Nigeria Central Bank Quashes Talk of Exchange-Rate Policy Change

Nigeria’s central bank said it’s made no change to its naira policies, after a revision on its website led some analysts to speculate that it was ending a system of multiple exchange rates.

NNPC Pledges To Sponsor Education Of Late PENGASSAN Boss’ Children

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed its readiness to train the children of the late President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSSAN), Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, to any educational level.

Mergers And Acquisitions Now Under The Joint Purview Of SEC And FCCPC, Till Further Notice

Pursuant to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), which was signed into law on 30 January 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) recently issued joint guidance on submission of notifications for proposed mergers, acquisitions and other business combination notifications.

Access Bank Announces Early Redemption Of Its US$400m Subordinated Unsecured Notes

Access Bank Plc (the “Issuer’) hereby notifies the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the public that it intends to exercise its option to redeem the USD400 million subordinated unsecured notes at a fixed rate of 9.25%, due 2021.

UBA Mastercard Holders To Win All-expenses-Paid Trip To June 1 Finals of 2019 UEFA Champions League

Leading Pan-African Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc in partnership with leading global payments and technology company, Mastercard, will be giving away an all-expenses paid trip- ticket to 12 lucky customers of the bank and their plus ones to watch the Finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League.

Abdoul Aziz Dia Joins The Group Board Of Directors Of UBA

The United Bank for Africa(UBA) announced today that Mr Abdoul-Aziz Dia will join the bank’s Board of Directors subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Government Must Create Favourable Tax Policies, Says Elumelu ……….The Average Business Owner in Nigeria is a local government authority

Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu has called for far reaching Tax reforms and for the National Assembly to urgently pass the Executive Tax bill into law.
Elumelu made this statement as he delivered the keynote address at the 21st Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), titled, “National Development: Unlocking the Potentials of Taxation”.
Speaking on the challenges that stifle small businesses, Elumelu quoted a young entrepreneur beneficiary of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, “The average business owner in Nigeria is a local government authority on his own because he caters for his own electricity with generators, he builds his own borehole, handles his own waste disposal, and the government can make his life easier by creating favourable tax policies that support SMEs.”
Elumelu also lamented the plight of SMEs at the mercy of the tax system revealing, “The average number of taxes businesses pay in Nigeria is 48, compared to 33 in other Sub-Saharan countries. In Hong Kong, it’s just 3. Multiple taxation remains a significant burden for SMEs and corporates operating in the country.” Elumelu continued: “With a population of close to 200 million people in Nigeria, we have only 75,000 registered SMEs in the country. No one needs to tell us that people are avoiding tax or refusing to be a part of the system,” he said.
With high cost of compliance, complex and costly business registration processes, many SMEs are choosing to remain informal, which in turn results in a low tax base and low tax contribution to GDP. “Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio is only circa 6%, compared to far smaller populations like Rwanda at 16%. Imagine the economic transformation we can achieve as a country if we can move our Tax to GDP ratio by 10%. We will raise an additional $40billion in government revenue – identical to the sum of our foreign reserves,” Elumelu explained.
But it won’t be easy. Elumelu advised government to educate, inform and raise tax awareness, “Government should drive mass mobilisation of citizens – let citizens know why they need to pay taxes and give them the assurance that their tax will be properly utilised.” In addition he stated that, “government should employ the use of smart tax incentives to attract and Elumelu also tasked the country’s ambassadors and embassies with a two year timeline to increase the number of double tax treaties between host countries and Nigeria. “Nigeria has 14 taxation treaties while a country like South Africa has 79 double taxation treaties, and we are the largest economy in Africa. Our embassies should adopt a target in the next two years to sign Tax treaties with our top 100 trading partners in the world.”
Speaking as the leading proponent of entrepreneurship in Africa and an advocate for entrepreneurs, Elumelu charged government to put in place tax systems to encourage SMEs-— the engine for job creation in the economy.
“Until there is a reduction in what SMEs pay as tax, elimination of multiple taxation, abolition of minimum income tax and excess dividend tax, it will be difficult for us to expand the tax base. It will be difficult for us to attract investors into this country, and it will be difficult for us to retain the ones already in the country. It will be difficult for us to mobilise our SMEs to help create employment that we need so much in this country. It will be difficult for us to have the citizens hold leaders accountable.”
In conclusion, he reminded the National Assembly members of their mandate in office, “We must encourage government to pass the Executive Bill immediately. Let’s get the National Assembly to fulfil their obligation to society and pass the bill immediately, so we can start making progress”.
Speaking in response to the presentation, Former President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, Chief Mark Anthony Dike emphasized the urgency for the Executive Tax bill to be passed into law.
He said: “Every year during the military regime, there was a Finance Miscellaneous Provision Decree aimed at looking at what has happened and review the areas that need to be amended. As they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. We may conceptualise, but in order to know the efficacy of a theory, we have to test it. Until the provision of the Executive order is tested, we cannot know how efficacious it will be.”
Also present at the event were Dr. Ikemefuna Nwobodo, President, Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, Federal Internal Revenue Service, Ayo Subair, Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Services, Members of the council of CITN and the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine.incentivise local and foreign investors.”

