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Afreximbank Mulls Currency Trading Platform to Bridge $50bn Intra-Africa Trade Gap

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The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced plans to launch its currency trading platform in a bid to bridge the Intra-African trade financing gap estimated at over $50 billion annually.

The President and Chairman of Board of Directors, Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah disclosed this at the 8th Goddy Jidenma Foundation (GJF) biennial public lecture tagged, “The trade route to poverty reduction in Africa in a de-globalising world.”

He said plans are ongoing to launch the platform in May, 2024, stating the urgent need to aggressively fill the intra-African trade gap.

Afreximbank, he said, operates an intra-African Trade Division that has disbursed over $40 billion since 2016, with an amount of about $11 billion outstanding, equivalent to about 28 per cent of Afreximbank’s loan portfolio.

According to him, “The Currency Trading Platform will also be launched under the auspices of Pan-African payment and settlement system (PAPSS).

“It is now becoming possible for a small farmer in Malawi to use his cell phone to purchase a Nollywood streaming movie and pay in the Malawian Kwacha while the seller in Nigeria receives Naira. We are nearing the stage when an Egyptian can buy shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange paying in Egyptian Pounds.”

The Afreximbank boss said access to trade and investment information is key, “as lack of access is perhaps the greatest impediment to intra-regional trade.”

To address this challenge, He said Afreximbank offers an Artificial Intelligence-enabled Trade Information Platform under the brand name Tradar Intelligence.

“It is for the same reason that Afreximbank collaborates with the African Union Commission (AUC), the AfCFTA Secretariat, and others to host a biennial intra-African trade Fair. The three editions so far held since 2018 attracted an aggregate of over 70,000 visitors, 4,000 exhibitors and about 120 billion US dollars in deals,” he said.

On the status of implementation, he said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat is operational in Accra, Ghana where 54 countries have signed the Agreement, and 47 have ratified it.

“While much progress has been made, a lot is still required to ensure that trading under the Agreement is boosted. For example, to avoid its falling victim to the discontent that negatively impacted globalisation, the AfCFTA must be complimented by the Free movement of Africans across the continent, with the right to work.

Although 32 countries have signed the Treaty, only four countries ratified it, falling short of the required 15 ratifications for the Free Movement Protocol to enter into force. We must continue to make aggressive push for countries to ratify the Treaty so as to get the requisite ratifications for it to come into force,” he urged.

Also speaking, the Founder and Executive Secretary, GJF, Dr. Ije Jidenma, said there is a perfect congruence between Prof. Oramah’s Pan African vision and the GJF quest to be part of the national think tank and solution to the nation’s developmental challenges.

“Even though the developmental turf is tough, as a seasoned public intellectual and one with a great sense of history, Prof Oramah is one person that is not ready to give up hope about Africa’s renaissance,” she said.

On his part, the Chairman, Board of Trustees GJF, Pat Utomi, said the world has gone through rounds of globalisation, recession and war, advising that the challenge is for Nigeria to think outside the box on ways it cpuld prosper in this new swing in Africa.


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E-Financial

FG Recovers N57Bn Debt from 10 MDAs

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Federal government has announced the recovery of N57 billion from the N5.2 trillion liaibilities owed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other bodies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government

FG Recovers N57Bn Debt from 10 MDAs

Okokon Ekanem Udo, permanent secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance made the disclosure on Tuesday in Enugu State during a Sensitisation Workshop on Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive through Project Lighthouse Programme for South-East geo-political zone.

While declaring the event open, Ekanem stated that the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across more than 93 MDAs.

This was according to a statement by Mohammed Manga, spokesman for the ministry.

Represented by Aisha Omar, the ministry’s director, Special Projects, Ekanem Udo, informed that it also received refunds to the government from companies who failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been made, adding that others are unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Judgment Debt in favor of Government and debts owed Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by Insurance Companies amongst others.

He added that data from Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals, who owe government agencies and refused to honour their obligations were still being paid.

This, he said, was done through government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA) due to lack of visibility over these transactions.

According to him, in actualising debt recovery goal, the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated Project Lighthouse, which has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data.

Ekanem Udo explained that, generally, revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing and enforcement.

It may interest you to note that the Ministry, through the consolidation efforts of the Debt Analytics and Reporting Application, has been able to aggregate monumental debts of approximately N5.2 trillion, he said.

The Permanent Secretary who informed further that the debt aggregation effort is still ongoing stated that currently, approximately N57 billion has been recovered so far from this amount due to concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders and the Federal Government

He disclosed that the Ministry has taken steps to address this major revenue loophole, through the issuance of a Ministerial directive to all MDAs to aggregate all Government debt across the Public Finance Space as well as having a single window on the credit profile of Government.

