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Covid-19 Presents Opportunity to Reset Africa- Elumelu

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Tony Elumelu, chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has stated that the Coronavirus Pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self reliant.

Covid-19 Presents Opportunity to Reset Africa- Elumelu

Tony Elumelu, chairman of the United Bank for Africa

He said this at the high-level Roundtable discussions made up of African leaders including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, special envoy of the African Union on Covid-19 and Tidjane Thiam who is also a Covid-19 Special Envoy responsible for mobilising international economic support for Africa.

During the session titled ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’, Elumelu stated “I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.’ Whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanise the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.

He said, “I feel that as we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges. I have often argued for a martial plan overtime. We need to mobilise everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilises resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”

Explaining further, Elumelu pointedly said, “The truth is that we have resources to help mobilise people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far. It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritisation of the youth, empower our small and medium scale enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy’.

“There is the urgent need to prioritise our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted passionately.

Tidjane Thiam who supported what Elumelu had proposed, said that rather than depend on international assistance at every point, there is the need for governments and institutions to invest in activities that will prioritise the youths and create a better enabling environment.

“I totally agree with Tony Elumelu. The major challenge is that we do not see enough entrepreneurs. Similar to what obtains in Asia and Europe, there is the need to promote a class of Entrepreneurs to drive the African economy.  we need to groom more Tony Elumelus’ from Africa’ he said.

Tidjane continued, ‘We know what needs to be done. We need government and multinational institutions to bring in capital so that there will be investment in health, infrastructure and the like. We do need to get rid of this debt cycle because constant rescheduling and begging for relief for debts is not good for us as a continent,”

Okonjo-Iweala, on her part, called for a system where youths and women will be empowered to create and produce more to boost the African economy.

Whilst calling on private and government parastatals to engage in meaningful partnerships that will help to galvanise job creation and entrepreneurship among youths in Africa, she said, “As Tony pointed out, we can see this pandemic as an opportunity for the continent. We have the African Free Trade Agreement, and we have to make it real.

“We have to specialise our countries to manufacture the things we need so we can trade with others. We need to produce good jobs for our young people. We need to empower our women and youths and put them at the centre. It is said that Africa would have the largest number of youths in the world by 2050, so we need to fix this,” she noted.

The roundtable which was organised by the New York Forum Institute, also had in attendance African Heads of States including President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire; President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone;

 


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Magu Probe: Bank CEO Claims N573m Prongly Posted to Prophet Omale’s Account

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The Ayo Salami-led panel probing allegations of corruption against, Ibrahim Magu, suspended chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was stunned on Thursday when Adam Nuru, MD/CEO of FCMB, told the panel that there was an error over the reported posting of N573 million into the church account of Emmanuel Omale, founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries, Account No 1486743019.

Magu Probe: Bank CEO Claims N573m Prongly Posted to Prophet Omale’s Account

The bank CEO was invited by the panel following the alleged report that the cleric laundered money for Magu and used the proceeds of the said N573 million to purchase property for the suspended EFCC chairman in Dubai.

Nuru, while giving evidence on the funds traced to the account, narrated that on January 16, 2016, the bank made a return to NFIU which indicated that there was a transaction of an inflow of well over N573 million.

“This return was said to be in favour of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries Account No 1486743019,” Nuru said.

“After that report, we conducted an investigation and discovered that the lodgement which we reported to NFIU was an error.

“The error was as a result of the fact that we were using a bank application called Pinnacle-7. However, we migrated from that application to a newer version called Pinnacle-10.

“Usually, when the bank intends to migrate from one application to another, we utilise weekends to carry out the exercise. The migration involves moving all the balances of customers from the previous application to the new application. The account of the Divine Hand Ministries was moved during that migration.

“In that branch, we have 983 accounts (Banex). The credit balance in all the 983 accounts domiciled came to the aforesaid amount. It was that balance of N573 million that was wrongly posted as an inflow into Divine Hand Ministries as reported to NFIU,” he said.

Nuru said the error was not peculiar to Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries alone but was also ascribed to 27 other accounts.

When asked why it took the bank about four years to discover the error, the CEO responded that the bank just realised the blunder upon invitation by the panel.

President Buhari had in July ordered a Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004) to investigate the alleged financial impropriety and mismanagement of recovered assets levelled against Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the EFCC.

Recall that Magu was accosted on July 6, 2020 in front of the Wuse office of the EFCC and directed to appear before the Salami-led panel.

 


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NIPOST Says Stamp Duties Account was Opened by CBN

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Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has said that contrary to the position of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), it was not operating any illegal stamp duty account, adding that the alleged illegality, misappropriation by FIRS was uncalled for.

NIPOST Says Stamp Duties Account was Opened by CBN

In a statement signed by Franklin Alao, general manager, Corporate Communications, the agency described the statement by the FIRS as false and made to misinform and mislead members of the public.

It said: “The account the Director of Communication of FIRS made reference to as ‘illegal’ was opened by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Treasury Single Account (TSA), in consultation with the office of Accountant General of the Federation, in the name of NIPOST Stamp Duties Collection Account when CBN gave instruction to Deposit Money Banks (DMB) to commence the deduction of #50 stamp duties from bank customers accounts.

“The account belongs to the Federation and NIPOST does not have access to whatsoever monies lodged into the account, as such, the question of illegality and misappropriation does not arise.”

It added that as a responsible government institution, NIPOST has always operated within the ambit of the law, while asking that the statement credited to the director, Communication and Liaison, FIRS on the issue be discountenanced.

The statement further stated: “NIPOST wishes to reiterate that under the extant laws of Nigeria to wit NIPOST Act 2004 provides and vests solely in NIPOST the power to print adhesive postage stamps, which is the instrument for denoting documents and other transaction instruments in compliance with the provisions of the Stamp Duties Act

“Historically, the Post in Nigeria, just like in the comity of nations, has at different times produced adhesive postage stamps and revenue stamps for the Federal Government. It is to this end that NIPOST seeks the proper implementation of the Finance Act

“NIPOST is therefore taken aback when FIRS took to the tweeter to call out the chairman, NIPOST Board, Barrister Maimuna Yaya Abubakar, who only tried to bring the attention of the Service and public that NIPOST would be emasculated if the Act is not properly implemented

“This is more so when there was a meeting between FIRS and NIPOST in July 2013 in the office of the Executive Chairman of FIRS and resolution reached that NIPOST is statutory duty-bound to provide the stamps to be used by FIRS at both federal and state levels.”

It, therefore, reassured members of the public that the agency would continue to operate within the law that established it.

 

                                                                


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FMST Develops RNA Swift Kits to Tackle COVID-19

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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology has said that his ministry has developed The RNA Swift to accelerate the capacity to test people and help effectively manage the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

FMST Develops RNA Swift Kits to Tackle COVID-19

Onu who spoke to The Nation through Abdulganiyu Aminu, ministry’s director of Press and Public Relations,  said, “The RNA Swift has amazing precision for the detection of SARS-COV-2 and will be commercially available at a price that places it ahead of competitors in terms of sensitivity and affordability.”

Commending African Development Bank (AfDB) for support towards the project, he said, “The RNASwift product team is in consultation with the African Development Bank for the funding of an African-wide testing programme for COVID-19 and the establishment for RNASwift production in Nigeria. I also want to commend the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Finance, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Sheffield University, Scientists and the organised private sector for their collaborative efforts in the development of the testing kits.”

Also, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, mnister of Agriculture,  said, “The Ministry will continue to be in the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. We will ensure that the testing kits are made available. I advise that Nigerians look inwards, be more organised and focused so as to achieve greatness and more technological feats for the country.”


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