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Dangote, Onyema responsible for recovering economy – Agbakoba



A former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has said that the economy is beginning to turn, showing signs of recovery.

This is even as he suggested that the turning points now witnessed in the economy is due to the efforts of just two persons – Aliko Dangote and Allen Onyema, CEO Dangote Group and CEO of Air Peace Airlines, respectively.

He said the forex market reacted to Dangote Refinery commencing sales of diesel and Air Peace flying to the UK, as the Naira strengthened against the dollar.

Agbakoba, who said that Nigeria’s economy has gone through very challenging times over the past year, noted that inflation reached 28.92 per cent in December 2023, the highest in 27 years.

The former NBA chairman opined that the much-needed relief for Nigerians will occur if this trend continues.

In a post on his X handle on Friday, the legal expert noted that the development raises the issue of putting the private sector at the center of economic development.

He, therefore, advised the government to withdraw from business, stressing that the nation must move immediately from consumption to production.

In the post titled, ‘IS THE ECONOMY BEGINNING TO TURN?’, Agbakoba said, “Nigeria’s economy has gone through very challenging times over the past year. Inflation reached 28.92% in December 2023, the highest in 27 years. Food inflation rose to 33.93% in December 2023.

“The naira depreciated significantly, losing 25% of value in a single day in June 2023 when the government removed pegging to the US dollar. This made imports much more expensive.

“Removal of fuel subsidies in May 2023 caused petrol prices to jump by 196% practically overnight, from ₦189 to ₦557 per litre. Prices went through the roof!

“According to the World Bank, accelerating inflation pushed an additional 24 million Nigerians into poverty in the first five months of 2023. By late 2022, 63% of Nigerians (133 million people) were considered multidimensionally poor.

“Major foreign companies like Procter & Gamble, GSK, and Bayer stopped manufacturing and scaled back operations in Nigeria, due to tough operating environment. This resulted in massive job losses.

“However, there may be signals the economy may be turning?

“Dangote refinery commenced sales of diesel, significantly increasing supply and crashing prices significantly. Diesel prices dropped from about ₦1,700 per litre to around ₦1,350 per litre. This was just by pumping 100 million litres. Dangote plans to pump another 100 million litres. Diesel prices may dip below N1000. Dangote announced plans to begin sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by May. This will significantly bring down prices. Experts predict petrol prices to crash by at least 25% to N400.

“Additionally, @flyairpeace, with the support of Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation, finally broke through the reciprocity barrier in aviation. Air peace is now flying to the UK. Ticket prices monopolized by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic crashed by at least 60%.

“The forex market reacted to all these. The Naira strengthened against the dollar. Experts suggest the price of the dollar may well fall below ₦1000 in the coming months. If this trend continues, much-needed relief for Nigerians will occur. The Central Bank of Nigeria may potentially review the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by Q4.

“It is notable that the turning points now witnessed in the economy, is the work of just two persons (Dangote and Onyema). Imagine what 10, 20 or 50 private sector individuals can do. This raises the issue of putting the private sector at the center of economic development. Government must withdraw from business. We must move immediately from consumption to production. Q4, 2024, may look on the bright side but it is still early days.”

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Otedola buys a 2.22% additional stake in First Bank Holdings



Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, the Chairman of First Bank Holdings, has acquired an additional 2.22 per cent stake in First Bank.

This was disclosed in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Group on Monday.

The development comes barely four days after Otedola regained his position as the majority shareholder of First Bank after acquiring N18.9 billion worth of the group’s shares on the Nigerian Exchange on Thursday.

Otedola acquired 316,506,776 shares at a share price of N21.91 each, amounting to N6.935 billion and 546,674,034 shares at N21.97 each, amounting to N12.01 billion, through his holding company, Calvados Global Services Limited.

Earlier, FBN announced the appointment of Olusegun Alebiosu as its substantive Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

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Seafarer: Oyetola leads ITF, Minister, NIMASA DG, others for commemoration in Lagos



By Seun Ibiyemi

All is set for Nigeria to join other nations across the globe in celebrating the Day of the Seafarer 2024.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his counterpart Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha will be leading other dignitaries including the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola and the head ITF seafarer’s Trust Fund Katie Higginbottom to the commemoration scheduled to take place in Lagos.

Speaking ahead of the event, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola urged Nigerians to participate in this year’s celebrations adding that the use of #SafetyTipsAtSea on all social media platforms will ensure adequate exposure to Nigeria’s celebration of the Seafarers day in line with the Theme of the IMO.

