Access, Diamond Get Final Approval To Merge

Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc have gotten final merger approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The two financial institutions, in separate corporate disclosures issued on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the weekend, confirmed that the approvals have been secured.

“Access Bank Plc is pleased to announce that the bank has received the final approval of both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the proposed scheme of merger between the bank and Diamond Bank Plc,” a statement by Access Bank disclosed.

“The scheme is subject to judicial sanction by the Federal High Court. We will provide further update to the market upon receipt of court sanction of the scheme.”

ThisDay

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We Are Supporting Women To Unleash Their Potential – Ecobank MD

The Managing Director Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan said the “Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs Initiative,” is a platform designed to recognise women as special and unique customers who require tailor-made service offerings.

The Ecobank Managing Director who was speaking in Lagos reiterated that the concept is designed to provide women with the necessary support to help them excel in their endeavours, promote and grow their businesses and generally position them for increased participation, validation and contribution within the society.

According to Mr. Akinwuntan said: “Increasingly, we are seeing the change in the attitudes of women, and their economic viability as individuals and leaders in their fields. Their banking and financial services as a whole therefore present vast opportunities, if properly understood and managed.”

Further Mr. Akinwuntan,said the launch is a charge to the society to challenge the status quo and strive for a balance by empowering females in their immediate environments and subsequently, on a macro level. “Our female customers will become our flagship ambassadors and we have created this platform for them in line with the sustainability requirements of the Central Bank of Nigeria. These women will be provided with free health checks, training and empowerment sessions and other support  tools from Ecobank. The Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs Initiative aims at empowering women by helping them build capacity to grow their businesses.”

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Ecobank Nigeria Unveils a Special Initiative for Women

As part of activities marking the 2019 International Women’s Day, Ecobank Nigeria has unveiled a special initiative for female entrepreneurs. 

The initiative tagged Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs Initiative is a platform designed to recognise women as special and unique customers who require tailor-made service offerings. The concept is designed to provide women with the necessary support to help them excel in their endeavours, promote and grow their businesses and generally position them for increased participation, validation and contribution within the society.

Managing Director Ecobank Nigeria,, Patrick Akinwuntan while unveiling the initiative at the bank’s head office in Lagos,  said  “increasingly, we are seeing the change in the attitudes of women, and their economic viability as individuals and leaders in their fields. Their banking and financial services as a whole therefore present vast opportunities, if properly understood and managed”.

According to Akinwuntan, the launch is a charge to the society in line with the theme of the International Women’s Day 2019, to challenge the status quo and strive for a balance by empowering females in their immediate environments and subsequently, on a macro level.

In his words “Our female customers will become our flagship ambassadors and we have created this platform for them in line with the sustainability requirements of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). These women will be provided with free health checks, training and empowerment sessions and other support  tools from Ecobank. The Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs Initiative aims at empowering women by helping them build capacity to grow their businesses”

Some of the benefits include access to credit facilities with little or no collateral, network opportunities across Africa, financial advisory services, wealth management resources and loyalty schemes.

Also speaking, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Mrs. Carol Oyedeji stated that Ecobank as a Group,  is proud to join the rest of the world to commemorate the IWD 2019, with the special theme #BalanceforBetter. For her, this year’s theme leaves no one in doubt as to the dire need to raise more awareness that gender balance is not a women’s issue but a human issue that must be tackled for us to have a better society and that it should not be mistaken for a battle between the sexes.

She called on all in the corporate world to join hands to ensure that “our women attain their full potential in all areas of society, including the workplace, which is vital for our communities and economies to thrive. A balanced world is a better world. We must help forge a more gender-balanced world by celebrating and recognising women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality”.

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NEITI: Nigeria Loses $16bn To Production Sharing Contracts

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said that Nigeria lost at least $16 billion  in 10 years due to non-review of the 1993 Production Sharing Contracts, (PSC), with oil companies.

This was one of the highlights of  the latest report by NEITI released in Abuja Sunday. It was tagged “The Steep Cost of Inaction”.

It said that the losses were recorded between 2008 and 2017.

The study  done in conjunction with Open Oil, a Berlin-based extractive sector transparency group, found  that the losses could be up to $28 billion  if, after the review, the Federation were allowed to share profit from two additional licences.

NEITI, therefore, called for an urgent review of the PSCs to stem the huge revenue losses to the Federation.

It added that the review was particularly important for Nigeria  because oil production from PSCs had surpassed production from Joint Ventures (JV) with PSCs now contributing the largest share to federation revenue.

“Between 1998 and 2005, total production by PSC companies was below 100 million barrels per year while JV companies produced over 650 million barrels per year.

” By 2017, total production by PSC companies was 305.800 million barrels, which was 44.32 per cent of total production.

” Total production by JV companies was 212.850 million barrels, representing 30.84 per cent of total production.” It said.

