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Transactions: Making investor protection paramount

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Transactions: Making investor protection paramount

As a way of boosting market confidence, it is important for regulators to constantly carry investors along as regards policies and changes in transactions. Chris Ugwu writes

 

I

n stock exchanges world over, there are standard and post-listing requirements that quoted companies must constantly meet to avoid regulatory hammer.

 

 

These include regular dissemination of information about the financial performances and any changes that could affect their operations.

 

 

Conversely, in Nigeria, many listed firms have been violating this important obligation, thereby keeping investors in the dark about their financial health among others.

 

 

These lapses in adherence to the principles of corporate governance have contributed mainly to crisis at the stock exchange even as most countries have recovered from the global financial meltdown.

 

Many ignorant investors have burnt their fingers by investing in some dormant companies, which do not furnish the market with their financials.

 

 

Following serial infractions by market players, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Nigerian Stock Exchange wielded the big stick by either giving notice to some companies on intention to delist or have completely delisted them from its official list for violating post-listing requirements.

 

 

Some have, however, chosen to delist voluntarily when they no longer have the capacity to play in the market. It was also found out that most of the companies that delisted voluntarily from the bourse had cited harsh economic climate and parent company buy-out as reasons.

 

 

According to a report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange website, about 101 firms has delisted from the exchange in the last 17 years.

 

 

The reaffirmed commitment by the regulator to do anything to compel operators in the market to obey the rules guiding it informed the decision to tighten the noose on market infractions and other miscellaneous capital market crimes.

 

 

However, shareholders have continued to lament the delisting of companies by the regulatory authorities, noting that the actions have not given investors desired benefits as it lacks protection of shareholders’ funds.

 

 

Some delisted firms

 

 

Some of these companies that have been delisted due to one reason or the other include Pinnacle Point Group Plc, Afroil Plc, Starcomms Plc, Big Treat Plc, Starcomms Plc, Nigeria Wire & Cable Plc, Nigerian Sewing Machine Manufacturing Plc, Stokvis Nigeria Plc, Jos International Breweries, West Africa Glass Industries Plc, Navitues Energy Plc, Nigerin Ropes Plc, P.S Mandrides Plc, African Paints (Nigeria) Plc ,Afrik Pharmaceuticals Plc, among others.

 

 

Dissenting voices

 

 

Some shareholders in the capital market have demanded better protection for investors in the country, following the delisting process.

 

 

The shareholders, who lamented that investors, especially domestic retail investors, always suffered significant losses whenever companies were delisted, said there was need for the exchange to provide more information about how it arrived at its decision.

 

 

The leaders of shareholder groups, who spoke to our correspondent, questioned the exchange on delisting companies without engaging investors.

 

 

The Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said: “Unfortunately, the Nigerian Stock Exchange is not communicating with shareholders. As they delist these companies, they don’t care for the fate of shareholders that they are meant to protect.”

 

 

Okezie argued that although the exchange said it was protecting the shareholders, the move has been to  the detriment of shareholders in the long run, especially if the companies were going concerns but just having difficulties submitting their financials.

Okezie, who described the move as hostile, said there were many questions left unanswered.

 

 

He said: “The NSE needs to go all out to find out the exact state of the companies. To find out if they can overcome their problems in a short while rather than taking the hostile decision to delist them.”

 

 

Okezie said that market regulators must pursue friendly policies and initiatives to push the market forward.

 

 

He said that the bank nationalisation policy to a large extent affected investor confidence in the market.

 

 

He said that the current leadership of the SEC and NSE had done well with the introduction of various initiatives and zero tolerance on fraudulent capital market operators.

 

 

Shareholders under the aegis of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), who also bemoaned the delisting companies by the regulatory authorities, said it did not augur well for average investor and the nation’s capital market.

 

 

National Coordinator Emeritus, ISAN, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said: “Yes, there are some (of the companies) that look dilapidated and there are some for which I think they (the exchange) should have done a lot of consultation, especially with the shareholders because we have suffered a lot in the system.”

 

 

He said that there was need for friendly policies and regulation by capital market regulators.

