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Court issues warning to CBN,NCC over Etisalat

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has warned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Telecommunication Commission (NCC) and others involved in the transaction for the sale of troubled telecom firm Etisalat (9mobile) against taking further steps to conclude the sale.

The warning was informed by the claim by some aggrieved investors that despite a subsisting order of the court, made on October 10, last year, by Justice Binta Nyako, barring parties to the transaction from taking further steps pending the determination of the suit, the CBN, First Bank, and others have allegedly sold the firm and transferred its ownership.

The warning by the court is contained in Form 48 issued by the court’s Registrar, on institutions listed as defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/288/2018 filed by the aggrieved shareholders, through Afdin Ventures Ltd and Dirbia Nigeria Ltd.

The Form 48 reads: “Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in the order of the Federal High Court number three, Abuja, made on the 10th of October 2018 ordering parties to maintain status quo, with regard to the sale of Etisalat Nigeria Limited (rebranded 9mobile), you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

The affected defendants are Karington Telecommunications Ltd, Premium Telecommunications Holding NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria, Etisalat International Nigeria Ltd (trading under the name and style of 9mobile) and the Nigerian Communication Commission.

The aggrieved subscribers, who claimed to be major investors in Etisalat, said they were excluded from the firm’s decision making and therefore want a refund of their investment estimated at $43,330,950.

Afdin and Dirbia, in newly filed court documents, alleged that the defendants have not only sold the company, despite the existing restraining order, but they have also effected a transfer of ownership to a new set of buyers.

They exhibited newspaper publications, indicating that the defendants have allegedly proceeded with the sale in breach of the pending court order.

The aggrieved shareholders, in a pre-action notice issued by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), are threatening to institute fresh suits against the CBN, NCC and First Bank in an effort to retrieve their investment and accrued interest.

The pre-action notice, copies of which were sighted in Abuja, were addressed to the CBN Governor and NCC Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer.

Part of the notice reads: “The intending plaintiffs, who are shareholders in Etisalat Nigeria Ltd, having purchased a total number of 1, 300,391 at $13,003,910 only and 3,300,004 Class A shares at $30,030,040) intend to sue for the recovery of their investment, dividends on their shores, and damages for breach of contract.

“Please kindly recall that, by the custodian agreement, all the shares certificates of the plaintiffs were kept under your custody.

“However, you have failed to exercise your role in good faith leading to the sale of Etisalat Nigeria Limited to Teleology Nigeria Ltd, at the detriment of our clients.

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Billionaire, Otedola sells off Forte Oil

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Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola has revealed that he has sold his interests in Forte Oil.

Otedola made the revelation on Wednesday on his verified Instagram handle, adding that he has moved on from being a player in the petroleum industry to focusing on his power generation business.

The businessman, who shared photos of the different brand changes that the oil company had undergone, wrote: “A few years ago, my team and I embarked on an arduous task of transforming a moribund petroleum marketing business, African Petroleum Plc (formerly British Petroleum) into Forte Oil Plc; a leading integrated solutions provider with solid footprints in downstream petroleum marketing, Upstream Services and Power Generation and one in which we built intrinsic value to the benefits of our shareholders.

“In line with my principle of business focus, we have divested from our marketing and upstream businesses and shall from now on focus and consolidate on the gains of our power generation business, Geregu Power Plc.

“We wish our successors the very best and urge them to build on our legacies which have been established since 1964.”

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CBN says foreign investment is on the rise

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Total capital flows to Nigeria between January and May 2019, stood at $14.2 billion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revealed last night. Of the aforementioned amount, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) accounted for $2.87 billion, representing 20.18 percent of the total amount.

The CBN revealed this in a statement that was signed by its Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor while reacting to a Reuters report which stated that FDI in the country dropped last year.

The apex bank said its attention was drawn to the news item on Reuters quoting the World Investment Report, 2019, recently released by UNCTAD on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to African countries.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to the news item on Reuters quoting World Investment Report, 2019, recently released by UNCTAD on FDIs to African countries,” the statement said.