 

 

 

 


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E-Financial

Access Pensions Reaffirms Commitment Towards PBMs for Nigerians

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Access Pensions has emphasized its commitment to offering thorough guidance and assistance to customers interested in Pension Backed Mortgages (PBMs).

Head of Customer Experience at Access Pensions, Ophelia Alex-Iwuanyanwu, reiterated this commitment during a recent webinar organised by the company.

She also highlighted the Access advantage, showcasing the robust financial ecosystem provided by Access Corporation and how the firm is committed to ensuring the best for its customers.

Additionally, Chief Investment Officer, Access Pensions, Wale Okunrinboye, Regional Head, Business Development, Adaeze Raji and Head of Benefits Administration, Access Pensions, Zainab Bello, provided valuable insights to webinar attendees, offering tips to enhance pension planning security and manage personal finances effectively.

They reiterated the company’s commitment to delivering top-notch relationship management services. Alex-Iwuanyanwu said, “We offer competitive pension backed mortgage finance tailored to your needs, ensuring your goal of home ownership is achieved.

“We also guide our customers through every step of the homeownership journey, starting well before the application reaches us. We offer end-to-end guidance from our team to ensure a simplified process that reduces the turnaround time, from initiation to PENCOM’s approval.”

She further added that clients benefit from dedicated relationship managers, access to digital channels, financial literacy programs and superior investment returns. Additionally, efficient benefits administration ensures timely pension payouts globally.

Also, Okunrinboye, speaking on “Investment Management: How do we manage your pensions” said: “Our investment process is built around applying an analytical approach to securities analysis, asset allocation, optimal trade execution and a quantitative approach to risk management.”

Furthermore, Raji discussed the essential steps to achieve retirement goals, emphasising the importance of setting clear income targets and developing a comprehensive plan to achieve them. She noted that this involves identifying income sources, assessing expenses, establishing a savings strategy, and effectively managing assets and risks.

Bello delved into the specifics of pension benefits. She outlined the eligibility criteria for accessing retirement benefits, which include various circumstances such as mandatory or compulsory retirement, retirement due to medical reasons, or temporary loss of employment.

Additionally, she highlighted the factors that determine the amount payable to retirees, including gender, the total balance in the retirement savings account (RSA), final salary details, and the age at which retirement occurs.

The webinar, hosted by Head of Brand and Communications, Mojisola Coker, provided an enlightening platform for customers to engage in a question-and-answer session, fostering valuable insights.

 


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Former SEC Leadership Failed to Regulate, Develop Capital Market- ASCSN

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Senior Staff Union under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused the past administration of the Commission led by Dr. Lamido Yuguda of failing in its mandate of effectively regulating and developing the capital market, which is an intricate part of the nation’s economy.

Former SEC Leadership Failed to Regulate, Develop Capital Market- ASCSN

ASCSN also urged the federal government to exempt workers of the commission from 50 percent operating surplus remittance

Abba Mamman Ali, chairman of the Union, stated this on Monday during a briefing with journalists in Abuja.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had last Friday sacked Dr. Lamido Yuguda, former director general and announced a new management and board for the Commission.

While Mr. Mairiga Aliyu Katuka is the chairman of the new board, Dr. Emomotimi Agama is the new director-general.

Abba said the administration of the Yuguda “failed in its mandate to effectively regulate and develop the capital market, which is an intricate part of the Nigerian economy.”

Furthermore, he said the Yuguda-led Management “was insensitive and unresponsive towards issues of staff welfare especially issues bordering on staff promotion, gratuity and increase of staff emolument, amongst many others.”

He said, “Unfortunately, staff morale was at the lowest ebb under the regime of the immediate past Management.

‘It became clear to the SEC Staff Union and our parent body, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) that a vibrant capital market and a highly motivated SEC workforce could only be achieved through a change of SEC Management by Mr President.

“This prompted the Union to cry out to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. By clearing out the ineffective SEC Management led by Lamido Yuguda, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has lived up to his sterling reputation as a listening President.”

He said the SEC Staff Union has pledged to collaborate seamlessly with the new board under the leadership of board chairman, Mr. Mairiga Aliyu Katuka and Director General, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, to deliver a vibrant capital market in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

However, to achieve this, he called for the commission to be exempted from the 50 per cent deductions on operating surplus as contained in the Finance Act 2024 because the Commission is a development institution.

He said, “We want this management to look into issues of staff promotion, vacancies and gratuity. We urge them to look at it very well and settle those issues as they concern staff directly.

“Also, there is need for Management to meet with the government on the issue of 50 per cent deductions on operating surplus. These deductions have almost incapacitated the Commission as the SEC has been having great difficulties carrying out its dual functions of regulating and developing the capital market.”

On the capital market, he said the Union is “urging the new management to constitute a market wide committee who will proffer solutions to the various issues currently bedevilling the market.”


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