Nwosu said that lack of proper compensation to investors that lost their funds during the market meltdown contributed to poor investor confidence in the market, whereas brokers were given forbearance package.

Mr. Moses Igbrude, ISAN Secretary, noted that the issue of penalties must be readdressed by market operators for confidence building.

 

 

Igbrude said that some companies had delisted from the exchange due to penalties while new companies were afraid to list.

 

 

He added that SEC and NSE should encourage companies to embrace share buy-back initiative instead of approving share reconstruction, which he said was being used by companies to rob investors.

 

 

He noted that market regulators should be fair in their regulations and penalties, adding that penalties were being paid from shareholders funds’ and was also discouraging investor confidence.

 

 

Regulators’ commitment to investor protection

 

 

SEC had recently restated its determination to ensure that investors were adequately protected in all transactions.

 

 

This was stated by Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, during a meeting with the Association of Corporate Trustees in Abuja.

 

 

Uduk, who was represented by Acting Executive Commissioner, Operations of the SEC, Mr. Isyaku Tilde, said it was the responsibility of the SEC to ensure that investors are not short changed in any transactions.

 

 

Uduk said it was to this end that the commission is taking steps to reduce transaction costs in a bid to ensure that investors do not bear unnecessary costs.

 

 

“We are doing a lot to boost investors’ confidence in our market. But I want to say that both local and foreign investors are very good for the market. For instance, the foreign investors, because they trade their shares all of the time it leads to price discovery as against the local investors that just takes a long term view on their investments.

 

 

“Investors’ fears can be of two folds, firstly they could be afraid because they feel that capital market operators will mismanage their investments, secondly is looking at the volatility of the market that makes investors sceptical.

 

 

“For the first scenario, we have a number of initiatives that we have put in place to boost investors’ confidence. We have the E-Dividend mandate system, the Direct Cash Settlement as well as multiple subscription in place.

 

 

“For the second category, investors have to take ownership of their investments. They have to be able to monitor their investments, attend annual general meetings as well as read the annual reports sent out to them,” she noted.

 

 

The Acting DG said investors were also protected through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk Based Supervision that enables SEC to supervise the operators to ensure that they do not do what they are not supposed to do.

 

 

According to her, the complaints management framework enables investors to know where to complain to and how long it takes for such complaints to be resolved. For those of the investors that are averse to risk, they should get their financial advisers to advise them properly on where to invest.

 

 

“We also advise retail investors to invest in Collective Investment Schemes and Mutual Funds because those are managed independently by professionals and they are diversified thereby reducing risks. We are committed to protecting investors in the work we do.

 

 

“We will keep working on our rules and the possibility of amending them when the need arises, we want more transparency in the market so that investors will feel comfortable and the market can be better,” Uduk added.

 

 

The NSE in an effort to achieve a world class capital market had also reiterated its commitment to maintain zero tolerance posture on dealing member firms and quoted companies on violations of rules and regulations.

 

 

This on the back of the exchange’s determination to shift gears to drive innovations centered on increasing global visibility for the Nigerian capital market in the current year.

 

 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, while speaking at an investors’ forum, said the exchange would sustain a zero-tolerance stance on dealing member firms and listed companies’ violations.

 

 

Last line

 

The regulatory action is necessary in order to protect the investing public from trading in securities of entities with no current information regarding their financial status.

 

 

It is, therefore, advisable for the regulators to carry shareholders along on all market activities in order to boost market confidence.

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FG committed to effective ballast water mgt –Dakuku

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FG committed to effective ballast water mgt –Dakuku

 

…as IMO advocates harmonised enforcement 

 

 

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he Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, 2004. He also said that NIMASA remained determined to ensure cleaner oceans and a safe, secure and environmentally sound maritime sector.

Dakuku stated these in his keynote address at the opening of a three-day regional workshop on Ballast Water Management for Anglophone West and Central African Countries, hosted by Nigeria in Lagos from Monday to Thursday. He said growing concerns about the adverse effect on the marine environment of invasive alien species produced by ballast carried by ships gave rise to the BWM convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

He said: “Since the advent of the Convention, efforts have been made to ensure effective implementation of its provisions, among which is this Regional Workshop.”