NEITI stated that the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts provided for a review of the terms on two conditions.

“The first review was to be triggered, if oil prices exceeded 20 dollars per barrel.

“Section 16 (1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts specifies that: The provisions of the Act shall be subject to review to ensure that if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds 20 dollars per barrel, real terms, the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue shall be adjusted under the Production Sharing Contracts to such extent that the Production Sharing Contracts shall be economically beneficial to the Government of the Federation.”

NEITI observed that this review should have been activated in 2004 when oil prices exceeded the 20 dollars per barrel mark.

It added that although the review was not done in 2004, the judgement of the Supreme Court in October 2018 had mandated the Attorney General of the Federation to work together with the governments of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa States to recover all lost revenues accruable to the Federation with effect from the respective times when the price of crude oil exceeded $20 per barrel.

It further stated that the second review was to be activated 15 years following commencement of the PSC Act, where Section 16 (2) states that “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the provisions of this Decree shall be liable to review after a period of 15 years from the date of commencement and every 5 years thereafter”.

The transparency watchdog disclosed that at inception in 1993, the PSC terms were drawn up to  attract oil and gas companies to invest in the exploration and production of offshore fields considering the risks involved coupled with low oil prices.

“Thus the PSC contracts were supposedly more beneficial to the companies. However, the Law anticipates that the companies would have recouped their investments when oil price increases and after many years of operations, hence the two trigger clauses in the Act.

“Since the Supreme Court judgement has addressed the condition for the first review, this second review was the focus of NEITI’s Policy Brief.

” This second review should have happened in 2008 and informed why it chose 2008 as the the start date for commencement of estimated losses in the model,” NEITI noted.

It explained that to determine the losses, the analysis was conducted for the seven producing fields of the 1993 PSCs, which are Abo (OML 125): operated by Eni; Agbami-Ekoli (OML 127 & OML 128): operated by Chevron; Akpo & Egina (OML 130): operated by Total and South Atlantic Petroleum; and Bonga (OML 118): operated by Shell.

Others, it said are Erha (OML 133): operated by ExxonMobil; Okwori & Nda (OML 126): operated by Addax; and Usan (OML 133): operated by ExxonMobil.

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FIRS Generates N12.6trn Revenue In 3 Years

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has said it generated N12.62 trillion revenue from taxes  in the last three years.

This was revealed in a document on its achievements, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abuja by its  Head, Communications and Servicom Department, Mr Wahab Gbadamosi.

A breakdown of the amount showed that N3.3 trillion was generated in 2016, N4.02 trillion in 2017 and N5.32 trillion was realised in 2018, making it the highest revenue generated in the last three years .

According to the document, the FIRS under the leadership of Babatunde Fowler, designed initiatives to ensure a robust tax administration that is beneficial to all stakeholders.

The organisation explained for instance that non-oil tax revenue increased to N2.149 trillion in 2016, N2.5 trillion in 2017 and N2.852 trillion in 2018.

The document quoted Fowler as saying that “the achievements mentioned above also demonstrate the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.

“This does not mean that we have left behind the oil tax revenues. It grew from N1.15 trillion in 2016 to N1.52 trillion in 2017 and N2.52trillion in 2018. Non-oil tax revenue is still over in excess of the oil tax revenue.

“We also do collect four per cent in terms of cost of collection but only for non-oil revenue collected. On oil revenue collection, we do not get any commission and we have been able to make sure that our services are more efficient and convenient to taxpayers.

“This has brought about a considerable reduction in the cost of collection of actual taxes.

“In 2016, it was 2.6 per cent, 2017, 2.49 per cent and 2018, 2.14 per cent, meaning that our actual cost of collection is heading downwards based on the efficiency and technology that we are deploying to tax collection.

“Some of the ICT initiatives that we have continued to build on are the e-payment channels which make it convenient and easy to pay taxes anywhere in the world and to also download receipts of payment from any point one so desires,” he said.

SUN

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Nigeria Earns N808bn From VAT In 9 Months – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the revenue generated from Value Added Tax (VAT) from sectoral distribution from first to third quarters of 2018 was N808 billion.

VAT is a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale.

Sectoral Distribution of Value Added Tax for Q2 and Q3, 2018 posted on the bureau’s website, showed an increase in the revenue generated from VAT in during the year under review.

The report showed that the sum of N273.50 billion was generated as VAT in the third quarter, N266.73 billion in the second quarter and 269.79 billion in first quarter of the year respectively.

The figures represented an increase of 2.54 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and 9.16 per cent increase year-on-year.

The report showed that the manufacturing sector generated the highest amount of VAT with N31.48 billion generated.

This, it said was closely followed by Professional Services and Commercial and Trading, both generating N25.57 billion and N15.99 billion respectively.

