Employees of Skye Bank to get fresh contract under Polaris Bank – NDIC

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, has said that employees of the defunct Skye Bank Plc would be offered new contract terms under the management of Polaris Bank.

The Corporation said this in a statement made available to our correspondent on Saturday and signed by the Head Communications and Public Affairs, Mohammed Kudu.

The Central Bank had on Friday revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc with immediate effect.

Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said during a press briefing in Lagos that Skye Bank would now be taken over by Polaris Bank, which would take over all the assets and liabilities of the defunct entity.

The NDIC in the statement said following the revocation of the operating license of Skye Bank by the CBN, the NDIC has commenced the processes for its liquidation.

The statement reads in part, “The NDIC carried out the Bridge Bank option to resolve the Skye Bank Plc in order make certain that its depositors are fully protected as their deposits with Polaris Bank limited remain insured under the NDIC Act.

“The customers of Skye Bank Plc can also continue to transact their businesses with Polaris Bank Limited thereby ensuring the non-disruption of their banking transactions.

“Furthermore, the adoption of the Bridge Bank model for the resolution Skye Bank Plc, guarantees that most of the employees of that bank will not lose their jobs and they will continue their employment with POLARIS Bank Limited under fresh contracts of employment.

“The NDIC, as Deposit Insurer, acted to ensure the continued safety of depositor’s funds and to proactively manage potential threats to financial system stability.”

Emefiele had said the decision to revoke the licence of the old bank was taken following the inability of the owners of the bank to shore up the capital of the distressed bank which had earlier received a N350bn intervention in July 2016.

He said, “Skye Bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN. We have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank.

“The strategy is for AMCON to capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing for investors to buy out AMCON. By this decision, the licence of Skye Bank is hereby revoked.”

Emefiele recalled that on July 4, 2016, the CBN took a regulatory action on Skye Bank that led to the resignation of its chairman, all non-executive directors on its board as well as the managing director, deputy managing director, and the two longest-serving executive directors on the management team.

At that time, he added, the action was informed by the unacceptable corporate governance lapses as well as the persistent failure of the bank to meet minimum thresholds in critical prudential and adequacy ratios, which culminated in the bank’s permanent presence at the CBN lending window.

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 14:55 GMT |

Osinbajo inaugurates TraderMoni in Owerri

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will on Saturday inaugurate TraderMoni initiative, a Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme, in Owerri, Imo State.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

The initiative was designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans of at least N10,000.

According to him, the loans are repayable over a period of six months.

The micro-credit scheme under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), was first inaugurated on Aug. 7 in five markets in Lagos State – Mushin, Ikotun, Agege, Ketu and Abule Egba areas.

“Following the Lagos leg, the micro-credit scheme has since been inaugurated in eight other states, including Kano, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Osun, Kogi, Oyo, Cross River; and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory).

“Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N100,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period.

“Also, through TraderMoni scheme, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration aims to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots and uplift Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.

“The Federal Government is also aware of the fact that many of the petty traders don’t have what the commercial banks require to grant them loans.

“Petty traders from across the states have continued to laud the Buhari administration for helping them in expanding their trade and empowering them economically,’’ Akande said.

He said that by the end of 2018, the micro-credit scheme would have reached all 36 states of the federation, with an estimated 2 million petty traders set to become beneficiaries. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:55 GMT |

NSE suspends trading on Skye Bank shares

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday officially notified the investing public that Skye Bank Plc shares would be suspended from trading on Sept. 24.

The exchange gave the notice in Lagos in a statement by Mr Olumide Orojimi, Head, Corporate Communications and Mr Godstime Iwenekhai Head, Listings Regulations.

NSE said in the statement that the action was taken following the recent regulatory action of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoking the banking license of Skye Bank.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exchange said that the decision was pursuant to the “Rules on Suspension of Trading in Listed Securities, Rulebook of The Exchange (Issuers’ Rules).”

It stated that further developments would be communicated as appropriate in due course.

CBN has revoked the banking licence of the Bank, and transferred its assets and liabilities to a newly licensed bridge bank called Polaris Bank.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, said at a news conference in Lagos that the decision was due to failure of its shareholders to recapitalise the bank.

Emefiele, however, said that the purpose of the CBN’s intervention in Skye Bank on July 4, 2016 had been achieved.