 

The NIMASA helmsman also said that Nigeria, being among the earliest countries to ratify the Convention, had taken steps to ensure its effective implementation. Such steps, according to him, include: the development and gazetting of regulations on Ballast Water Management, pursuant to the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; development of an enforcement and implementation manual on ships’ ballast water; and development of guidelines with reference to relevant IMO documents for ballast water reception facility and exchange areas.

 

Others are: development of guidelines for enforcement of violations of the regulation on ballast water management; establishment of a globally recognised and integrated ballast water testing laboratory; and development of a home-grown concept of Ballast Water Management and Ports with Acceptable Risk (PWAR), which was presented by Nigeria to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 74, in May 2019, among other initiatives.

 

Also speaking, the Secretary-General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, who was represented by the Technical Officer, Sub-Division for Prospective Measures, Marine Environment Division, Dr. Megan Jensen, noted that the marine environment and marine resources were vital to the global economy and sustainable economic growth. He said that there was an urgent need for implementation of a harmonised ballast water management regime around the world, with special focus on compliance, monitoring, and enforcement.

The Ballast Water Management Convention was adopted in 2004 to minimise the risk of species invasions through ballast water. The Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017, and, currently, 81 countries have ratified it, including Nigeria, which was among the first five countries to endorse the treaty.

The workshop had in attendance delegates from Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Gambias and Liberia.

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Meristem: Food inflation to spiral over border closure

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nalyst at Meristem has said that the current mandate for the complete closure of all land borders will further pressure the prices of foods items in the coming periods. We are of the opinion that the envisaged increase in food prices could set the progress of the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC’s) growth strategy a step back.

Meristem disclosed that the Nigerian equities market, with a P/E ratio 7.00x, remains favourably priced relative to its peers in emerging markets.

 

“With the uptick in inflation, coupled with the border closure which could incite further rise in the inflation figure, we expect foreign investors to price this into their risk assessment for the market, dampening their confidence in the space.

“…However, at the current inflation level and outlook for a further rise, we expect investors to demand a higher yield as the macroeconomic landscape remains a strong determinant of investment decisions in the year.

 

This is coming after three consecutive months of decline, Nigeria’s headline Inflation rose to 11.24 per cent in September. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.04 per cent on a Month-on-Month basis (vs. 0.99 per cent in August 2019). On a year on year basis, the food inflation rose by 13.51 per cent (vs 13.17 per cent in August 2019) and the core inflation also rose by 8.94 per cent (vs. 8.68 per cent in August 2019) apiece. “We expect an uptick in inflation to be considered at the upcoming Treasury Bills primary market auction this week,” Meristem analysts said in report made available to Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

They disclosed that the jump in inflationary trends was not unconnected to the recent regulations in the domestic economy which “has begun to weigh in on inflation figures.”

They stated that the partial closure of land borders in August inhibited the free movement of goods, resulting in an uptick in the prices of food items such as frozen foods, rice, vegetable oil and fruits, amongst others. “In September, the food price index rose by 13.51 per cent as against13.17 per cent in August, mirroring the pressure on the aforementioned items. Core price index walked a similar path, trending upwards by 8.94 per cent year-on-year, on the back of price increase in hospital services, cleaning, clothing, footwear and household appliances, amongst others.

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2018: Nigeria lost N39bn to tanker, trailer accidents –FRSC

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2018: Nigeria lost N39bn to tanker, trailer accidents –FRSC

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he Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has revealed that Nigeria lost over N39 billion in 2018 alone to trailer and tanker-related road accidents.

 

This was disclosed during the week in Lagos by the Corps Marshal of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi.

He said: “Nigeria lost N39 billion to trailer and tanker crashes in 2018 alone, with about 650 articulated vehicles involved, while over 90 per cent of them had been used for haulage transportation for over 30 years.

 

“Haulage has become the most utilized way of inter-city movements of goods and services, while the country consumes an estimated 60 million liters of refined petroleum products per day.’’

