaders who commit to paying their fair share of taxes and a living wage to employees, and greater international cooperation by governments to ensure that workers are paid decently and the rich don’t dodge their taxes.
MMM Nigeria returned on Friday morning, 24 hours ahead of its scheduled date, but 72 hours later, its freeze on accounts is still intact, TheCable can report.
After its return on Friday, some MMM participants who spoke with TheCable said that although they were able to request for their money, had not been paid as the system still seems to be on a freeze.
Kolade Ogunwande, who said he put in N100,000 in November 2016, and referred two other people to the scheme, said his money had appreciated to N214,000 as of Friday, so he immediately request for it.
“They have not paid me anything, but they said we should be wait patiently to be matched with participants willing to invest in MMM. I have no choice than to be optimistic,” he told TheCable.
Lara Makanjuola, who also invested N100,000 in the scheme, said she was expecting N186,000, but she had not been able to request for her money.
She said anytime she requested to get help, the website said “mavros are not available for withdrawal”.
“I was supposed to collect my money two days to when accounts got frozen, but the person I was matched with didn’t pay.”
An Abuja-based couple who requested not be named invested over N2 million in the scheme; they have also not been able to withdraw their money.
As of Monday, when any participant seeks to withdraw, the website puts up a message that links them to its previous freeze message, below:
“As usual, in the New Year season the System is experiencing heavy workload. Moreover, it has to deal with the constant frenzy provoked by the authorities in the mass media.
“The things are still going well; the participants feel calm; everyone gets paid – as you can see, there haven’t been any payment delays or other problems yet – but!.. it is better to avoid taking risk.: (Moreover, there are almost three weeks left to the New Year).
“Hence, on the basis of the above mentioned, from now on all confirmed Mavro will be frozen for a month. The reason for this measure is evident. We need to prevent any problems during the New Year season, and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled.”
Mavrodians, as MMM participants are called, are optimistic that their pay will come through, considering, the scheme’s last message of “hope for the poor”.
In the message, MMM said it “will only pay a certain amount per day”.
“Please, be prepared to wait for a couple of days. We are certain things will then calm down, and the System operation will return to normal,” it said.
Heritage Bank Plc has disclosed plans to revolutionise the agricultural value-chain field, particularly the rice farming that will enhance agribusiness and aid economic development through its direct participation in the much lauded Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Group Head, Agriculture Finance, Heritage Bank, Olugbenga Awe, in a speech delivered at the third edition of Rice Investment Summit in Abuja in collaboration with New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), said the bank’s drive to support rice production was borne out of the conviction that agribusiness is profitable and act of patriotism to achieve food security and sufficiency in the country.
He, however, noted that the challenges facing rice production were subset of myriads of constraints facing agriculture in general, as most farmlands are located in the rural areas with poor road network and electricity supply, majority are financially excluded with no access to banking services.
He hinted that Heritage Bank is effectively tackling the bottlenecks, since it has long identified the opportunities in agribusiness before the collapse of crude oil prices through its various programmes, which will contribute to the projection for year 2020 in the production of 7.7million metric tonnes of milled rice or 10.8million metric tonnes of paddy rice at milling recovery ratio of 62per cent.
A total turnover of 1.117 billion shares worth N9.041 billion in 16,482 deals were traded this week by investors on the floor of the Exchange in contrast to a total of 4.319 billion shares valued at N7.376 billion that exchanged hands last week in 9,330 deals.
The Financial Services Industry (measured by volume) led the activity chart with 903.696 million shares valued at N3.336 billion traded in 9,240 deals; thus contributing 80.88% and 36.90% to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The Conglomerates Industry followed with 67.147 million shares worth N109.014 million in 609 deals.
The third place was occupied by Consumer Goods Industry with a turnover of 59.710 million shares worth N4.002 billion in 2,686 deals.
Trading in the Top Three Equities namely – Fidelity Bank Plc, Omoluabi Savings and Loans Plc and Diamond Bank Plc (measured by volume) accounted for 299.270 million shares worth N277.933 million in 1,029 deals, contributing 26.79% and 3.07% to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.
Some investors in the Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, a Ponzi scheme known simply as MMM have expressed frustrations over their inability to access their funds in the scheme.
MMM Nigeria, which had been on a one month break announced Friday that it was “now open” even though it had initially promised to reopen today, Saturday, January 14.
In the message, the scheme’s founder, Sergey Mavrodi, said because of the likely deluge of requests from participants, payments would be gradual and have limits.
He also said it would prioritise payments to participants with small amounts, which were not specified, and that big investors would have to wait longer.
“Please, be prepared to wait for a couple of days. We are certain things will then calm down, and the system operation will return to normal.
“We’re the ones setting limits, so it’s completely under our control, and we are not expecting any emergencies in principle. Have no fear and go on about your business as usual.
“As the system is socially oriented, we will make paybacks to the poor and the economically disadvantaged in the first place; it means to the members with small PH (Provide Help) amounts. The richer can wait. Moreover, we’ve warned you repeatedly to only provide help with amounts that are not critical for you.”
The message from the founder of the scheme has caused frustrations for the participants as they might have to wait much longer to recover their much needed money from the scheme.
