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Access Bank Zambia Limited completes acquisition of Atlas Mara

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Access Bank Zambia Limited (Access Bank) announced yesterday that it has completed its acquisition of African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited, trading as Atlas Mara Zambia (Atlas Mara) after obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals.

According to a statement from the bank, Atlas Mara is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Access Bank Zambia. Following these regulatory approvals, the two banks will continue to operate separately until all integration-related processes are finalised.

Once the merger is complete, the combined entities will become one of Zambia’s top five banks by revenue with prospects to be in the top three by 2027.

Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc said, “This marks a significant milestone for Access Bank Plc as we work towards achieving our vision of being the world’s most respected African bank./

“We are poised for success by harmonising the robust brands, rich heritage, shared values, and best practices of both companies in creating opportunities that extend to all our stakeholders in Zambia and the SADC region.”

CEO of Access Bank Zambia, Lishala Situmbeko added, “We are extremely pleased that this transaction has come to a close. By bringing together these two great businesses, we are creating a stronger, more competitive financial institution that will play a role in delivering on Zambia’s economic recovery.

“We look forward to leveraging the operational and cultural strengths of both businesses to benefit all stakeholders. As we continue to finalize the alignment of our products and services, we will ensure that our customers continue to enjoy the benefits of the broader product suite in the future.”

According to the statement, upon full integration of the two banks, customers will have access to a total of over 60 branches, 5 cash centres, 8 agencies, more than 5,300 Tenga Express Agents, and a network of over 240 ATMs across the country.

It noted that corporate customers will benefit from a larger combined balance sheet, a broader international footprint, and increased access to trade finance, treasury, international payments, and loans via the wider distribution network of the enlarged bank which today spans three continents and 21 markets.

Stakeholders will also benefit from Access Bank’s presence in the key trade corridors that connect Africa with the United Kingdom, UAE, China, Lebanon, France, Hong Kong, and India, among other things.

Atlas Mara, Acting Managing Director, Bobbline Cheembela said that combining/ with Access Bank allows us to bring together the best qualities, capabilities, and resources of both organizations.

Atlas Mara’s expansive network and contribution to the public sector and capability in global markets and treasury, combined with Access Bank’s focus on SMEs and making trade finance, treasury, and corporate lending expertise available to Zambian MNCs and SMEs has not only created an industry leader, but a champion for our country.

“We now have a better rounded and more comprehensive skill set available to us as a combined business and this enables us to better serve our customers and other stakeholders.

“Ultimately, we want to continue to deliver a holistic service offering that benefits our customers from a shared focus on financial inclusion and digital banking,”/ Situmbeko concluded.

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NDIC sustains fight against corruption with inauguration of ‘Anti-corruption & transparency unit’

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has inaugurated its Anti-corruption & Transparency Unit.

“NDIC has a culture of zero tolerance for corruption, which is further strengthened by its core values of Teamwork, Respect and Fairness, Integrity, Professionalism, and Passion,” said MD/CE, NDIC Mr. Bello Hassan.

He was represented by NDIC Executive Director, Operations Mr. Mustapha M. Ibrahim during the inauguration of the Corporation’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) by officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commi ssion (ICPC) at the NDIC headquarters in Abuja.

He said, the NDIC ACTU has strengthened the Corporation’s operational system through the implementation of various compliance measures to ensure ethics, integrity, transparency and accountability in the workplace.

He explained that the specific measures include robust Internal Controls, regular Risk Assessments, strict adherence to regulatory guidelines, and comprehensive training programs for employees.

Mr. Hassan described the inauguration as a significant step in the Corporation’s ongoing commitment in the fight against corruption and enhance transparency. He emphasised that NDIC Management remains committed to supporting ACTU activities, recognising the unit’s critical role in ensuring the Corporation’s operations are conducted with integrity, free from corruption, and fostering public trust.

The ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu who was represented by ICPC Acting Director System Study and Review, Mr. Olusegun Adigun, praised NDIC Management for their dedication and active support in establishing and advancing the activities of the ACTU to address corruption issues and foster ethical practices.