Oyeyemi also revealed the major challenges that FRSC believes to be the causes of the fatal tanker and trailer accidents in Nigeria. Some of them include: Neglect of the use of retro-reflective type of tapes (for night visibility), use of unnecessary additional lights, indiscriminate parking especially along main corridors on streets, Lane indiscipline and use of unlicensed drivers (motor boys).

 

In a general overview, Oyeyemi concluded that adhering to the new “safe-to-load” programme in the distribution of all major oil products by trailers and tankers in Nigeria will curb this depressing rate of accidents. This programme had been structured such that it only allows large vehicles in approved good condition to transport dry and wet cargoes on Nigerian roads.

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Toyota cuts CO2 emissions in new Yaris hybrid

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he styling of the new Yaris, with its prominent wheel arches and wide grille dominating the front, gives it an appealing, “ready to go” character, according to Toyota.

The new Toyota Yaris hybrid pairs a three-cylinder engine with a lithium ion battery for the first time to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20 percent compared with the outgoing hybrid, the automaker says.

Toyota Europe will offer its latest-generation Yaris small-segment car with gasoline and full hybrid powertrains. There will be no diesel version, as with the current model.

The new small car will initially be launched as a hybrid only, with gasoline versions arriving later, Toyota said in a news release on Wednesday.

 

A 20 per cent improvement over the current Yaris hybrid would reduce CO2 emissions figure to 67 grams per km, meaning its emissions would be closer to a plug-in hybrid than a standard full hybrid.

A switch to lithium-ion from nickel metal hydride has cut the battery’s weight by 27 per cent, Toyota said. Toyota did not give a figure for battery capacity.

The new Yaris is the first car to be built on Toyota’s new modular small-car platform, a variant of the TNGA platform that underpins the new Corolla compact and CH-R and RAV4 crossovers. The new platform, called GA-B, is said to improve handling thanks to increased rigidity and a lower center of gravity.

 

The platform also allows designers to create visually distinctive models with appealing proportions, Toyota said.

The styling of the new Yaris, with its prominent wheel arches and wide grille dominating the front, gives it an appealing, “ready to go” character, according to Toyota.

The new car is 5 mm shorter than the outgoing Yaris, which is 3,950 mm long. The new car is also 15 mm lower and 50 mm wider.

Toyota is strongly promoting the safety benefits of the new Yaris, describing it as the safest in its segment. The company said it is the first small car to use a center airbag, which deploys between the two front seats.

Active safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, which can brake the car automatically to a complete stop, and a lane-keeping assist. Both are standard.

Toyota will continue to build the Yaris at its Valenciennes plant in northern France. The automaker has invested 300 million euros ($330 million) to bring the TNGA platform to the plant, a move that Toyota said would increase capacity to 300,000 cars annually. The company added a third shift at Valenciennes in 2014 to bring production to 220,000 cars annually.

 

Equipment inside the Yaris includes a touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard and a 10-inch head-up display that projects information such as satellite navigation directions onto the windscreen. A heated steering wheel is also available.

Toyota describes the materials used in the interior as high quality and highlights the use of a felt trim finish on the door panels. The company said its aim was to give the interior “a sensory quality” that places more importance on colors, operation of the controls, interior ambient lighting and graphics.

 

The size of the steering wheel has been reduced slightly as part of a design layout that Toyota calls “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” because of its intention to reduce distractions for the driver.

The hybrid version of the Yaris has become a successful model for Toyota since it was first launched in Europe in 2012. Almost half of the 130,967 Yaris models sold in the first six months of this year in the region were hybrids, Toyota Europe said.

The model has had few electrified competitors in the segment, but the new Yaris will go up against the new Honda Jazz, which arrives next year as a hybrid model only. Like the Yaris, the Jazz will be powered by a 1.5-liter engine boosted by an electric motor.

Deliveries of the Yaris hybrid will start in the second half of next year.

