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Senate indicts CBN, Stanbic IBTC over $13.9bn MTN forex scandal

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Lawyers

The Senate has indicted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of regulatory failure in the $13.9 billion capital repatriation by telecommunication giant, MTN.

The upper chamber also called for sanctions on Stanbic IBTC for “for improper documentations in respect of capital repatriation and loan repayments amounting to $388,195,183 and $199,440,952.07 respectively.”

Stanbic IBTC

Recall that MTN was accused to have illegally repatriated the funds from Nigeria to other countries between 2006 and 2016.

The Senate had then referred the matter for investigation following a motion raised on October 2016.

The finding of the Senate was contained in a report made by its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions which was adopted during plenary on Wednesday.

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (APC, Kwara) while presenting the 40 page report noted that MTN did not deliberately violate the Foreign Exchange Act but that the CBN was lax, a situation which also led to sharp practices by commercial banks.

Ibrahim revealed that the committee summoned CBN, MTN management, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, three commercial banks and some businessmen over violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act to the its public hearing.

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The report said that the committee did not receive proof of conspiracy to contravene the foreign exchange laws.

Part of the observations made by the committee was that there was an evidence of massive capital outflow but the fact alone is not conclusive that a crime had been committed.

The following recommendations were then made by the committee which was adopted by the senate:

Condemnation of the CBN for failing in its duty to bring forth observed deficiencies of Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act  (FEMMA) for amendment rather than granting extensions and exemptions which became prone to abuses;

A call on the CBN to sanction Stanbic IBTC for improper documentations in respect of capital repatriation and loan repayments amounting to $388,195,183 and $199,440,952.07 respectively;

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That CBN should equally “sanction the activities of Stanbic IBTC Nominees in the matter of shares transfer and splitting for the purpose of dividend repatriation.”

The apex bank was also asked to come up with a proposal for the amendment of FEMMA with a view to ensuring the growth of the economy through massive foreign capital inflow and greater retention of the foreign exchange.

The CBN should also “render periodic status report to the Senate on the performance of foreign investments inflows and outflows.”

Reading the report, Senator Ibrahim said; “No doubt, there is a disturbing evidence of foreign exchange hemorrhage in Nigeria especially in this period of recession.

“MTN for instance repatriated over $1.3 billion annually since 2006, or N13.92 billion between 2006 and 2016. Just for one company, the phenomenon constitutes a huge outflow that could pose challenges for foreign exchange and national economy stability.”

Culled: http://witnessngr.com

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Develop Homegrown Solutions; Human Capacity and Invest in Agriculture to Rebuild Africa; Experts say at UBA Africa Day Conversations

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Africa Day

·       Prioritise SMEs Development

·       Advocate Partnerships between Private Sector and Government

African thought leaders and great minds have noted that the development of homegrown solutions and adequate investment in human capacity building and agricultural expansion are key steps that will help to rebuild Africa and put the continent on a stronger footing post Covid-19.

Analysing the theme ‘Domestic Policies, Regional Development and a Global Agenda: SDGs and African Development at Crossroads; the speakers collectively gave this submission during the second panel session of the 2020 edition of United Bank for Africa (UBA) African Day Conversations.

The virtual session, which was moderated by Veteran Journalist and Media Consultant, Eugenia Abu, was made up of thought leaders from across Africa, including the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa, Abiola Bawuah (Ghana); Senior Program Coordinator, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, Dr Nalishebo Meebelo (Zambia); Leadership Coach and Chairman, Go Ahead Africa Ltd, Roland Kwemain (Cameroon); Founder and Executive Director, Social Change Factory, Sobel Aziz Ngom (Senegal); Special Assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi (Nigeria); and Social Entrepreneur and Founder, LEAP Africa, Ndidi Nwuneli (Nigeria).