He applauded the efficiency and diligence of the NDIC ACTU in fulfilling its mandate, resulting in the Corporation retaining the first position for two consecutive years on the annual ICPC Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard.

He urged the new ACTU members to see their nomination as an opportunity to build on the good legacies of the previous members and to complement Management’s efforts in promoting the core valu es of the Corporation through their assigned duties.

He stressed the need for the NDIC Management to sustain its commitment and support to ACTU so that the Unit can perform optimally and remain a veritable tool in embedding laid down ethical standards amongst staff and sustaining a positive image for the Corporation.

Ten (10) members of staff were sworn in as members of the NDIC ACTU during the inauguration. Their key functions include annual sensitisation of staff against corruption; Conduct of System Study & Review and Corruption Risk Assessment to strengthen internal systems; monitoring budget implementation of the Corporation, co ordinating whistleblowing platforms, identifying and rewarding outstanding members of staff amongst other responsibilities.

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IPMAN hinges erratic petrol availability on allocation issues from NNPC 

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The Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says petrol availability has been erratic because of the small allocation currently allotted to its members by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

IPMAN National Vice-President, Alhaji Hammed Fasola, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Ibadan on Tuesday.

Fasola said the allocation issue has led to haphazard operations by its members, who now buy from third parties (private depot owners) at prices they can no longer afford.

According to him, NNPC has been the one bringing the product to the country and sharing it with major marketers until the involvement of the private depot owners.

He added that there had been a shortfall in the supply of the product because NNPC would naturally supply its retail outlets first.

“That is why you see a kind of on-and-off situation from the independent marketers’ filling stations.

“We still get some trucks directly, but very inadequate to the number of marketers we have.

“We are waiting for when the product will be available, especially through NNPC depots, the Port Harcourt refinery, and by the time Dangote comes up with its petrol, that is PMS.

“We believe that all these problems will be solved,” he said.

However, he said the association would continue to engage NNPC because it had been a long-term partner.

 ”We are very positive that when things come to normal, they will be giving us our due allocation,” he said.

On the issue of subsidy, Fasola said he believed there was no more fuel subsidy because the government had said so.

Many filling stations are not selling due to the unavailability of the commodity.

Others, who open for business intermittently, sell between N620 per litre to N700 with NNPC retail outlets selling at the official rate but with long queues.

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Finance Ministry launches digital incentives, evaluation platform 

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By Matthew Denis

In a significant advancement to streamline fiscal management, the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun has announced the integration of the Incentive Monitoring and Evaluation Platform (IMEP) into the Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) programme, thereby allowing for enhanced monitoring and evaluation.

This is contained in a statement signed by Mohammed Manga Director, Information & Public Relations of Federal Ministry of Finance and made available to NewsDirect on Tuesday.

“The IDEC programme strategically reduces import duty burdens for priority sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare, stimulating economic growth and national development.”

The statement stressed that integrated into the IDEC framework, the newly launched IMEP ensures that only eligible entities benefit, rigorously enforcing compliance and optimising tax expenditures to reduce waste, block leakages and enhance economic equity.

“Key features of the IMEP include an automated claw-back mechanism for recouping waivers from defaulters, real-time e-report generation and a centralised database that enhances the efficiency of our verification processes.

“IMEP aims to ensure that tax incentives are rationalised to deliver maximum economic impact, aligning with the government’s commitment to reducing waste, blocking leakages, and fostering a robust and equitable economic environment. IMEP’s precise monitoring capabilities will significantly enhance the strategic allocation of exemptions and support the government’s objective to  ultimately reduce tax expenditures.”

To acquaint all stakeholders with the upgraded IDEC framework, the Ministry of Finance will host a webinar on April 25th, 2024, by 12 noon (WAT). Key industry participants, including manufacturers, importers, and representatives from MDAs and NGOs, have been invited to engage in this session to understand the enhanced features and benefits of the IMEP. Details for the webinar will be available on the Ministry of Finance’s official website and the IDEC YouTube channel.

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