Toyota will launch 1.0-liter and 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline models at a later date but only in selected markets, the automaker said, without giving more detail

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IMB reports 30% piracy drop on Nigerian waters

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he International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported a drop in piracy attacks in Nigeria in the third quarter of 2019. IMB said in its latest report, “Nigeria has reduced Q3 piracy attacks from 41 in 2018 to 29 in 2019,” which represents nearly 30 per cent year-on-year reduction.

This is as the Deep Blue Project, a comprehensive maritime security architecture initiated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in collaboration with the military and other security agencies, comes into operation.

The global maritime security watchdog also said there was a decrease in worldwide piracy incidents during the first nine months of 2019, compared with the corresponding period in 2018, in a fall to a five-year low.

Director of IMB, a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Pottengal Mukundan, said: ‘’119 incidents have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.”

However, according to IMB, piracy and armed robbery attacks remain a challenge in the Gulf of Guinea.

The decline in piracy and armed robbery attacks on vessels came as the Deep Blue Project, Nigeria’s Integrated Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, began to yield results. The project is handled by an Israeli firm, Homeland Security International (HLSI). It involves the training of field and technical operatives drawn from the various strata of the security services and NIMASA as well as acquisition of assets to combat maritime crime, such as fast intervention vessels, surveillance aircraft, and other facilities, and establishment of a command and control centre for data collection and information sharing to aid targeted enforcement.

The Deep Blue Project aims at building a formidable integrated surveillance and security architecture that will broadly combat maritime crime and criminalities in Nigeria’s waterways up to the Gulf of Guinea.

The timing of the IMB report also coincides with the conclusion of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC 2019) hosted by Nigeria, and coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA, under the theme, “Managing and Securing our Waters.”

With the stated objective of, among others, defining the nature and scope of coordinated responses to maritime insecurity in relation to interventions, the conference enabled global maritime leaders to review the progress made in the fight against maritime crime while charting strategies for the future.

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Border closure: IMF backs Nigeria, urges speedy resolution of issue

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Border closure: IMF backs Nigeria, urges speedy resolution of issue

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed Nigeria’s closure of its borders with some neighbouring countries over issues bordering on illegal trade.

Mr Abebe Selassie, the Director of the African Department at the IMF, gave the position at a media briefing on the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington.

He was responding to a question on whether the closure negates the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Selassie said although free trade was critical to economic growth of the continent, it must be legal and in line with agreements.

`On the border closure in Nigeria which has been impacting Benin and Niger, our understanding is that the action reflects concerns about smuggling that has been taking place.

“It is about illegal trade, which is not what you want to facilitate,’’ Selassie said.

He said the IMF was hoping for a speedy resolution of the issues as the action was already taking a toll on the economies of the country’s neighbours.

“We are very hopeful that discussions will resolve the challenges that this illegal trade is posing.

“If the border closure is to be sustained for a long time, it will definitely have an impact on Benin and Niger which, of course, rely quite extensively on the big brother next door,’’ he said.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the borders were closed to curb illegal trading activities by Nigeria’s neighbours.

Ahmed said the closure would remain in force until the country secured the commitment of its neighbours to trade agreements and treaties signed with them.

Meanwhile, the IMF director said the AfCFTA was one of the most exciting policy developments in the region in recent months.

Selassie said analyses by the Fund showed that the initiative had a “tremendous potential to facilitate higher economic growth’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IMF projected a region wide economic growth of 3.2 per cent in 2019.

Selassie said the “hard task’’ before African nations was making sure the AfCFTA was fully implemented “to facilitate the trade that we need to see between countries in the region’’.

The IMF director also commented on the continent’s high debt burden, especially from China, resulting largely from borrowing to balance budget deficits.

He explained that the Fund was not particularly wary of China, which he said “has been a very important development partner for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa’’.

“There are some counties that have borrowed extensively, and this is not just from China but from all other sources of financing either through Euro bond, domestic markets or other sources of capital.

“Yes, there are countries that have borrowed beyond what they can quickly pay, but it is important that we get this story straight.

“China has been a very important partner for many countries and remains so.

“Our concern really is more about overall debt level, not just about debt but some other things.

