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States Back FG on Probe of Bailout Spending

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  • States Back FG on Probe of Bailout Spending

The decision of the Federal Government to audit the utilisation of the N510bn stimulus package that was disbursed to states last year has received the backing of the commissioners for finance of the 36 states of the federation.

The endorsement was confirmed by the Chairman, Forum of Finance Commissioners of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, Mahmoud Yunusa.

Yunusa, while speaking during an interview in Abuja on the sidelines of this month’s FAAC meeting, said the states would cooperate with the audit firms appointed by the government to carry out the exercise.

The Federal Government had last month appointed eight accounting firms to evaluate the rate of compliance by state governments with the implementation of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which they signed onto in June last year.

A total of 35 states signed onto the plan, with Lagos being the only one that backed out of the agreement.

The appointment of the firms was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, through a statement issued by the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Dambatta.

The eight accounting firms are PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG Professional Services, Ernst & Young, PKF Professional Services, Muhtari Dangana & Co., S. S. Afemikhe & Co., Ahmed Zakari & Co., and Ijewere & Co.

The FSP is a condition given by the Federal Government before it commenced the disbursement of the N510bn budget support facility to the states to enable them pay their workers’ salaries.

Before the conditional loan was released by the Federal Government, about 27 states were unable to pay the salaries of their workers.

Reacting to the development, Yunusa said the scarcity of resources to implement the programmes of government owing to the economic recession had made it imperative for the states to be prudent and transparent in the area of financial management.

He said, “The plan of the Federal Government to audit the fiscal sustainability plan of the states is welcome. It is welcome because we have nothing to hide in the states. The resources are no longer there; and so, whatever resources that we have must be effectively, transparently and judiciously used for the benefit of the people.

“The expectations of the people are very high and the resources are very lean day-by-day; and so, we have to add value to the people. People are clamouring for change and we have to look for a way to ensure that the lives of people are changed.”

Yunusa pledged that the states would work with the Federal Government to address the current recession in the country.

Yunusa, who is the Commissioner for Finance in Adamawa State, said the target of the states now was to generate enough revenue internally to pay salaries.

He gave an assurance that once this was done, whatever allocation received from the Federation Account would be used by the states for capital projects.

He said, “The recession is a problem but we should see it as a blessing in disguise, because before now, all the states relied solely on the Federal Government; but now, because the money is no longer there, we are now forced to look inward for the opportunities and potential in our respective states and how to exploit them.

“We have to reduce the cost of governance and plug all the loopholes in our expenditure. This problem has helped us to look at our revenue and restructure our expenditure to fit into the realities that we have on the ground.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Finance

Herbert Wigwe Wins Banker of the Year at African Banker Awards 2021

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Herbert Wigwe - Investors King

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, has won African Banker of the Year at the just concluded African Banker Award 2021.

The CEO won for the second consecutive year following series of creative acquisitions and continental strategies deployed at deepening banking transactions in Africa.

Through his strategic move, Access Bank is now present in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank. As a result of its rapid growth in the last decade, Access Bank has become one of the largest retail banks in Africa with over 40 million customers.

Below is a Complete List of African Banker Award Winners 

Sustainable bank of the year
Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt

Infrastructure deal of the year
Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility
Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB

Deal of the year – Equity
Privatisation of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd
FBNQuest

Deal of the year – Debt
African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility
MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Award for financial inclusion
Trust Merchant Bank, DRC

African Banker Icon
Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital

Finance Minister of the year
H.E Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco

Award for Innovation for Financial Services
Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme

Energy deal of the year
Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

Agriculture deal of the year
USD 400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

African SME Bank of the Year
Ecobank

Best Regional Bank in Africa
North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco
West: Banque de Développement du Mali
East: Equity Bank, Kenya
Central: BGFI, Gabon
Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique

Investment Bank of the Year
ABSA

Central Bank Governor of the Year
H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa

Lifetime Achievement
Felix Bikpo

African Bank of the Year
Standard Bank Group

African Banker of the Year
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank

For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit: www.africanbankerawards.comAfr

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Banking Sector

Innovation and Resilience Common Themes Amongst Winners of African Banker Awards 2021

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African Banker Awards 2021 - Investors King

Winners of the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards were announced today at a virtual awards ceremony. The Awards, since 2013, are held during the Annual meetings of the African Development Bank, the event’s High patron, which are taking place also virtually between 23rd and 25th June.

The Awards have become the most respected and recognised industry event celebrating African banking achievements. The organisers this year put an emphasis to recognise and reward institutions that contributed to the real economy which has suffered from the impact of Covid-19 as well as contributed to women empowerment on the continent.

Herbert Wigwe won for the second consecutive year African Banker of the Year. Access Bank is now present in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank. As a result of its rapid growth the last decade, Access Bank has become one of the largest retail banks in Africa with over 40 million customers.

Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaâboun, won Finance Minister of the Year. He was recognised for the exceptional work of his ministry which coordinated an exemplary response to the economic impact from the crisis, helping to protect both lives and livelihoods. The fiscal stimulus provided has cushioned the impact of the pandemic. The ministry managed to crowd in both public and private sector resources that were used to support the most needy.

Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa, was awarded the Central Bank Governor of the year. Under his leadership, the Reserve Bank has managed to act decisively but also, the Committee noted, in a measured way, managing both upside and downside risk.

Felix Bikpo earned the Life Achievement Award for his long and distinguished career. When asked for his outlook on the future of the continent, he remained upbeat saying technological developments and also the human capabilities that we have developed in Africa are cause for optimism.

Charlie Robertson, chief economist at international investment bank Renaissance Capital won the African Banker icon category. In his remarks he noted that it was important to drive up savings rates to help spur greater investments on the continent, if Africa is to replicate the Asian miracle.

Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher of African Banker said: “I was really impressed by the entries this year. It showed that the banking sector is healthy and resilient which will be critical if it is to support the economic recovery post-COVID. What will be fundamental to our recovery is the support of the real economy, especially SMEs, and also a focus on more equity investments and investments in general. For that, as our African Banker Icon suggested, we will also need to increase our savings rate across the continent. If I had one comment on the winners, it was dominated by men this year. However I should add that the institutions that were recognised in our ceremony all had strong gender programmes, both in terms of supporting women-led businesses but also strong programmes to promote women and have women leaders within their organisations.”

This year the Awards were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Banque du Développement du Mali and technology partner TagPay.

THE 2021 AFRICAN BANKER AWARD WINNERS 

Sustainable bank of the year
Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt

Infrastructure deal of the year
Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility
Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB

Deal of the year – Equity
Privatisation of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd
FBNQuest

Deal of the year – Debt
African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility
MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Award for financial inclusion
Trust Merchant Bank, DRC

African Banker Icon
Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital

Finance Minister of the year
H.E Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco

Award for Innovation for Financial Services
Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme

Energy deal of the year
Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

Agriculture deal of the year
USD 400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

African SME Bank of the Year
Ecobank

Best Regional Bank in Africa
North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco
West: Banque de Développement du Mali
East: Equity Bank, Kenya
Central: BGFI, Gabon
Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique

Investment Bank of the Year
ABSA

Central Bank Governor of the Year
H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa

Lifetime Achievement
Felix Bikpo

African Bank of the Year
Standard Bank Group

African Banker of the Year
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank

For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit: www.africanbankerawards.com

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Banking Sector

Standard Bank Group to Bring Together Over 600 delegates in Search For Africa’s Next Phase of Growth

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Standard Bank Group is bringing together international investors, policymakers and top African corporates to look ahead to the opportunities in a growing Africa. The 11th Africa Investors’ Conference (AIC), held in collaboration with ICBC Standard Bank, is being held over 5 days from 21-25 June.

Standard Bank Group has partnered with Microsoft to power the conference’s virtual format, using the Teams platform to host over 3,000 meetings between African corporates and institutional investors over the five-day period. Attendees will hear a keynote address from Samer Abu-Ltaif, Corporate Vice President and President, Microsoft MEA, on why Africa’s speedy adoption of tech will help to drive growth on the continent.

Continuing on from the successful approach pioneered at last year’s conference, the virtual format enables record numbers of individuals to participate. In 2020, a total of over 2,800 meetings which attracted over 40 corporates were facilitated. This year is set to be the biggest yet, with at least 25 percent more African corporates confirmed to attend.

Further enhanced by the attendance of some of Africa’s leading policymakers and speakers from prominent organisations in Africa and globally, the agenda-setting conference provides a virtual platform for equity investors such as AIG, Jefferies and JP Morgan to meet in select groups and identify investment opportunities with some of the continent’s most successful corporates, including Nampak, MTN, Anglo American Platform, Liberty Holdings and many more.

Key insights will be delivered during the conference’s flagship plenary sessions which will feature His Excellency, the Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr. Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Lesetja Kganyago, Governor, South African Reserve Bank and Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala.

With the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in mind, this year’s conference is distinctly forward looking, and will track the opportunities on offer to investors and corporates under the themes of Africa’s People, Progress and Potential. Topics to be covered will range from digital infrastructure, sustainable technology advances, the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA), specific opportunities within Mozambique, Ghana and South Africa, as well as economic overviews for many African countries.

The policymaker country sessions will cover the latest monetary and fiscal policy reforms while the thought-leadership sessions will cover countries, sectors, current issues and trends to showcase the opportunity for investment and growth across Africa.

“Despite the trying and unique circumstances last year, we were able to bring together a wealth of policymakers, corporates and investors committed to the long-term prosperity of Africa. We are confident of similarly strong engagement this year and looking forward to facilitating productive conversations regarding the investment opportunities across the continent,” says Kenny Fihla, CEO of Wholesale Clients, Standard Bank Group.

The conference will highlight the rapid acceleration of Africa’s fintech capabilities. Managing Director of Zeepay, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, and Tony van den Berge, Managing Director EMEA Emerging Markets, Amazon Web Services, will deliver insights on the technological growth of Ghana and South Africa.

This year’s event is the first since the ratification of the AfCFTA. Representatives from Standard Bank Group, the United Nations and leading African corporates will join a session analysing the transformative effect the AfCFTA will have on intra-Africa trade and the long-term prosperity of the continent.

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