He said that the focus of the action then was to save depositors’ funds and to ensure that the bank continued as a growing concern, being a systemically important bank.

“Part of our intention was also to stem the imminent job losses to staff if a liquidation option had been adopted.

“These objectives have been fully achieved and the bank has been able to meet customer obligations, having curtailed the liquidity haemorrhage and restored depositor confidence.

Indeed, the bank’s performance has improved considerably compared to the pre-July 2016 era”, he said.

Emefiele said that the result of its examinations and forensic audit of the bank showed that the bank required urgent recapitalisation.

According to him, the bank can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN.

He added that the bank’s shareholders were unable to recapitalise it.

“As a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), we have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank.

“The strategy is for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON,” Emefiele said.

He, however, assured all depositors that under the arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Sept. 24.

The CBN governor said te arrangement was to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.

He said that all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank.

NAN also reports that NDIC has sold Polaris Bank to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) with the mandate to stabilise the bank as well as return it to profitability for the purpose of selling it to interested Investors.

Consequently, AMCON will inject N786 billion into Polaris Bank to bring it’s net value to zero. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:52 GMT |

Biafra: IPOB delegates returns from United Nations

THE Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has announced the return of its leadership and delegation that visited the United Nations on September 14, the same day a “Sit at home” order was called by the group to remember the victims of the invasion of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s home at his country home in Afaraukwu, Umuahia in Abia State.

The delegation, which was led by the deputy leader, Mazi Uche Mefor, was at the United Nations to discuss issues pertaining to Biafrians and the eastern region of Nigeria, a statement made available on Friday by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, said.

IPOB noted that the visit marked the first time in the post-war history of Biafra that the leadership of any group, movement or people, has met with the United Nations in a face-to-face manner.

The statement reads in part: “This is the very first time that the United Nations have had the opportunity to host Biafrans to a meeting. It is only appropriate that we appreciate all those working tirelessly with our diplomatic team based in London to accomplish this feat.

“We equally commend the Directorate of State of the Indigenous People of Biafra (DOS-IPOB) under the distinguished leadership of Mazi Chika Edoziem who accompanied our deputy leader to the historic meeting in the company of the rest of the High Command of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

“The historic encounter with United Nations officials in Geneva has opened up avenues and opportunities for further engagement between IPOB and relevant UN agencies around the burning issues of human rights violations by the Buhari regime and enforcement of IPOB’s universal right to self-determination.

“During the discussions, Uche Mefor pledged on behalf of the worldwide family of IPOB to commit the movement to work within the guidelines of United Nations charters and obligations in recognition of the unique privilege Nigeria currently enjoy as a full-fledged member of the United Nations.”

IPOB regretted that Kanu’s family, as well as other eyewitnesses to the military invasion of Kanu’s home on September 14, 2017, who were invited to the event by United Nations, could not attend because they were earlier denied entry visa by Switzerland in Abuja on the “instructions of Nigerian government”.

This flagrant disregard for United Nations issued invitation was also raised during discussions which the UN team assured the IPOB delegation will be looked into as a matter of urgency.

The statement added: “With this meeting satisfactorily concluded, IPOB has gone where no other group of leaders before it has dared go to.

“It will forever be recorded that for nearly 50 years and for the very first time in the history of Biafra, an interface was facilitated between representatives of the people of Biafra (IPOB) and the United Nations.

“Due to issues of confidentiality, we are not at liberty to divulge every detail of what transpired. Suffice it to say the world has been officially placed on notice that IPOB as a movement is determined to carve a separate existence for the people of Biafra (South East/South South) away from Nigeria.

“Anybody or group of people previously in doubt about the efficacy of our multidimensional approach has been dispelled with this meeting.

“IPOB leadership is working quietly on all diplomatic fronts, below the radar, to avoid the usual sabotage by the Nigerian state, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo governors and their local agents that don’t want to see Biafra emerge as a free nation.”

CBN revokes Licence of Skye Bank

The Central Bank of Nigeria is to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank

 

GODWIN Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has revoked the license of Skye Bank Nigeria Plc.

Addressing newsmen today in Lagos, Emefiele said the action was taken because the shareholders failed to recapitalise the bank.