Abiola Bauwah who emphasised how Africa should rely less on foreign donors, said, “There are five areas we should work on more for us to reach the SDG goals; the private sector; rapid industrialization; institutions and the rule of law; develop our human capital; remove the barriers across Africa. We should institute Africapitalism which is an economic philosophy that says that the human and capital resources of Africa are the only ways in which we can develop Africa.”

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Nalishebo Meebelo noted that there’s a lot that young people can do along the value chain of manufacturing, transporting, technology and marketing, adding that, “Government cannot do it alone, they need to work with other stakeholders. Cut and paste solutions do not work for us here in Africa, we need to have our own homegrown solutions to fight this pandemic.”

Eugenia Abu, who focused on the huge role that women and youth must play in rebuilding the continent, said that Africa had to work together to provide solutions to its numerous challenges. “Women, entrepreneurial champions, young people and collaborations between African countries are very key to developing Africa,” she stated.

Ndidi Nwuneli who was saddened that the agricultural sector remained hugely untapped, emphasised the need for a change of mindset where people usually equated agriculture to poverty. “This is a $1 trillion industry and we are neglecting it; therefore my charge to you is that we invest in the agricultural sector, prioritize it, leverage it, transform our educational system to prepare our young people for this sector, change the mindset and trade with each other,” she explained.

Sobel Aziz Ngom pointed out the need for the youth to take charge in Africa. “It is time to not just serve young people, but to trust them to lead. The challenge that we have at the domestic and continental level is making the change in our structure and in the political system that give the place to young people to be 100% engaged,” Ngom stated.

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In his own submission, Tolu Ogunlesi, said, “All over the countries young people are seizing opportunities, and we need to start thinking about how to make sure that this is not just for the age of COVID but for now and beyond COVID-19. Even if the pandemic was to disappear today, I hope that the lessons we’re learning, we’re not going to forget them and go back to where we used to be.”

For Roland Kwemain, more institutions need to tow the line of UBA in events such as UBA Africa Conversations. “If 100 multinationals in Africa were doing that UBA is doing, we would go far because CSR is an amazing leverage not just for the brand but also for supporting people & women in terms of activities. The truth is that we need partnership between the government, corporates and the civil society,” he said.

The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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UBA Revamps Kiddies, Teens Accounts; Customers to Get 13th Month Reward, Scholarships, Other Benefits

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Kiddies

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to reward consistent customers with a 13th month cash reward as well as access to scholarships in the upgraded and revamped UBA Kiddies and Teens Accounts.

 

To qualify for these exciting rewards, customers need to maintain a minimum balance in these accounts which have been designed to enable parents and guardians save for their children aged between 0 – 12 years for the UBA Kiddies Accounts and from 13 to 17 years for UBA Teens Account, whilst also teaching the kids money management skills.

 

Breaking this down to both old and new customers, UBA’s Group Head Marketing and Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, said, the Children banking proposition have been revamped with new offerings to assist parents imbibe the culture of savings in their kids from a very tender age.

 

To enjoy the 13th month reward all the customer needs to do is maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N5,000 for 12 months and they are rewarded automatically; in the same vein, for the Scholarship reward of N200,000; the customer simply needs to maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N10,000 for six months to qualify for a bi-annual draw.

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In addition to saving for their child’s future, holders of the UBA Kiddies and Teens accounts can also get discounted healthcare plans.

 

Nwoga said, “Typically, conversations about money start at home, when parents open their child’s first account and the kids start asking questions about money. It’s one of the most important conversations a parent has with their child, hoping to set them on the right track to managing money responsibly.

 

“And that is why we have introduced exciting benefits and rewards to these account holders to make it easier for parents as they help their kids develop financial and money management skills. Our Kiddies and Teens Account offers parents an opportunity to give their children a head start in life by starting to save for their future early, Nwoga stated.

 

In a similar development, UBA recently upgraded its mobile and internet banking applications, introducing lots of new, exciting and interactive features to aid banking, while allowing customers to perform unlimited transactions from the comfort of their mobile phones

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UBA’s Group Head, Consumer & Retail Banking, Marketing, Jude Anele, who expressed delight with the upgrade said that the bank’s numerous investments into digital transformation has begun to yield good returns for customers, going by the reviews already received.