It further stated that the mining sector generated the least, and was closely followed by pharmaceutical, soaps and toiletries, textile, automobiles and assemblies with N52.70 million, N177.34 million and N265.35 million respectively.

In addition, it stated that out of the total amount generated in the third quarter of the year under review, N128.62 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT locally, while N58.84 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT for foreign.

The report, however, noted that the balance of N86.04 billion was generated as Nigeria customs import VAT in the year.

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Diamond Bank Appoints Babade Acting Chairman

Diamond Bank Plc on Thursday notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that following the recent resignation of Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth as Director/ Chairman
of the Board, the Board of Directors of the bank has appointed Mr. Dele Babade as acting Chairman effective December 24, 2018.

Babade holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Laws from University of London and was called to both the Nigerian and English Bar.

He started his career with Midland Montagu London (the predecessor of HSBC Investment Bank) on the Graduate Training Programme in 1988 and at various times worked in the UK and Greece mainly in Corporate and Merchant Banking.

He joined Citibank in 1993 and garnered experience from Citibank’s Emerging Markets business focusing on businesses beyond Africa and became Vice President in charge of all cross border/international deals for Africa in 1996, statement on the NSE website explained.

In 1998, he joined Nomura International in London as a Director for Investment Banking for Africa. After re-joining Citibank in 2000, he was moved to Nigeria and Ivory Coast in 2001 as Executive Director covering Nigeria and West Africa and was a board member of Citibank Nigeria from 2001 to 2006. He also served as Citibank’s Director & Regional Head Sub-Sahara Africa Corporate Finance & Investment Banking based in South Africa from 2002 to 2006.

He started his own investment advisory firm in 2007 but left briefly to join Ecobank Transnational Inc as Head of Ecobank Capital from 2010 to 2012 and was also a member of the Group Executive Committee, the top executive body for overall direction of the Ecobank Group. Since 2012, he has been running his firm focusing on inward cross border transactions across the African continent.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Africa Risk Capacity Pan African Insurance Company (ARC Ltd) and is also the Chairman of its Finance and Investment Committee. ARC Ltd is a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union (AU), an initiative designed to improve current responses to climate-related food security emergencies.

Babade was nominated by First Carlyle Growth V (Carlyle) and his appointment as a Non-Executive Director was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective April 20, 2017. Diamond Bank is currently in a business combination deal with Access Bank Plc

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FG Establishes Four Trade Zones In Nigeria

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the four trade zones recently established in the country will attract 15 billion dollars worth of Foreign Direct Investment into the nation’s economy.

Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr Emmanuel Jime, made this known in Abuja during a courtesy visit to his office by Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN).

Mr Jime, said only 15 out of the 39 trade zones in the country are currently operational while application for the establishments of additional zones to boost the economy of the country are undergoing various processes.

Of these 39, four of them were established recently during the course of my stewardship here. These four zones that were established recently under our watch are reputed to have the capacity of attracting about 15 billion dollars worth of foreign direct investment,” he said.

“There are many other applications, the last time I checked, close to 10 are either somewhere in the office of the minister leading up to Mr President office or waiting for the president’s declaration,” Mr Jime added.

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Access Bank Acquires Diamond Bank

Access Bank has finally acquired Diamond Bank.

According to insiders, the official announcement of the transaction will be made in the course of the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The acquisition was midwifed by the CBN in a bid to further consolidate the banking industry, sources informed TheCable.

A Diamond Bank official who spoke to TheCable said there was no need for the public to panic as “the bank is in safe hands”.

Journey to acquisition

Last week, Diamond Bank announced its decision to drop its international operating licence to focus on national operations following capitalisation issues.

Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s chief executive officer, had confirmed in a statement released on Friday that it would cease to operate as an international bank.

“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole,” he had said in a statement.

“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.

“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.”

The bank recorded its worst month on record in November with share plunging to 0.61k per unit on November 30, 2018.

Diamond Bank Q3 2018 report had showed that the bank was under some financial stress with profit after tax falling from N3.9 billion in 2017 to N1.6 billion.

This impacted the bank’s earnings per share, which also dropped sharply from N17 in 2017 to N7 in 2018.

CBN’s N250 million fine

Apart from dealing with non-performing loans, the bank also had to contend with a fine from the Central Bank of Nigeria in August for allegedly aiding MTN Nigeria to illegally repatriate $8.1 billion.

“Your bank issued three CCIs in favour of Dantata Investment for the sum of $5million without converting the foreign exchange received into Naira as required by our regulations.  On the basis of these illegally issued CCIs, your bank repatriated the sum of $102,545,336.77 in respect of these CCIs,” CBN’s letter read.