“One is, once you have borrowed money to invest in infrastructure, health and education, it is important you are able to capture the rate of return on that investment so that the debt can be serviced.

“What you put the debt to and how effective the investment projects that you are undertaking is really the important part of the equation,’’ Selassie said.

He added that it was also important for countries to address their “tremendous development needs avoiding debts becoming unsustainable’’.

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Forex intervention: CBN injects $325.5m into retail market

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Forex intervention: CBN injects $325.5m into retail market

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected 325.5million dollars in the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) and CNY14million in the spot and short tenured forwards segment of the inter-bank foreign market.

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Okorafor explained that the dollars intervention was for agricultural machineries and industrial raw materials.

He said the Chinese Yuan, on the other hand, was for Renminbi denominated Letters of Credit.

Okorafor further expressed optimism that the stability in the forex market would be sustained.

He assured the genuine foreign exchange users of the commitment of the apex bank towards ensuring adequate liquidity in the market.

The director disclosed that the bank on Tuesday offered authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market the sum of 100million dollars.

According to him, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the invisibles segments received the sum of 55 million dollars each.

Meanwhile, N358 was exchanged for a dollar at the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market, while CNY1 exchanged at N48.00.

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Firm files bankruptcy action against AITEO

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Firm files bankruptcy action against AITEO

Charlietam International Services Limited a Port Harcourt-based company has filed an action before the Federal High Court in Lagos to commence winding-up proceedings against the oil giant for its prolonged inability to pay a debt of N259,068,753.00 owed the company for various services rendered to AITEO between December 2017 and March 2019.
The petition was filed by the company through its Solicitors, Anthony Enyindah, Victor Okezie and Dr Dickson Omukoro of Ntephe Smith & Wills.
According to the petition made available to New Telegraph at the weekend in Yenagoa, the petition prayed the court to wind-up the company on grounds of insolvency pursuant to sections 408 and 409(a) of the Company and Allied Matters Act.
In a six paragraph affidavit verifying the petition, Mr Unye Sunday Micah, Managing Director of Charlietam International Services Limited, the petition affirmed that between December 2017 to March 2019, his company rendered services valued at ₦265,068,753.00 and was only paid the sum of ₦6million without payment advice, leaving an outstanding balance of N259,068,753.00.
The petitioner maintained that several demand letters, including those from the petitioner’s solicitors were sent to the Company’s Abuja and Lagos addresses, but AITEO refused or/failed to respond to any of the letters.
The final demand letter dated August 28 2019, was sent by the petitioner pursuant to sections 408 and 409 (a) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
In the said letter, the petitioners demanded to be paid the amount owed him and informed AITEO of an impending legal action.
The petition, accordingly read in part: “More than 21 days have since elapsed from the last demand without the Company making good the moneys owed as aforesaid.”
The petition further stated that the Company is insolvent and unable to pay its debt and your Petitioner therefore humbly prays as follows:
“That the Court, under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, winds-up AITEO EASTERN E & P COMPANY LIMITED; and for such further or other orders as this Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
Reacting to the petition, a source at the oil company said: “I have done my investigations and he is one of our contractors but what I’m doing is to make sure that I invite him here so that everything will be sorted out.”

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ILO: Self-employment, SMEs providing more jobs than ever

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ILO: Self-employment, SMEs providing more jobs than ever

report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revealed that seven in 10 workers are self-employed or in small businesses.

According to the estimates, self-employment, micro and small enterprises play a far more important role in providing jobs than previously believed.

The data, gathered in 99 countries, found that the so-called ‘small economic units’ together account for 70 per cent of total employment, making them by far the most important drivers of employment.

The findings have “highly relevant” implications for policies and programmes on job creation, job quality, start-ups, enterprise productivity and job formalisation, which, the report says, need to focus more on these small economic units.

The study also found that an average of 62 per cent of employment in these 99 countries is in the informal sector, where working conditions in general tend to be inferior, (i.e. a lack of social security, lower wages, poor occupational safety and health and weaker industrial relations).