Punch reports that some of the participants claimed their funds that were tied down in MMM were meant for various uses including purchase of goods, payment of tuition, debts, rent and others.
The fears and frustrations are further heightened by MMM’s declaration that it would introduce bitcoins as the new mode of payment ahead of its comeback, which some participants of the scheme have described as confusing.
For example, Frank Bunna who deals in computer accessories at Olugbede market in Idimu, Lagos, said he was stranded as he had invested all the money for his goods in MMM.
The Igbo trader, who was looking dejected when our correspondent visited the market, said his future was dashed as he expressed disappointment that he would not be able to get his money back today (Saturday).
He said, “This is my life! How will I live? I invested N2m! Look at my shop, it is totally empty. I invested the whole money for my business on this MMM; I even borrowed N300, 000 that I added to it. I spent six days in the hospital as soon as I heard the account was frozen. I am hypertensive so my blood pressure shot up when I heard the news. To hear that I would not be paid immediately means that I am dead.”
Another Lagos resident simply identified as Korede, who invested over N500, 000 in the scheme, said, “There is going to be crisis in my home. I borrowed my wife’s N300, 000 to invest in the scheme. I didn’t tell her, but I guess she’s suspicious now.
“I promised to return the money December ending, but couldn’t. That was when MMM froze our accounts. It appears that there is going to be some delay before I can get the money. I just hope my wife will forgive me in case this thing fails. To be sincere, I am afraid.”
An undergraduate of the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, who identified himself as Chiboy because he did not want his parents to know he invested his tuition and money meant for his dissertation in MMM, said he had been left stranded since December 2016, when MMM was suspended and desperately needed his money back.
“I had thought that I would be able to get my money back immediately MMM reopened but from what I heard, it would not be possible. My mother will kill me. I don’t even know what to do,” he said.
A teacher in a private secondary school in Egbeda, Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the bursar of the school had invested N1.5m belonging to the institution in the scheme before the scheme was suspended last month.
According to the teacher, when the bursar could not provide the money, he was sacked by the school management and asked to sign an undertaking to return the money when MMM reopened on Saturday, January 14.
“The bursar has since been arrested and in his undertaking, he had said he would get the money back immediately MMM resumed operations. But with this development, it will take some time before he can get paid, and that is if he gets paid at all,” the teacher said.
A travel agent in Lagos, who identified himself as Mr. Oduntan, lamented that he has been going through difficulty after investing N900, 000 meant for paying his rent in MMM with the hope that he would get about N1.2m in return.
Oduntan said he was desperate to recover his funds as his landlord had been on his neck since then.
Also, a banker in a new generation bank in Ikeja, Lagos, told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that three of her colleagues were sacked for introducing some customers to MMM.
According to the banker, his colleagues were sacked after the aggrieved customers officially complained to the bank manager that they were stranded because they had invested in MMM, which was introduced to them by some employees of the bank.
The source said, “The customers said they needed their money back. They blamed some of my colleagues for introducing them to MMM and the bank had to sack them.
“One of the customers complained that the money he had put in MMM was meant to roof his house and that his planned relocation to the house has had to be delayed because of that. Another one said the money he had invested in MMM was meant to pay his debts while another said the money was meant for his wife’s business.”
Another banker working in a commercial bank in Akute, Ogun State, also said one of her colleagues was sacked for investing N2m he had loaned from the bank in MMM and was unable to pay back the loan.
A barbing salon operator in Ilorin, Kwara State, Adejare Lawal, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Thursday, said he had invested money belonging to some of his colleagues, which was from their contributory scheme, in the investment.
According to him, he invested around N350, 000 in November, hoping to get a profit of at least N80, 000 by the second week of December before accounts were frozen.
“This is the biggest risk I have taken in my life and at the moment all I can think about is how to get the money back. I was the one coordinating the barbers’ association’s contribution in my area and I invested it in MMM.”
In Oyo State, an estate agent, Mr. Funso Ogungbade, said he had invested the sum of N3.5m, part of which was from the rents he had collected from tenants on behalf of some landlords, in MMM. “My target was that by Saturday, everything would be sorted out but as it is now, I cannot get the money back soon. MMM is saying that it will start by paying the people with small funds and that it will also put a peg on how much we can get,” he said.
A student at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, simply identified as Wole, said he had invested N50, 000 into the scheme a week before it froze all accounts.
Another MMM investor, who simply identified himself as Olayinka, said, “I’m desperate to recover my money. All my investment has gone into it,” he added.
SOlayinka, who lost his job over a year ago, said he had invested N700,000 that was paid to him as entitlement in MMM, given how profitable the scheme was before it collapsed.
He said, “I have been counting down since the day MMM announced the closure. Everything I had went into it so I am seriously stranded.”
Another MMM investor, Miss Janet (surname withheld), said, “I lied to my brother to lend me money to pursue my Master’s programme. I’ve not been working for some time, and he was the one who advised me to go for a postgraduate degree. So, when I asked for money, he gave me N150, 000.
“With the way it was booming, I invested my N600, 000 in it, including the money I had saved from my previous workplace. So, I’m in a fix as I’m talking to you.”