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CBN, AMCON sell Polaris Bank to Strategic Capital Investment

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) have formally announced the completion of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of 100 per cent of the equity in Polaris Bank by Strategic Capital Investment Limited (‘SCIL’).

This is coming as the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the sale of Polaris Bank, noting that the acquisition followed laid down procedure and the relevant presidential approval.

A statement signed by  Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications and posted on CBN website on Thursday, said the sale was concluded after a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of 100 per of the equity in the bank by SPA.

Reports state that Polaris has been operating as a bridge bank since 2018 when the CBN intervened to revoke the license of the former Skye Bank Plc.

It also established Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities.

As part of the CBN intervention, consideration bonds with a face value of N898 billion (future value of N1.305 trillion) was injected into the bridge bank through the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), to be repaid over a 25-year period.

These actions were taken to prevent the imminent collapse of the bank, enable its stabilisation and recovery, protect depositors’ fund, prevent job losses and preserve systemic financial stability.

It said SCIL had paid an upfront consideration of N50 billion to acquire 100 per cent of the equity of Polaris Bank.

The statement further said it had also accepted the terms of the agreement, which included the full repayment of the sum of N1.305 trillion, being the consideration bonds injected.

It said, “The CBN thus received an immediate return for the value it has created in Polaris Bank during the stabilisation period, as well as ensuring that all funds originally provided to support the intervention are recovered.

“The sale was coordinated by a Divestment Committee (the ‘Committee’) comprising representatives of the CBN and AMCON, and advised by legal and financial consultants.

“The committee conducted a sale process by ‘private treaty’, as provided in Section 34(5) of the AMCON Act to avoid negative speculations, retain value and preserve financial system stability.”

According to the statement, in the process, parties who had formally expressed an interest in acquiring Polaris Bank, subsequent to the CBN intervention in 2018, were invited to submit financial and technical proposals.

“Invitations to submit proposals were sent to 25 pre-qualified interested parties, out of which three (3) parties eventually submitted final purchase proposals following technical evaluation.

“All submissions were subject to a rigorous transaction process from which SCIL emerged as the preferred bidder having presented the most comprehensive technical/financial purchase proposal as well as the highest rated growth plans for Polaris Bank,” it said.

Commenting on the transaction Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele, Governor of CBN said: “This sale marks the completion of a landmark intervention in a strategic institution in the Nigerian banking sector by the CBN and AMCON.

“We commend the outgoing board and management for their vital role since the bridge bank was established; in stabilising the bank’s operations, its balance sheet and implementing strong governance structures to address the issues that led to the intervention.

“This process has provided the CBN with an unprecedented opportunity to recover its intervention funds in full and promote financial stability and inclusive growth.

“We wish SCIL well as they implement growth plans to build the bank from the strong foundations that have been established.”

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NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers

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…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event

By Seun Ibiyemi

It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.

With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.

Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.

According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”

Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”

On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.

In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).

Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.

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LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.

Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.

Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.

Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.

She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.

She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.

“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.

 ”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.

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Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.

According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.

Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.

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