The UNCTAD report had alleged a decrease of over 40 percent in FDI inflows to Nigeria in 2018.
The CBN statement added: “While the CBN is not privy to the methodology used in arriving at the figures, we wish to state that available records show a significant increase in FDI in Nigeria during the period 2018, contrary to the Reuters’ report.

“For instance, in 2018, the total capital inflows to the country stood at $19.07 billion out of which FDI accounted for $7.78 billion.

“Furthermore, total capital flows to Nigeria, from January to May 2019 stood at $14.2 billion of which FDI accounted for $2.87 billion, representing 20.18 percent of the total amount.

“The country continues to enjoy steady capital flows due to the prevailing stable macroeconomic environment and sustained investors’ confidence in the economy.

“Against this background, we wish to urge the public to take advantage of several publications by the CBN and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which give adequate and accurate statistics on the subject matter,” the statement added.

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Inflation rate rises to 11.40%

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The inflation rate rose to 11.40 percent (year-on-year) in May 2019 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.

According to the report, this is 0.03 percent points higher than the rate recorded in April 2019 (11.37 percent). Increases were recorded in all 12 Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions, that yielded the Headline index. On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.11 percent in May. This is a 0.17 percent rate higher than the rate recorded in April 2019 (0.94 percent).

“The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12 months period ending May 2019, over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was 11.30 percent, 0.01 percent points from 11.31 percent recorded in April 2019. The urban inflation rate increased by 11.76 percent (year-on-year) in May 2019 from 11.70 percent recorded in April 2019, while the rural inflation rate increased by 11.07 percent in May from 11.08 percent in April. On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.15 percent in May, up by 0.15 points from 1.00 percent recorded in April 2019, while the rural index also rose by 1.07 percent in May 2019, up by 0.17 from the rate recorded in April 2019 (0.90 percent).

“The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index was 11.66 percent in May. This is less than the 11.69 percent reported in April, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in May is 10.99 percent compared to 11.00 percent recorded in April.

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431 Nigerian companies indebted to AMCON

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Sixty-Two debtors are owing to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) N10 billion and above each, the agency has said.

The corporation was established on July 19, 2010, when AMCON Act was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan, with a mandate to acquire bad loans from banks, pay the banks and recover the loans from the debtors.

But eight years into its operation, the corporation is being owed N10 billion and above by each of the 62 high-profile debtors. The debt represents 40 percent of the 12,537 obligors.

AMCON said that 431 debtors, representing 37 percent of the debtors, owe between N1 billion and N10 billion; 1,998 debtors, constituting 16 percent of the total obligors, owe between N100 million and N1 billion while 10,046 debtors, representing seven percent of the total obligors owe between N100 million and below bringing the total number of bad loans under AMCON management to 12,537.
AMCON was created to be a key stabilizing and re-vitalizing tool aimed at reviving the financial system by efficiently resolving the non-performing loan assets of the banks in the economy.
The corporation has in the last eight years of operation, bought Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) worth N5.4 trillion from banks.

There is N3.8 trillion AMCON Bond held sorely by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and this is expected to mature by 2023.

AMCON’s Managing Director Ahmed Kuru announced that the corporation has so far recovered N1 trillion from the bad debtors, and the agency was doing everything within the ambit of the law to recover the remaining debts.

But recovering the remaining debts from billionaire debtors, who are taking strategic steps to ensure they do not payback will remain an uphill task, and perhaps impossible.

Financial pundits insist that since it took AMCON eight years to recover N1 trillion out of the N5.4 trillion bad debts, it is doubtful if it could recover the substantial amount by 2023, which is its sunset timeline. The N1 trillion recovery represents a meager 18.51 percent of the total debt portfolio.

Speaking on AMCON operations and results achieved so far, a Board Member at Standard Bank Group, South Africa, Atedo Peterside, said that one-third of the money that the Federal Government squandered on AMCON can resolve most of Nigeria’s social and economic problems including fixing the power sector.

Peterside who did not elaborate further on AMCON’s operation, spoke during ‘A Consultative Roundtable with The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor’ tagged: ‘Going for Growth’ held in Lagos.

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