Fidelity Bank Begins 2019 On A High, Post Strong First Quarter Results.

Following its impressive full year results for 2018 released recently, Fidelity Bank Plc has began the new financial year strongly, posting a very impressive first quarter result.
Details of the top lender’s first quarter results released at the NSE yesterday show appreciable growth in earnings, profits for the period ended March 31, 2019.
Gross earnings rose by 11.8 percent from N43.3 billion in 2018 to N48.4 billion in the period under review, whilst profits surged by 34.0 percent from N5.0 billion in Q1 2018 to N6.7 billion in 2019. Similarly the bank recorded growth in deposits, loans and other performance indices during the period.
Speaking on the financial results, the Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said the double digit growth in earnings and profits further is a clear demonstration that the bank is off on a positive start for the new financial year.
“We remain focused on the execution of our medium-term strategic objectives and targets for the 2019FY while we look forward to sustaining the momentum and delivering another strong set of audited results for H1 2019FY”, Okonkwo stated.
He further revealed that the Bank’s earnings grew by 11 percent on the back of growth in fund and fee-based income. “We recorded double digit growth across key income lines: FX income (334.4%), digital banking income (34.6%) and interest income on liquid assets (10.1%)” he disclosed.
According to the Fidelity Bank CEO, digitalization and the bank’s retail strategy continues to positively impact on its fortunes with “43 percent of customers are now enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and more than 81 percent of total transactions done on digital platforms, resulting in 25 percent in fee-based income, coming from digital banking”.
Savings deposits which now accounts for 24% of total deposits in the period increased by 6.2 percent to N242.1bn indicating that the bank is on a steady march to achieving the 6th consecutive year of double-digit growth in savings.

Gavi Champion For Immunisation In Africa Amele, Eleumelu Call For State Of Emergency In Healthcare

Gavi Champion For Immunisation In Africa Amele, Eleumelu Call For State Of Emergency In Healthcare

