- Heritage Bank is Not Distressed, Says CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday dismissed reports that Heritage Bank was in distress and unable to discharge its obligations to depositors.
The apex bank said in a statement issued by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, that Heritage Bank was not in distress.
The CBN called on depositors of Heritage Bank to disregard the reports and continue doing business with the lender.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the CBN has been drawn to false and malicious stories on the social media insinuating that Heritage Bank is under financial distress and therefore unable to discharge its obligations to its depositors.
“We wish to state that Heritage Bank is not in distress and, as such, its depositors should go about their transactions without fear. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to further state that no Nigerian bank is in distress.
“The CBN, as the industry regulator, has a duty to depositors, in particular, and the economy in general, to ensure the soundness of all financial institutions.
“We, therefore, wish to assure all depositors of the safety of their deposits.”
The apex bank also said that it would continue to ensure the soundness and safety of the Nigerian financial system.
Okoroafor added, “The CBN also wishes to state that it will remain alive to its responsibility of ensuring banking system stability and soundness through constant monitoring and supervision of all licensed institutions.
“The CBN wishes to reiterate that the banking system remains resilient enough to weather the current economic storm.”
In a related development, Heritage Bank on Tuesday night refuted the claims of its inability to meet its obligations to customers.
The bank said while it acknowledged the challenging operating environment currently being experienced in all sectors of the economy, it remained financially stable and had continued to discharge its obligations to all customers and stakeholders.
Heritage Bank’s statement read in part, “This position is buttressed by the commendable results posted by the bank in the past financial year and the last three quarters of 2016, resulting in shareholders’ approvals to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange within one year of its business combination with the erstwhile Enterprise Bank Limited.
“The bank wishes to assure all customers and stakeholders of the safety of their deposits and financial transactions in line with our commitment to a strong service culture and sound corporate governance practice.”
An online media outfit, Saharareporters, had on Monday reported that Heritage Bank was currently stuck in a debilitating liquidity situation.
It quoted sources as saying that the bank was unable to meet customers’ immediate withdrawal requests and had wiped out all foreign currency domiciliary accounts through physical theft of cash by the bank’s directors.
It was further reported that First Bank Nigeria Limited, which handles Heritage Bank’s universal clearing activities, had threatened to blacklist the lender and stop further clearing transactions if its outstanding deficit of over N5bn was not cleared.
According to Saharareporters, out of about 500 Automated Teller Machines of the bank in the Lagos metropolis, only 138 were dispensing cash, adding that the bank lacked the money to feed the other machines.
It reported that the bank’s situation was further worsened by boardroom intrigues, tribal politics and ownership tussle.
The report claimed that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had ensured that these misdemeanours were kept hidden due to political pressure by the owners of the bank, and because the apex bank did not want to give the appearance of further distress in the banking sector following the recent crisis at Skye Bank.
Ecobank Partners NiDCOM to Mobilise Nigerians Abroad for National Development
In a bid to fulfill it’s objectives and mandate, the Pan African Bank has promised to support Nigerians living and working abroad through it’s partnership with NiDCOM.
The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has stated that the bank is privileged to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM) and will continue to pursue one of its key mandates of helping to enhance the economic development and integration of Africa through its support to Nigerians living and working abroad.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series with Ecobank as the sole banking partner which took place on Saturday, 8th May 2021, he noted that Ecobank remains a critical bridge for Nigerians abroad, as it has made huge investments in the necessary platforms to enable them connect with home seamlessly. The event held online and had over 2000 participants from across all the continents in attendance.
“Nigerians in the diaspora play a major role in nation building, their contribution goes a long way to catalyse economic development. For us at Ecobank, we are a pan-African institution positioned to foster the economic growth and integration of our continent, so we are particularly pleased to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), ably led by the Chairman/CEO, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa”.
“We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian living abroad is able to remit home seamlessly and affordably, access viable investment opportunities and as the financial institution of choice for Nigerians abroad, we have deployed the necessary resources to actualise this.” He stated.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was also present, reiterated the readiness of the government to collaborate with Nigerians in the diaspora, highlighting the new processes put in place to facilitate passport issuance, noting that all backlog of passport applications would be cleared by the end of May 2021.
Also speaking, the Hon. Minister of State, Foreign Affairs Amb. Zubairu Dada said harnessing the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in the diaspora towards the socio-economic, cultural, and political development of Nigeria can no longer be ignored. He pointed out that the Nigerian diaspora community is well educated, resourceful, skilled, and exposed to global best practices.
The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa explained that the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series is projected to be a major aspect of national discourse, where Nigerians abroad can be kept abreast of the government’s policies, programmes and projects.
Increase in Price Boosts Revenue of Dangote Sugar by 41.5 Percent in Q1 2021
Revenue of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc rose by 41.5 percent to N67.394 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 from N47.643 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2020.
According to the leading sugar manufacturer, the increase in revenue was a result of the increase in the price of sugar in the first quarter. The company claimed price adjustment was necessary to mitigate the negative effect of inflation and depreciation on the company.
Volumes only rose by 5.7 percent during the quarter despite a 41.5 percent increase in revenue, meaning the increase in price was the main sales catalyst.
In the company’s unaudited financial statements, gross profit grew from N12.721 billion in Q1 2020 to N18.044 billion in Q1 2021.
Similarly, operating profit stood at N15.884 billion, up from N10.747 billion posted in Q1 2020.
Finance cost more than double from N1.353 billion in Q1 2020 to N3.412 billion in Q1 2021.
Dangote Sugar’s profit before tax rose from N9.509 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter to N11.949 billion in the quarter under review.
The company paid N3.646 billion in income tax, slightly higher than N3.137 paid in the same quarter of 2020.
Profit for the period grew from N6.372 billion in Q1 2020 to N8.302 billion in Q1 2021.
Commenting on the company’s performance, Dangote Sugar said “EBITDA increased by 34.7% to N17.02 billion (2020: N12.64 billion) on account of increased earnings. Group profit after taxation for the period increased by 30.3% to N8.30 billion (2020: N6.37 billion) reflecting management’s unrelenting drive to deliver consistent shareholder value.”
On price increase, the company hinged it on series of devaluation carried out in 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), escalating inflation, port congestion and rising in price of global sugar. Dangote Sugar said its imported raw sugar from Brazil under Federal Government’s backward integration plan.
“We have continued to witness high cost of raw materials, energy costs and other input costs due to rising inflation and FX rate fluctuation. Further cost escalation is anticipated in the year as inflationary pressure mounts,” the company said.
FBN Holdings Suffers 39 Percent Drop in Profit to N15.6 Billion in Q1 2021
FBN Holdings Plc profit after tax declined by 39 percent from N23.140 billion recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to N15.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
In the leading financial institution’s unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Exchange Limited, gross earnings declined by 14.5 percent to N137 billion in the period under review, down from N160 billion filed in the previous quarter.
Similarly, net interest income declined from N60.253 billion achieved in Q1 2020 to N52.793 billion.
Net interest income after impairment charge for losses also dipped from N50.547 billion in Q1 2020 to N39.619 billion in Q1 20201. While net fee and commission income rose from N20.773 billion in Q1 2020 to N28.427 billion in Q1 2021.
Profit before tax declined by 34 percent to N18.906 billion in the quarter under review, down from N28.680 billion posted in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
FBN Holdings paid N3.285 billion in income tax in the first quarter of 2020.
Therefore, profit for the period stood at N15.621 billion. While Net Assets contracted from N765.2 billion to N764.8 billion.
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