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NEXIM Bank Facilitates Regional Sealink Project

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The Sealink Project conceived by the Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Federation of the West and Central Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FEWACCI) and Transimex (an integrated logistic services provider based in Cameroun) in Accra, Ghana yesterday held its Investment Forum to offer a unique and compelling investment proposition to private sector entities in the fast growing West and Central African region.

In order to ensure successful take-off for the service, these agencies had earlier on in 2012 formed a special purpose vehicle, Sealink Promotional Company Limited to drive the strategy and business model for the successful implementation of the Project.

According Mr. Roberts U. Orya, managing director of Nigerian Export-Import Bank, the purpose for setting up a regional/transnational maritime shipping company is to link seaports on the West & Central African coast in order to facilitate trade and ensure smooth transportation of cargo and passengers within and between the two regions.

This objective is primarily towards realizing the objectives of the founding fathers of ECOWAS for free movement of persons, goods and services within the sub-region.

The current board of directors of Sealink is comprised of representatives of these agencies. The board is assisted by an advisory committee (referred to as the Technical Committee) which is composed of experienced technocrats in the maritime industry across West and Central Africa.

The Sealink project is currently endorsed and supported by various regional bodies that identify with the Project.

 Notable among these bodies are the ECOWAS, the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Union of African Shippers’ Council, African Development Bank, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and West African Development Bank (BOAD). The Project has been presented to the governments of member countries as well as their various maritime and ports organisations and authorities of member countries.

Why Invest in the Sealink Project
According to Mr. Orya, the Sealink Project offers a unique and compelling investment proposition in the fast growing West and Central African region for the following reasons: A sector poised for growth: Inter and intra-regional trade in West and Central Africa has been hampered by the poor state of transportation infrastructure. Introducing a direct coastal link between the two regions is expected to have a multiplier effect on rate of economic growth in these regions thus providing adequate returns for investors.

Also  because of National and supranational support: The Sealink Project is a private sector initiative which has gained the full support of various supranational bodies across West and Central Africa including ECOWAS Commission, FEWACCI, and the Maritime Organisation of Central Africa (MOWCA). This is expected to enhance funding and assist the company to navigate the maritime regulatory regime in the region.

Additional because of diversification opportunity: The investment provides an opportunity to enable investors without prior exposure to the maritime sector or to the West and Central Africa region to diversify their portfolio and would grow with other sectors including oil and gas, agriculture and mining which are currently witnessing exponential growth in West and Central Africa.

And also large capacity for passengers and cargos: With the push for free and unrestricted movement of goods and services, the Sealink Project is expected to benefit from its capacity to carry large cargo and passengers.

Finally because of strong economic fundamentals: The Project will enjoy a near monopoly status with its connection of the West and Central African ports. The unique proposition of Sealink ensures that the company is able to charge premium fare owing to its offering of a safe, secure, modern fleet with modern communication equipment that guarantee passenger safety onboard.


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CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

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Amidst sustained pressures on Nigeria’s official foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has opened investigations into foreign exchange transactions of 55 companies and individuals.

The apex bank linked them to foreign exchange deals outside the official Investors & Exporters (I&E) window.

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

The I&E window was created by the CBN as the legitimate platform for buying and selling of foreign currencies.

Some of the major corporate organisations in the list include Stallion Nigeria Limited, a conglomerate involved in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The list also includes Nigeria’s leading electronic payment company, Interswitch Nigeria Limited, as well as a leading global shipping line, CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

Other big names in the list include Petro-Afrique Energy Services Limited, Steel Force Far East Limited, Auto Petroleum Company Limited, Cavendish Mechanicals Limited, Aquashield Oil & Marine Limited, Haitch & Elf Integrated Services Limited, Fenog Nigeria Limited, and Promasidor Nigeria Limited.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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