Though Nigeria accounts for less than 2% of the world’s population, nearly 10% of all new born deaths occurs in Nigeria, revealed Gavi Private Sector Champion for Immunisation in Africa, Dr. Awele Elumelu, during her keynote address at the official flag off of African Vaccination Week in Abuja, hosted by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Nigeria has the highest number of unimmunized children in the world, estimated at 4.3 million children in 2018.
Awele V. Elumelu, Founder and CEO, Avon Medical, vaccinating babies in Kuje community, Abuja
“We cannot continue to lose 2,600 children under age 5 every day in Nigeria, especially when their deaths are easily preventable by vaccination. 1 in every 8 Nigerian children will die before their fifth birthday. Nearly 10% of all new born deaths in the world occur in Nigeria. Why? Our infant mortality rate is 75 out of 1000 (75/1000); a staggering 8% of the global total. Every day, Nigeria loses 127 women of child bearing age. We cannot afford to normalize these deaths,” she said.
Highlighting the fact that Nigeria’s trend in maternal mortality rate has not improved in the last 3 decades (1990 to 2015), she said: “As my friend, Dr. Shuaib, Executive Director of NPHCDA, often laments, a plane full of women crashes every day in Nigeria. We lose hundreds of young mothers and we must do something fast. We cannot continue like this.” Even as she acknowledged and gave commendation to government for improved vaccine availability in LGAs from ~30% in 2014 to 80% today, she appealed to the government to do more across board.
Awele V. Elumelu, Founder and CEO, Avon Medical, vaccinating babies in Kuje community, Abuja
To deliver the responsive, modern, quality healthcare system that Nigerian citizens deserve, Dr. Elumelu who is CEO of Avon Medical, and chairwoman of leading Nigerian health insurance company, Avon Healthcare, also rallied for increased private sector participation and engagement; “Government cannot do everything. There are serious challenges with primary health care delivery, and gaps in service, access, availability and innovation – these are all areas that the private sector can intervene in. We as the private sector can and must do more.”
Awele Elumelu, Founder and CEO, Avon Medical Practice; Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, NHPCDA; and Dr. Dorothy Nwodo, Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA
As Gavi Champion in Africa, Dr Elumelu is a strong advocate for innovative public-private partnership models that bring together the expertise and resources of governments, private donors, industry, and international organisations to deliver life-saving vaccination programmes while ensuring maximum cost efficiency. Since inception in 2000, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has immunised more than 700 million children worldwide, saving nearly 10 million lives in the world’s poorest countries through this unique model.
Dr Elumelu, who is also a Trustee of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, further identified the role of advocacy that the private sector is well suited to lead as a result of its platforms, networks and capital, “The private sector has a strong voice and platform that it can use especially in advocacy: to raise awareness for more grass root sensitisaton and increased government funding in our healthcare budget. We need to create a sense of urgency and a national outcry of exasperation. The unnecessary deaths of our babies, children, mothers and women is unacceptable and there are no excuses. Vaccines are available but our children are still dying. We must interrogate why.”
Drawing attention to the role of parents in improving vaccination rates in the country, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, NPHCDA stated, “There are families due to ignorance who refuse to make their kids available for vaccination. Certain outbreaks we have seen in the last few months underscores the need for parents to make their children and wards available for vaccination.”
Following the event, Dr. Elumelu attended a vaccination outreach programme, also as part of the African Vaccination Week, with mothers of the Kuje local community in Abuja.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour, she compelled mothers to vaccinate their children, “As a mother of seven children, I have ensured that all of my children are vaccinated but. It is not enough to vaccinate your children alone, but you must tell your neighbours and your friends to bring their children for vaccination. If one child is affected, all of us are at risk. We will all be in danger. So, I thank you our dear mothers for coming out and for your patience, but there is still more work to be done. Be the vaccine ambassadors in your community.”

Nigeria, Saudi To Present MoU On Infrastructure Development In Oil, Gas Sector

The Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih has expressed the strong readiness of his country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria.
The Saudi Energy Minister communicated the blessings of the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince, H.R.H. Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the partnership investment while announcing their readiness to sign the MoU with the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. The early draft of the MoU that will solidify the new oil and gas development partnership between Nigeria and Saudi Africa will be ready in the first week of May, 2019.
The Saudi Minister made this known during a high level bilateral meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu on Wednesday 24th April, 2019 in Riyadh. He stated that his team will undertake the task of drafting an outline of the MOU in consonance with Nigeria and consequently move through the bureaucratic channels of getting the requisite approvals and endorsements. The Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) Governors for the two countries, Eng. Adeeb Y. Al-Aama (Saudi Arabia) and Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim (Nigeria) have already been nominated to fast track the process for official endorsements and signing.
The agreement will in principle opens the doors for Nigeria to potentially benefit from Saudi Arabia’s and effectively, Saudi Aramco’s recent aggressive oil sector investments across the globe. Areas of interest will cover existing refinery revamp, building of a brand new refinery, LNG investments and product supply trading in crude and refined products. H.E Khalid Al Falih also reiterated the possibility of establishing an independent refinery in Nigeria as the country considers Nigeria as the best hub to reach other African countries.
Nigeria and Saudi Arabia has over the decades enjoyed a robust bilateral relationship with the Nigerian delegation to the holy land pilgrimage among the highest globally amidst the common heritage of being abundantly blessed with oil and gas deposits. Nigeria’s Dr. Kachikwu has expressed his expectation that the definite signing of the MoU will further cement the cordial relationship between both Nations. He stated that the visit to Saudi Arabia became necessary due to the common grounds between the two countries and the success of the country in the oil and gas sector. Dr. Kachikwu disclosed that