The governor recalled that on July 4, 2016, the CBN took a regulatory action on Skye bank Nigeria PLC. Specifically, this action led to the resignation of the chairman, all non-executive directors on the Board as well as the managing director, deputy managing director, and the two longest-serving executive directors on the management team.

At that time the proactive action was informed by unacceptable corporate governance lapses as well as the persistent failure of Skye Bank PLC to meet minimum thresholds in critical prudential and adequacy ratios, which culminated in the bank’s permanent presence at the CBN Lending Window.

The focus of the action then was to save depositors’ funds and to ensure that the bank continued as a going concern, being a systemically important bank. Part of our intention was also to stem the imminent job losses to staff if a liquidation option had been adopted. These objectives have been fully achieved and the bank has been able to meet customer obligations, having curtailed the liquidity haemorrhage and restored depositor confidence.

According to Emefiele,  the bank’s performance has improved considerably compared to the pre-July 2016 era.

 However, the result of our examinations and forensic audit of the bank has  revealed that Skye bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN. The shareholders of the bank have been unable to recapitalize it.

 “As a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), we have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank. The strategy is for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalize the Bridge Bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON. By this decision, the licence of the defunct Skye Bank is hereby revoked.

 “We wish to assure all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.

 “Thus, all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank,” he said.

 He said that “given the good performance of the board and management, the CBN shall retain them. In addition, all employees of Skye Bank shall be absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract unless any employee decides to opt out.

 “We wish to assure the general public that the Nigerian banking industry remains safe and resilient and that the CBN will continue to live up to its responsibilities of promoting stability in the banking and financial system.”

BREAKING: CBN revokes Skye Bank’s licence, Polaris Bank takes over

The Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc with immediate effect.

Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this during a press briefing in Lagos on Friday.

He said that Skye Bank would now be taken over by Polaris Bank, which would take over all the assets and liabilities of the defunct entity.

More details shortly.

 

Gov. Bello tasks youths on peaceful coexistence

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, on Friday charged youths in the state to shun vices and always resist attempts to be used as agents of destruction especially during forthcoming general elections.

Bello made the call during a Peace Walk organised by ActionAid Nigeria in the with participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) to mark the 2018 World Peace Day in Lokoja.

The governor, who, also charged them to shun acts inimical to the peace and development of the state, urged them to contribute their quota to sustaining the existing peace in the state.

He said that his administration had built bridges of peace across and among all the ethnic groups in the state to foster unity among them.

The effort, according to him, was also aimed at paving way for peaceful co-existence and attainment of progress and development of the state.

The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Edward Onoja, said, “once there is peace, there will be development in terms of infrastructure and provision of basic social amenities to the people by the government.’’

Bello stressed that Kogi State was once the headquarters of armed robbery, kidnapping and cultism, adding that the scenario had changed due to the proactive measures put in place by the government.

Earlier, Mrs Gift Owonipa, ActionAid Programme Manager in the state and Executive Director, PIBCID, ActionAid local rights partner in Kogi, explained that the essence of the road walk was to cerebrate the peace being currently enjoyed by the people in the state.

Owonipa advocated for an improvement in the standard and quality of education in the state saying it remained the only catalyst for the promotion of peace and tranquillity in the society.

“As we advocate for peace, we are also advocating for an improvement in the standard of education to enable government sustain the existing peace in the state,’’ she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that government officials, representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), youths organisations and students participated in the Peace Walk. (NAN)

 

NSE market capitalisation hits N21bn

Trading activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday sustained a positive growth for the second consecutive day as the market capitalisation appreciated by N21 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the crucial market indices appreciated further with 0.18 per cent growth, following price gains by some blue chips.

Specifically, the market capitalisation hits N21 billion or 0.18 per cent to close at N11.879 trillion against N11.585 trillion recorded on Thursday.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 59.28 points or 0.18 per cent to close at 32,540.17 compared with 32,480.89 posted on Thursday.

Seplat led the gainers table during the day, gaining N22 to close at N622 per share.

Nestle followed with a gain of N19.50 to close at N1, 400, while Nigerian Breweries added N4 to close at N93 per share.

PZ Cussons improved by N1 to close at N13.50, while International Breweries appreciated by 95k to close at N30.95 per share.

On the other hand, Dangote Cement topped the losers chart, shedding N5 to close at N205 per share.