The informality level varies widely, ranging from more than 90 per cent in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar to less than five per cent in Austria, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam and Switzerland.

The information is published in a new ILO report, Small matters: Global evidence on the contribution to employment by the self-employed, micro-enterprises and SMEs.

The report finds that in high-income countries, 58 per cent of total employment is in small economic units, while in low and middle-income countries, the proportion is considerably higher.

In countries with the lowest income levels, the proportion of employment in small economic units is almost 100 per cent, the report says.

ILO estimates draw on national household and labour force surveys, gathered in all regions except North America, rather than using the more traditional source of enterprise surveys that tend to have more limited scope.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the employment contribution of so-called small economic units has been estimated, in comparative terms, for such a large group of countries, particularly low and middle income countries,” said Dragan Radic, Head of the ILO’s Small and Medium Enterprises Unit.

The report advises that supporting small economic units should be a central part of economic and social development strategies.

It highlights the importance of creating an enabling environment for such businesses, ensuring that they have effective representation and that social dialogue models also work for them.

Other recommendations include understanding how enterprise productivity is shaped by a wider “ecosystem“, facilitating access to finance and markets, advancing women’s entrepreneurship, and encouraging the transition towards the formal economy and environmental sustainability.

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Stakeholders mount fresh pressure over housing sector bills

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Stakeholders mount fresh pressure over housing sector bills

Again, stakeholders comprising real estate developers, builders, engineers, estate surveyors and town planners are mounting pressure on the National Assembly to expedite action on the outstanding housing bills before it.

The housing bills, New Telegraph gathered, are yet to be passed by the National Assembly since 20O4.

They include the passage of Foreclosure Bill into law to legally resolve default issues in the housing sector; Review of Land Use Act of 1978; Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2018; Review of Federal Government Housing Loans Board Bill (FGHLB); Review of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme Act 1992; Review of Mortgage Banks Act 1989 ( subsumed in BOFIA); Review of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Act 1993; and Review of the Trustee Investment Act 1962.

Others are Review of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 1993; Review of the Insurance Act 2002; Review of the Investment and Security Act 1999; Review of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act 1990; Climate Change Adaptation Policy; Policy Creating the National Council on Housing for Sector Regulation; and Securitization Bill and other  affordable housing policies.

Commenting on the bills, a former General Manager of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Mr. Fonahanmi Idris, said that the various Acts should analyzed into areas of interest in the sector, adding that he was optimistic that if seen, they could be reviewed in line with current dictates.

New Telegraph also gathered that the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) was also putting the bills into priority.

Another affordable housing advocate, David Gamvwa, said it was sad that eight of the bills were initiated, prepared and sent to the National Assembly since 2004 by Professor Akin Mabogunje-led Presidential Technical Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

In his agenda setting for government, Adebayo reminded the Minister of Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that urgent passage of the outstanding bills would facilitate rapid investment in the real estate sector and drive the economy.

Besides, he called on the minister to urgently partner with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others to see that these critical bills are passed by the National Assembly.

Adebayo noted that funding has remained one of the most critical challenges for Nigeria’s housing sector, urging the minister to consider approaches that would ease access to funding low-income housing in the country.

Whether in terms of partnerships, policy developments or securing alternative finance models, Adebayo said that if access to funding could be guaranteed, a lot could be achieved in record time in the sector.

He lamented that mortgages and project constructions were stalled by limited access to funding.

He said: “Another critical mandate for the minister is to partner with relevant stakeholders in the sector to create standard data system in Nigeria that can be universally accepted to collate data, identify data gaps, integrate, optimise and expand knowledge set to meet current demands.”

This, he said should also included the adoption of high impact training that supports research and data generation by major stakeholders within the industry.

“Any plan or investment in the sector ought to be based on dependable data,” he said, quoting the stakeholders.

Adebayo urged government to facilitate process to tackle the backlog of issuance of consent and Certificates of Occupancy on Federal Government lands.

“There is the need to do more in terms of creating enabling policies around land title documentations, with government playing a larger role in assisting investors and supporting local building industries and materials,”  he said.

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