 

“I will like to let you know that all the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology will begin to yield now, because already UBA’s new Mobile Banking App demonstrates our resolve to provide unparalleled experience across all our channels is in line with UBA’s vision to dominate Africa’s digital banking space,” Anele said.

 

The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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Dangote, MTN emerge most admired African brands

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Dangote

For the third time in a row, Dangote Group has emerged as the most admired African brand, of African continent origin, by consumers, paired with the telecommunication giant, MTN in a survey of 100 Africa best brands announced in a novel global virtual event that incorporated the market openings of Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

GT Bank returns to the top spot in financial services and the United Kingdom’s BBC retains its media category ranking as the most admired media brand in separate category sub-surveys of the most admired financial services and media brands in Africa. African brands only occupy 13 of the 100 entries, seven less from last year.
Established 10 years ago, to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the world’s biggest single sporting event, the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands survey and rankings have established themselves as the most authoritative survey, analysis, and metric of brands in Africa.
African brands only occupied 13 of the 100 entries, 7 less from last year’s.  Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership, Thebe Ikalafeng during an online interactive session via Zoom said: “African brands have an important role in helping to build the image, competitiveness and transforming the continent’s promise into a real change. It’s concerning that in the 10 years since the triumphant FIFA World Cup in South Africa which globally highlighted the promise and capability of Africa, and despite the vibrant entrepreneurial environment, Africa is not creating more competitive brands to meet the needs of its growing consumer market.” Global Client Development Manager, GeoPoll, Caitlin van Niekerk said: “The reach and accessibility of mobile across the continent enabled us to survey respondents across a representative sample of countries quickly and effectively, giving us vital and timely results at a critical time. Kantar has been the insight lead for Brand Africa since inception in 2010.”
It is a consumer-led survey which seeks to establish brand preferences across Africa. The survey is conducted among a representative sample of respondents 18 years and older, in 27 countries which collectively represent 50 per cent of the continent, covering all economic regions and accounting for an estimated 80 per cent of the population and the GDP of Africa. The 2020 survey was conducted between February and April 2020 and yielded over 15,000 brand mentions and over 2,000 unique brands
Out of the top 100 brands in 2010/11, only half still appear in this year’s list due to mergers, acquisitions and the obsolescence of many brands. The most prominent changes are in the technology category with the demise Blackberry (#32 in 2010/11), the consolidation of Vodafone (#54 in 2010/11 and now #13 in 2020) which acquired Vodacom in 2008 and re-branded in 2011, Etisalat (#40 in 2010/11) re-branding to 9 Mobile in 2017 and Motorola (#39) being acquired by Lenovo in 2014. A Chinese brand, Tecno, has raced up the ranking from #33 to #5 in the rankings – a dominant performance for one of China’s premier global brands that are not even sold in China
In his reaction, Group Chief Corporate Communication Officer of the Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina said the management was not unexpected of the ranking because  the company has a long standing reputation for quality, relevance compliance and social stewardship. “Our mission and vision engage and inspire us to by extension connects us to with both our internal and external stakeholders.
“We fervently believe that only Africans can develop Africa, and this gives us stronger sense of relevance  in all the countries where we have our operations. we are touching lives by providing their basic needs and empowering Africans more than ever before creating jobs reducing capital flight, helping government conserve foreign exchange drain by supporting different industrial infrastructural projects of African government.”
Mr. Chiejina stated further that Dangote Cement has been producing high quality and affordable cement, reducing poverty, engaging in unprecedented philanthropy and above all respecting the laws of the land where we operate. “All these are our credo and we do not compromise it, it is our way. And the ranking is just an acknowledgement of all these by our stakeholders, We keep our brand promise and stay authentic.” he concluded
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