Forte Oil trailed with a loss of N1 to close at N21.50, whille ETI declined by 50k to close at N18 per share.

Cadbury was down by 35k to close at N9.05, while Mansard Insurance lost 20k to close at N1.86 per share.

NAN reports that investors traded a total of 523.44 million shares valued at N3.12 billion in 2,778 deals, representing 131.58 per cent increase in volume.

This was against the 226.027 million shares worth N2.34 billion exchanged in 2,873 deals on Thursday.

GTBank was the most active stock, exchanging 08.54 million shares worth N1.89 billion in 171 deals.

Zenith Bank followed with an account of 82.47 million shares valued at N279.19 million in 287 deals while UBA traded 66.14 million shares worth N438.03 million in 153 deals.

Access Bank sold 61.52 million shares valued at N4.19 million exchanged in 107 deals, while JAIZ Bank exchanged 12.15 million shares worth N172.67 million in 22 deals. (NAN)

 

I am contesting Oyo South Senatorial seat – Ajimobi

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, on Friday in Ibadan, announced his intention to contest the Oyo South Senatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor made the announcement at the maiden Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Peace Lecture held at the Trenchard Hall of University of Ibadan.

“You know I am running for the Senate. So, I went to Abuja for the screening exercise of our party and just returned yesterday,’’ Ajimobi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oyo South Senatorial District comprises nine local governments namely: Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North, Ibadan North-West and Ibadan South-East.

Others are Ibadan North-East, Ido, Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa East and Ibarapa North.

NAN reports that Ajimobi, a two-term governor of the state had from 2003 to 2007 represented the same senatorial district in the National Assembly on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD).

The governor is expected to contest the ticket with Dr Fola Akinosun, while the other contender and incumbent, Sen. Adesoji Akanbi, was reported to have dumped the APC for African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Ajimobi at the event, described the former Head of State, Retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, as a man of peace, integrity and honour, saying he handed over peacefully.

The governor described Oyo State as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria, adding that the foundation of his administration was based on peace and security.

Ajimobi also used the opportunity to highlight the tremendous achievements of his administration in the last seven years.

He described the University of Ibadan as the best in Africa, saying the institution had graduated reputable and renowned Africans.

“Unarguably, University of Ibadan remains the best in Africa. It is a world class training institute for postgraduate studies. It has graduated reputable and renowned Africans.

“It is known for human capital development and has above all, been supportive to Oyo State Government in our educational programmes, ’’ he said. (NAN)

 

Walking the talk crucial if Africa is going to change the fortunes of its people

The joint expert group meeting on the role of small and medium enterprises in the industrialisation process in Southern Africa ended here with a clarion call from Mauritius for African leaders to walk the talk on agreed programmes that will change the lives of ordinary people on the ground.

In his closing remarks, Anil Kumar Kokil, a director in the Finance and Economic Ministry of Mauritius, said African leaders and experts have taken firm action to tackle the continent’s problems but now needed to move to the next level of implementing agreed programmes and protocols that he said will no doubt change the fortunes of Africa.

“We can talk and talk but will remain stagnant as a continent if we do not take initiative like what the done by Asian leaders. They implemented their action plans. We need to stop discussing and have action on the ground fast if we are going to eliminate poverty by bringing inclusive development,” Kokil said.

He said Africa had enough resources that can be harnessed if all nations collaborated sincerely in win-win situations for the benefit of its citizens.

“Winds of change will not come to the continent if our leaders do not take us to the next level where we can create wealth for our nations. We need to complete things by implementing what we agree on; we know where we want to go so let’s put our heads together to develop and implement what we agree on and create the Africa we want.”

“As Mauritius we are determined to make things happen for our nation and we would want to do this along with our African brothers and sisters that’s why we are saying Africa must wake up and see that winds of change are blowing the world over. Focus is on us as the next frontier.”

Said Adejumobi, the Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, director for the Southern African region, agreed with Kokil that leadership was crucial for Africa to take the continent to the next level.

“I must say that we have learnt a lot from our colleagues here in Mauritius during this meeting. The quality of leadership in this country is very high, the engagement of Cabinet ministers was also very high. Leadership is key to the process of socio-economic transformation,” he said.

