Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Compliance Unit on Tuesday stormed the headquarters of Fidelity Bank Plc in Lagos in connection with the ongoing investigations into the $115m (N23bn) scam involving the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, and the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Punch reported.
A top executive of the bank confided in our correspondent that the CBN officials visited the bank’s headquarters as part of investigations into the deal.
This, according to the source, will further help both the apex bank and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the ongoing investigations.
It was gathered that the visit by the compliance unit of the apex bank to Fidelity Bank was to compare transaction documents with the presentation made by the committee.
These, it was learnt, would be compared with the statement made to the EFCC by the embattled managing director.
When contacted, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, promised to find out about the visit and get back to our correspondent.
Calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone almost an hour later were not replied as of the time of going to press.
The Board of Directors of the bank had on Monday announced the appointment of the Executive Director, North, Alhaji Mohammed Balarabe, as the Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive of Fidelity Bank with immediate effect subject to regulatory approval.
During the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, Alison-Madueke allegedly invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups.
Meanwhile, shares of Fidelity Bank fell by almost eight per cent to a two-month low of N1.08 on Tuesday, the first day of trading this week
World Bank Rates Nigeria Low on Infrastructure
Despite the huge borrowing, the World Bank has rated Nigeria low on infrastructure. While asserting that the country’s infrastructural deficit would likely reach $3 trillion in the next 30 years, the bank noted that Nigeria’s development index is among the lowest in the world.
According to the public finance review report prepared by the world bank, Nigeria was ranked 132 out of 137 countries on infrastructure. Going by the current rate of expenditure allocation for infrastructure, the Washington Based bank noted that “it would take 300 years to close the country’s current infrastructure gap”.
“Closing Nigeria’s infrastructure gap would cost at least four percent of GDP growth per year.” the report added.
Investors King understands that infrastructure deficit and lack of basic amenities are some prevailing problems facing the country. These problems among others have created a negative impact on the economy.
In November 2022, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) also noted that the lack of key infrastructure development has impeded the country’s growth potential over the years.
The CIBN’s chairman, Ken Opara stated that “Over the years, the public infrastructure deficit in Nigeria has become an issue of major concern. Generally, infrastructure is the foundation on which economic activities thrive. According to the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic Report released in 2011 titled “Nigeria Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective”, about 40 percent of the productivity are caused by infrastructure constraints”.
Similarly, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo while seeking the collaboration of the private sector disclosed that Nigeria will need $2.3 trillion to bridge the country’s infrastructural deficit.
Osinbajo who spoke in August 2022 during the inauguration of the National Council on Infrastructure stated that only an effective collaboration with the private sector and key development stakeholders can help to beat the gap.
The Vice President thereafter used the event to highlight some of the infrastructural achievements of the present administration which include the second Niger bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road.
Access Bank Unveils New Debit Card For Women
Access Bank created a new type of card for women in business
One of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria, Access Bank has unveiled a new debit card specifically designed for women entrepreneurs to celebrate their uniqueness and speciality.
The unveiling took place at the Grand Finale of “W’’ Initiative’s Womenpreneur Season 4 in Lagos yesterday, Investors King learnt.
Speaking at the sideline of the event, Access Bank Chairman, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika noted that the new debit card is an innovation to identify with women particularly, women entrepreneurs.
“Everyone globally likes to have an identity. Not just an ordinary identity but an identity that makes you unique and gives you an opportunity to spend in a unique way and have an assurance that you are recognised,” she noted.
“With the WCard, a card meant for women , women of integrity, women who can go out there and stand on their own in the business world and for women who are able to walk in the lanes of integrity like access bank believes.’’ she added.
While introducing the W Branded Debit Card, Access Bank Head of Marketing and Communication, Chioma Afe stated that a survey was conducted to identify his women want to be differentiated. This survey was what led to the new debit card purposefully designed for women.
Chioma further noted that Access Bank values its female customers and a dedicated card is the least the bank can do to identify with them.
“At Access bank, we already had unique offerings for our female customers, so why not a debit card? when you hold it, it is not just Access, it says you are female, you are strong, you are impactful, you are innovative and you are inspiring and inspirational,” she stated.
Speaking at the event “W” Initiative and Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton, the Managing Director of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna noted that the pitch programme which is now in its Season 4 has recorded tremendous success since its inception.
According to Roosevelt, the programme “(is) a vision to support women-owned businesses to catalyse growth for the economy and make Nigeria a better place”.
Finance Minister Accused Budget Office of Padding
The budget office added N206 billion to the budget of Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC)
The Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) has been alleged of being behind the recent budget padding totalling about N206 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed in a statement issued by the ministry.
Investors King had earlier reported that some ministries and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC) had raised alarm about padding in their respective budget proposal.
Reacting to the development, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance, seeking clarification.
Therefore, when appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations, the Minister of Finance noted that the error emanated from the Budget Office of the Federation.
According to the statement released by the Ministry of Finance, the Minister told the legislators that “there was an error in the budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as the N206 billion captured in the budget proposal of the ministry was wrongly coded by the Budget Office”.
She added that “the N206 billion alleged insertion, which had generated serious reaction within the week, was for the national social safety nets project funded by the World Bank and domiciled in the Humanitarian Ministry,” the statement read.
Zainab further clarified that the figure in question was not a deliberate act of budget passing but an oversight.
“The wrong coding resulted in the item being wrongly captured as ‘purchase of security equipment but that it had nothing to do with Budget padding, but an oversight,” she said.
Meanwhile, the House of Committee has berated the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for her failure to appear before various committees of the House to defend the ministry’s 2023 budget proposal.
The committee thereafter advised her to resign if she was not capable to do her job.
“Most times the committee calls the minister, she refuses to come. If she is not ready for the job, she should quit,” the committee chairman stated.
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