Your bank failed to indemnify SCB for losses and/or liabilities that may arise from the use of the CCIs you transferred to SCB in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006;

Your bank issued three CCIs outside the regulatory 24 hours without the approval of the CBN contrary to provisions of Memorandum 22 of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006; and

Your bank illegally remitted the sum of $352,222,358.39 on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank in respect of the various CCIs issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

Chairman, director make their exit

In October, Oluwaseyi Bickerseth, the bank’s chairman who was appointed in July, and three non-executive directors resigned.

“The directors are resigning for varied personal reasons, which will include focusing on their priorities. Diamond Bank will update the market with any further development in due course,” a notice signed by Uzoma Uja, the company secretary, read.

S&P downgrades bank’s rating

In November, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the bank’s rating to CCC+/C from ‘B-/B’ and its Nigeria national scale ratings to ‘ngBB-/ngB’ from ‘ngBBB-/ngA-3.

Giving its reason, the agency said the bank is “dependent on favourable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial obligations”.

“We believe that Diamond Bank will have to set aside higher provisions than we initially expected, following the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard No. 9 (IFRS 9), which implies weaker asset quality than we expected and exerts significant pressure on the bank’s capitalization,” it said.

TheCable

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Nigeria’s Capital Importation Decreases To $2.85bn In Q3, Says NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that the total value of capital importation into Nigeria reduced to $2.855 billion in the third quarter of 2018.

The NBS disclosed this in its “Nigeria Capital Importation (Q3 2018)’’ report released yesterday in Abuja.

According to the bureau, the figure represents a 48.21 per cent decrease compared to the second quarter and 31.12 per cent decrease compared to the third quarter of 2017.

It said the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 60.5 per cent ($1.723 billion) of the total capital importation.

“This was followed by other investment, which accounts for 21.07 per cent ($601.53 million) of the total capital import in the period under review.

“And then Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) accounts for 18.58 per cent ($530.63 million) of the total capital imported in the third quarter.

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Ecobank Nigeria Upgrade Core Banking Application; Assures Customers Of Improved Services

The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan has announced that the bank has upgraded its core banking application being part of the bank’s commitment to ensuring customers receive the best service possible.

“Our upgraded system has superior functionalities which will help us deliver our brand promise as the Bank of choice for convenient, reliable and affordable services to our customers. The new platform also promises improved performance of our digital channels as well as top range security as you carry out your transactions”, Mr Akinwuntan stated.

The Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director also apologized to customers over disruptions that they experienced during the period of the upgrade. The bank MD in a letter to Ecobank customers in Nigeria and made available to the media expressed excitement for the support during the time of the upgrade.
According to Mr Akinwuntan “during the period our ATMs, Cards, and Mobile App were
available for use, however, we experienced some post migration issues which affected transfers in and out of the bank and have now been mostly resolved. I apologise for any service hitches experienced during the upgrade and appreciate our customers’ commitment and partnership with Ecobank. We value their relationship greatly and are committed to ensuring they receive the best service possible”.

He appealed to customers of Ecobank to contact their dedicated Relationship Managers or call the Bank’s Contact Centre, should they have any feedback, enquiries or insight they wish to share about their experience with the system upgrade.

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Electronic Fraud In Banking Hits N6.1trn By 2021 – CBN

Mr Sunday Salam-Alada, Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said electronic fraud losses in the banking system are projected to reach N6.1 trillion by 2021.

Salam-Alada disclosed this at the ongoing workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents, organised by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Benin.

According to him, the volume and value of e-transactions are projected to continue to increase nationally and globally.

Salam-Alada, represented by Mr Ibrahim Hassan, Director, Research, Policy, International Relations Department (RPIRD) NDIC, said it was due to broader ecosystem scope, the evolution of channels, adaptability to disruptive innovations and modes payment.
He said other reasons included increased inclusion and evolving technologies.

The director also said that the CBN, through its Consumer Protection Department (CPD), had resolved over 13,715 complaints.

Salam-Alada added that this resulted in a refund of about N72.2 billion to customers by the commercial banks based on 25,043 cases of fraud in 2017.

He said the amount represented a 28 per cent increase if compared to 19,531 cases recorded in 2016.

Salam-Alada said there was a 24 per cent reduction in actual fraud loss value in 2017 with N1.63 billion as against the to 2016 figures.

According to him, the statistics provided by the CBN shows there is a significant increase in the year-on-year volume and value of transactions across all payment channels in Nigeria.

Consequently, 1.4 billion transactions with a value of N97.4 trillion were processed in 2017 as against 869 million transactions with a value of N69.1 trillion recorded in 2016.

He said the increase of 59.7 per cent and 40.9 per cent were recorded in the volume and value of transactions in 2017.

The director hinted that the CBN would soon issue a framework on consumer protection.

Salam-Alada said the CPD conducted a mapping exercise of financial literacy activities in the country.

He added that it was one of the achievements of the department.

He said the achievements also included the biannual consumer protection compliance exams and review of the guide to banks’ charges.

NAN

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