Participants agreed that member States should harmonize definitions of SMEs to facilitate regional comparisons and development of appropriate support mechanisms; incentivise FDI to embark on forward and backward linkages with local SMEs, supported by fair competition policies among other SME support instruments; and introduce policies that facilitate the participation of SMEs in both public and private procurement as a tool to support SMEs to both grow and to register as formal entities.

The experts also agreed that SME umbrella bodies should agree on a unified approach to government to advance their interests; take stock of membership as proof of economic and social impact, thus reducing anecdotal evidence and improving their influence in the policy-making space.

Regional Economic Communities, RECs, and member states should tailor financial services (loans, insurance, cross-border trade) to the needs of the SMEs; take the lead in developing detailed strategy for SMEs in the region in support of regional industrialization agenda; involve SMEs in regional policy-making and setting minimum requirements for participation in government procurement systems; and SMEs were encouraged to form regional networks to collectively influence government and regional policies.

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:35 GMT |

BCW names Latin America market leaders

BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), a leading global communications agency, today announced the appointment of market leaders in Latin America who will be responsible for business growth, client satisfaction and talent development. All market leaders report to Francisco Carvalho, President, Latin America, BCW.

“BCW has a dominant presence in Latin America, thanks to Burson-Marsteller’s 40-year-history and expansive footprint across the region and Cohn & Wolfe’s strength in Brazil and Mexico,” Carvalho said. “This team has unmatched market knowledge, strong client relationships and deep commitment to talent, all of which is critical for our continued success in the region. Those strengths, together with our industry-leading expertise in delivering digitally driven integrated communications programs, make BCW a powerful partner for our clients.”

All of BCW’s Latin America market leaders have been drawn from the legacy Burson-Marsteller organization and had been leading their respective markets, except where noted:

•           Argentina: Guido Gaona

•           Brazil: Patricia Avila

•           Chile: Fernando Soriano, who had been Director, Brand Communications

•           Colombia: Hector Cardona

•           Mexico: Alberto Diaz, who had previously led the Chile market

•           Miami: Jonathan Stern

•           Peru: Carolina Palacios

•           Puerto Rico: Lynnette Teissonniere

•           Uruguay: Agustina Navarro

“We are excited about the leadership across Latin America,” added Donna Imperato, Global CEO, BCW. “They are all entrepreneurial, creative, and very strong leaders and counselors. We are the agency to beat across this growing region.”

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:35 GMT |

Sustainable industrialisation will solve unemployment, says Industrialist

An industrialist, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadri, on Friday urged the Federal Government to ensure sustainable industrialisation in order to tackle unemployment and its attendant ills to the country’s economic growth.

Ajayi-Kadri, also the Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos

He spoke against the backdrop of the unemployment indices of an estimated 13,000 job losses in the second quarter of 2018, mostly from the private sector.

He said the attendant effect of economic losses generated from the present unemployment situation in the country was worrisome.

“The effect of unemployment everywhere, particularly in Nigeria is a time bomb waiting to explode either in terms of social upheaval or economic downturn.

“Unemployment is a drain on the economy because one way or the other, the persons who suffer such fate must be maintained either by the government, relatives or the society at large,’’ the industrialist said.

Ajayi-Kadri urged the Federal Government to expend more effort to sustain the manufacturing sector which had been proven as the best acceptable means of abating unemployment.

“Every industry must have workers; people who operate in the large scale, the retails, machines, transportation, marketing and the likes.

“So, you see manufacturing provides a large value chain which when created and sustained, will guarantee employment generation,’’ he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:09 GMT |

AON commends FG for suspension of Nigeria Air

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has commended the Federal Government for suspending the proposed new National Carrier, Nigeria Air.

In a statement on Friday it said, “The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) would like to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) for taking the bold step to suspend the planned National Carrier Project in the interest of the nation and in response to the many cries for reason put forward by AON that has continued to call for a rethink by government regarding the project in the light of the tough economic situation in the country today and the fact that it is a moribund idea”.

According to the statement, the AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison, described the National Carrier as an “obsolete just for Ego/Pride” idea.

He believes the country has more important issues which he says should be prioritized rather than investing $3bn in an airline.

“Setting up of National Carrier will cost Nigeria at least $3bn (a single B777 as of today costs about $320m.)”.

He, therefore, asked: “Is it wise and our priority as a nation to take $3bn from the Nigerian coffers today and put into a venture that will for sure go down the drain within a maximum of 5 years to establish a “National Carrier”?

