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Reps Summon Adeosun Over Alleged Oil, Gas Infractions

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  • Reps Summon Adeosun Over Alleged Oil, Gas Infractions

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement has summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun over the alleged violation of the law in the engagement of consultants for pre-shipment inspection and monitoring of crude oil and gas exports from the country.

Adeosun and the permanent secretary in her ministry are to appear before the committee led by Mr. Wole Oke by 10:00 a.m. today in the two-day investigative hearing on the issue at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Activities in the oil and gas sector are reportedly bogged down by a lack of transparency. The probe, if efficiently carried out, may be another measure at checking corruption in the industry.

Members of the committee who condemned the absence of the minister were further incensed after the Director of Legal Services in the ministry, Mr. Christopher Gabriel said he was not prepared to make submission on behalf of the ministry.

Oke, who grilled the Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Mamman Ahmad over the non-adherence to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari on due process, wondered why the bureau failed to carry out due diligence in the evaluation. He particularly accused the BPE of abdicating its responsibilities to verify claims of bidders who were allegedly ranked prequalified fraudulently in a bid to mislead the ministry.

The BPP boss, who disclosed that the prequalification process had been completed and the report sent to the finance ministry, insisted that outfits picked industry practitioners based on security reports and available information.

Oke wondered why the Ministry of Finance decided to delve into the affairs of the petroleum ministry, and queried the BPP boss for not adhering to the rule of open competitive bidding as specified by the PPA Act.

A member of the committee, Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai drew the attention of the BPP boss to how three of the firms, including Trobell International Limited owned by an individual that evaded the payment of taxes, were picked and tasked with both the inspection and monitoring of oil exports from the country.

An attempt by the Managing Director of Trobell, Mr. Thomas Sedi, who was at the investigative hearing, to distance his outfit from such infractions failed as Oke confronted him with evidence that his outfit evaded tax since it under-declared a ridiculous amount of a turnover of N795,000.00 which was a clear aberration.

Oke, who lamented that the BPP sidelined duly qualified firms in the polity, said the committee would refer the issue involving Trobell to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and the Department of State Services (DSS) to unearth the level of breaches involving the pre-qualified firms.

The Auditor- General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayime who testified before the lawmakers said he was not in the know of the entire prequalification exercise.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has reviewed the styles adopted in waging the war against corruption by the President Buhari-led administration submitting that they had failed. He advocated deterrence rather than punishment in order to permanently win the war.

Saraki made the comments in his speech at the public presentation of Senator Dino Melaye’s book titled: Antidotes For Corruption – The Nigerian Story held in Abuja yesterday. He declared that the Federal Government had not achieved much in its war against corruption because the anti-graft agencies were under pressure to demonstrate that they were working well.

“Most often, therefore, because our anti-corruption agencies are under pressure to justify their existence and show that they are working, they often tend to prefer the show over the substance. However, while the show might provide momentary excitement or even public applause, it does not substitute for painstaking investigation that can guarantee convictions,” Saraki said.

Charging the government and its officials to show more openness and accountability in their dealings, the Senate President stated: “The people are demanding more openness, more accountability and more convictions. Those of us in government are also responding, joining the conversation and accepting that the basis of our legitimacy as government is our manifest accountability to the people. We acknowledge that if we want Nigerians to trust their government again, then government at all levels must demonstrate that we are not in office for the pursuit of private gains, but to make our people happier by helping them to meet their legitimate aspirations and achieve a higher quality of life.”

On why deterrence is a better approach to fighting corruption, Saraki said: “I am convinced that we must return to that very basic medical axiom that prevention is better than cure. Perhaps, the reason our fight against corruption has met with rather limited success is that we appeared to have favoured punishment over deterrence.

“We must review our approaches in favour of building systems that make it a lot more difficult to carry out corrupt acts or to find a safe haven for corruption proceeds within our borders.

“In doing this, we must continue to strengthen accountability, significantly limit discretion in public spending, and promote greater openness,” he said.

