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FG issues licenses to IIM, certifies Data Protection professionals

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By Matthew Denis

On Monday, The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) granted a license to the Institute of Information Management (IIM) to administer exams and certify future data protection professionals in the country.

The NDPC National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Vincent Olatunji handing over the certificate to the institute in Abuja stressed that the move aims to address the significant capacity shortfall of over 500,000 professionals in the data protection field and reduce the expenses associated with obtaining certification overseas.

The Commissioner explained that the initiative will help to generate more jobs in the country and prevent capital flight.

He said, “When we started in 2021 by advertising, four organisations applied within the organisation. We invited them for presentations and we are choosing the best. They have gone through a lot of technical sessions with us, evaluating the platform that they are going to use, discussing with their staff on the process, just to ensure that we have the best for the country.

“What the country stands to gain from this process, is  the fact that we are promoting executive order articles 003 and 005 to promote local content in Nigeria. Most of us who are certified in data protection have international certifications.

“We had to pay in dollars to write exams, and to maintain our certification on a regular basis. So, we are trying to domesticate this in Nigeria to have a national certification process. More importantly, looking at our number in the country and looking at the number of data protection professionals that we are going to produce in the country.

“We are looking at over 500,000, which we cannot afford to allow capital flight in this area. More importantly, with the current technology, we are looking at a way that this process will become a pan-African initiative, whereby data professionals, when they have the national certification process that we have in Nigeria, will be able to practice in any part of Africa.

“So it is a way of creating jobs for our people, a way of reducing capital flights, a way of developing globally competitive human capital data privacy and protection ecosystem. We are also going further to develop the training manual, which is unique to us. And that is why all the trainers in Nigeria will be using it.

“It will also create jobs for both already licensed data protection compliance organisations who will now be accredited to trained professionals that will prepare to write these exams, And looking at the integrity, the pedigree of the organisation that we have chosen, this is really important to us.

“And that is why the process was long. And we are happy that today, we are making history,  a major milestone, and the data privacy protection ecosystem continues. And we are leaving a legacy that is going to be very robust and stand the test of time and that will be comparable or even be better than anyone in any part of the world.”

While responding, President of the Institute, Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole, praised the Commission for enhancing the country’s data protection standards.

He noted that his organisation underwent a rigorous licensing process and pledged to fulfill its responsibilities diligently to the Commission.

“I want to assure the NDPC and the National Commission that we will not disappoint by putting in our best as usual to evolve as the best certification platform for data protection in Africa.

“You can be rest assured that IIM will deliver as promised and  I want to appreciate you for giving us this opportunity, and we hope to continue to work with the commission.”

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Otedola buys a 2.22% additional stake in First Bank Holdings

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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

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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

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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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