In his words: “Seafarers are the unsung heroes of our global economy, I will even describe them as the lifeblood of international trade, they sacrifice a lot for humanity’s existence as they leave their families for months for our sake.

“Let us celebrate their resilience, dedication, and the invaluable role they play in our world. This day belongs to them, let us use the Hashtag #SafetyTipsAtSea for all our social media posts so that Nigerian Seafarers will feel appreciated,” he stated.

The 2024 commemoration is another way of bringing to the fore the importance of Seafarers as essential workers and the IMO has set this date specifically for the celebration of these special occupations.

This year’s theme also aligns with the Agency’s drive to protect Nigerian seafarers and create more opportunities for those willing to take a career in seafaring.

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Access Bank Ghana posts impressive growth in income, assets



Access Bank Ghana Plc held its 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at its head office, marking a year of exceptional performance and growth. The Board Chairperson of Access Bank (Ghana) Plc, Ms. Ama S. Bawuah, presented the financial statements, highlighting the Bank’s impressive performance despite the challenging macroeconomic environment.

Access Bank Ghana’s total assets grew to 22.3 per cent, from GHS 10.057 billion to GHS 12.30 billion, while operating income increased by 40 per cent from GHS1.150 billion to GHS 1.613 billion. The Bank’s Loans and Advances rose by 42.81 per cent.

Ms. Bawuah said, “In 2023, Ghana’s economy was characterised by macroeconomic instability, escalating inflation, and dwindling investor confidence stemming from both domestic imbalances and external pressures. Against the backdrop of global and national economic uncertainties, I am pleased to share that your bank successfully applied valuable insights and industry best practices to achieve substantial growth across key areas in the past year.”

“These achievements underscore our steadfast dedication to navigating challenges and fostering sustainable growth, reaffirming our pledge to serve you with excellence and integrity,” Bawuah added.

Access Bank’s commitment to expansion, innovation, and customer convenience was also showcased, with the implementation of several digital products and services such as the virtual relationship management (VRM) tool to augment customer service support.  The Bank also established priority desks to cater to a specific demographic and facilitate the smooth running of business in those areas. These include the Chinese, German, Lebanese, French, and Turkish desks.

Olumide Olatunji, Managing Director, Access Bank Ghana Plc, reiterated the Bank’s resilience and stability. “Despite the prevailing uncertainties, Access Bank maintained a robust performance across key financial metrics, a testament to our prudent financial management and unwavering dedication to our mission. We observed substantial growth in deposits, surging from GHS7.399 billion to GHS9.130 billion, marking a notable 23 per cent increase.”

He added that the Bank achieved a remarkable turnaround by resuming tax remittances to the government. This reversal from a negative contribution of GHS102 million to an impressive 509 per cent increase to GHS419 million underscores our commitment to fiscal responsibility and sustained growth. Concurrently, shareholders’ funds experienced substantial growth, from GHS1.014 billion to GHS1.403 billion, attributed to the transformative strategies implemented in the Bank’s business management practice.

Olatunji thanked shareholders for their support and emphasised the Bank’s commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. “We are proud of our achievements and recognise the trust our customers and shareholders have placed in us. We will continue to innovate, expand our reach, and support Ghana’s economic growth,” he noted.

Mr. Sampson Ashong, the General Secretary of the shareholders praised the Bank’s performance and initiatives citing its resilience and growth potential. “I am thoroughly impressed with the bank’s commitment to sustainability initiatives and employee capacity building. The dedication to creating a positive impact on the environment and society, while investing in the growth and development of their staff is truly commendable. This is evidence that Access Bank is not just focused on financial returns, but also on making a positive difference in the world,” he said.

Shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda, which included among other things, also saw the re-election of the members of the Board of Directors and one retirement.

The event was a celebration of the Bank’s dedication to its stakeholders and its contribution to Ghana’s financial landscape. As Access Bank Ghana continues to grow and expand its operations, it remains committed to promoting financial inclusion and supporting the country’s economic development.

Since 2009, Access Bank Ghana has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable business practices driving profitable, sustainable growth that is environmentally responsible and socially relevant. These have contributed to the Bank being recognised with various awards in 2023. These include the 2023 Best Bank by Euromoney Awards, Best Retail Bank by Global Brands Awards, Best Digital Bank in Ghana by Digital Banker Africa Awards; and Best SME Banking and Best Bank for CSR by Euromoney Awards.

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