Meggison also noted that apart from the $3bn, the National Carrier will need an additional cash injection of $500m subsidy per year on average for the next 10 years to keep the airline afloat.

This according to him is not a wise investment. He stated that about 97% of the 200 million Nigerian masses today still struggle for the basic necessities of life.

The AON further stated that it kicked against the idea because the process was neither transparent nor did it clearly define the role of private investors in the entire process.

“At this time of limited resources, AON would like to state that there are private Nigerian Airline Investors ready to invest and already investing heavily on the sector and only asking for a more friendly operational environment and infrastructure support,” it said.

Quoting industry personalities worldwide, the AON stressed that “Nigeria does not need a National Carrier. Like what operates in advanced countries of the world, what Nigeria needs are strong private airlines that are allowed to operate in a friendly operational environment with a level playing field and policies that ensure their survival.”

It further explained that although Nigeria is a natural Hub for Africa, airlines don’t make a hub. “It is world-class infrastructure that makes a hub. Then the airlines and airplanes will come in”.

 

Customs Strike Force intercepts 49 vehicles in Zone B

The Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force  has intercepted 49 vehicles and other contraband with duty paid value of N126.8 million in Zone B.

The National Coordinator of the strike force, Abdullahi Kirawa, a Deputy Controller, made the revelation while addressing journalists on the seizures in Kaduna on Friday.

He said the items where  impounded  from Aug. 3 to Sept. 20, 2018 in  Kaduna axis.

According to him, other contraband seized include 13, 983 bags of rice, 3, 983 Jerry cans of vegetable oil, 456 bales of second hand clothing, 70 bags of sugar and 50 cartons of spaghetti among others.

Kirawa said the seizures were made following tip-offs from patriotic Nigerians, adding that citizens engagement has helped to bring down smuggling activities to barest level in the zone.

He assured that the service would not relent in its efforts to end smuggling in the country for the good of the economy and national growth.

”Strike force officers and men will not relent in this effort of ensuring that die-hard smugglers are arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others,” the strike force coordinator said.

Kirawa explained that the strike force set up by the Controller General has the mandate to ensure effective suppression of smuggling to facilitate increase revenue to government.

He therefore urged Nigerians to ensure that they conduct their businesses within the ambit of the law. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:45 GMT |

Abia Govt. to establish microfinance bank to assist SMEs – Commissioner

Mr Gabriel Igboko, Abia Commissioner for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), says the State Government has concluded plans to establish SME microfinance bank in October to assist small scale entrepreneurs in the state.

Igboko disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Umuahia.

He said the bank was one of the three agricultural SME programmes of the state government already approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The commissioner explained that the government would, through the bank, do disbursements to other SME bodies, so that they could have soft loans that were not normally available in commercial banks.

He said: “by October, we would have completed all formalities to have Abia SME microfinance bank established.

“The governor has since given his approval. We have gone to the CBN and we have met all the conditions.

“We are just trying to tie all the necessary loose ends in terms of documentation.

“The microfinance bank identifies those businesses that would come for as small as N20,000 loans or N50,000 and even up to N500, 000 loans.”

He explained that the bank would be disbursing funds to other CBN approved programmes of government that included the Commercial Agricultural Scheme (CAS) and the industrial starch plant.

Igboko further said that the state government would engage over 10, 000 youths within six months in the commercial agriculture programme also billed to take off in October.

According to him, everybody in the state, including civil and public servants would be encouraged to have their own farms under the scheme.

He said that the state government had already made available about 10, 000 hectares of land for the scheme.

“Every person will have a farm of at least one hectare, but no individual is allowed to have more than three hectares, so that it is not monopolised,” Igboko said.

The commissioner also said that the industrial starch plant would be the first of its kind in West Africa.

He said the foreign partners had already done the feasibility study, adding that it would take the state to another level of industrialisation.

“We already have an off taker that is asking for 38 metric tonnes of cassava starch per annum. The whole of Southeast of Nigeria cannot produce up to 30 metric tonnes per annum.

“In fact, we will involve our neighbouring states like Akwa Ibom, Imo and Ebonyi. Abia alone cannot meet the demands for the kind of farming we are talking about,” he said. (NAN)