On why the current style adopted to fight corruption is wrong, Saraki said: “The problem with that approach however, is that the justice system in any democracy is primarily inclined to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Therefore, it continues to presume every accused as innocent until proven guilty. Most often, it is difficult to establish guilt beyond all reasonable doubts as required by our laws. It requires months, if not years of painstaking investigations. It requires highly experienced and technically sound investigation and forensic officers. It requires anti-corruption agents and agencies that are truly independent and manifestly insulated from political interference and manipulation. We must admit that we are still far from meeting these standards.”

The Senate President, however, declared that tremendous progress had been made in the fight against corruption under Buhari in the last two years. “One area I believe we have made remarkable progress is that corruption has been forced back to the top of our national political agenda.

“Every day you read the newspapers, you listen to the radio, you go on the Internet, you watch the television, the people are talking about it. The people are demanding more openness, more accountability and more convictions.”

The ceremony chaired by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Umar Ghali Na’Abba, also had in attendance Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada; former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Mohammed Bello and Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, among others.

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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AB InBev Opens Applications For Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge

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The world’s largest beer company, AB InBev, has partnered with Hindsight Ventures to launch the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, which will offer startups access to venture development and grant funding.

AB InBev, which has over 500 brands and over six million B2B customers in over 100 countries, launched Beer Garage a few years ago with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

As part of this initiative, AB InBev is now launching the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, a pan-African challenge to identify hi-tech, high potential startups and founders building innovative solutions across Africa.

To do so, it has partnered with Startup Réseau, an India-headquartered global startup accelerator, which will operate the programme through its Africa-focused vertical Hindsight Ventures.

Ten startups will be selected to take part in a Global Venture Bootcamp, a three-week venture mentorship and leadership development programme that will be delivered by successful founders, industry leaders, domain experts and investors. The Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge will culminate with a demo day, which will be attended by AB InBev’s global leadership as well as Hindsight Ventures’ global investor pool. On the demo day, one African startup will stand to win US$5,000 in grant capital. All selected startups get access to US$150,000 in technology credits from partners.

“We are really excited by this partnership, which allows us to drive a pan-African program. With a billion people in the continent, over 300 million new internet users expected to come online over the next three years, a fast-growing mobile internet penetration – and now, with global venture capital money making its way to African entrepreneurs, this is a great opportunity for startups to engage with AB InBev as a partner of choice,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Startup Réseau.

Pritam Dutta, global director for fintech ventures and innovation at AB InBev, said the Beer Garage Africa Challenge was an opportunity to leverage the emerging tech startup ecosystem and funnel novel ideas into AB InBev.

“We set out to build out a stronger connect into the Africa ecosystem, find disruptive startups which could be a great pipeline for our future disruptive innovations and further accelerate our innovation agenda, delivering strong business impact,” he said.

Applications for the challenge are now open here.

Beer Garage is one of the global innovation hubs at AB InBev with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

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Merger and Acquisition

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 78.3 Billion During First Nine Months of 2021

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Refinitiv today released the Sub-Saharan African investment banking analysis for the first nine months of 2021. According to the report, an estimated US$387.5 million worth of investment banking fees were generated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first nine months of 2021, a 15% increase from the same period in 2020. 

While debt capital markets underwriting fees increased 148% to US$117.8 million, the highest year-to-date period since our records began in 2000, fees from equity capital markets underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated lending all declined from the first nine months of 2020.  Equity fees declined 17% to US$50.7 million, while syndicated lending fees declined 4% to US$148.2 million. Advisory fees earned in the region from completed M&A transactions reached US$70.8 million, down 3% from last year to the lowest first nine-month total since 2013.  Fifty-eight percent of all Sub-Saharan African fees were generated in South Africa during the first nine months of 2021, and 23% were earned from deals in the financial sector. Standard Chartered earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first nine months of 2021, a total of US$33.1 million or an 8.5% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Boosted by the US$44.1 billion Naspers/Prosus share swap in May, the value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$78.3 billion during the first nine months of 2021, more than four-times the value recorded during the same period last year and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of deals increased 4% from last year to a three-year high of 584.

M&A involving a Sub-Saharan African target reached US$61.8 billion, again lifted by the share swap to an all-time record first nine-month total, while the number of deals increased 8% over last year.  Inbound deals, involving an acquiror outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, increased 86% to US$9.6 billion, while Sub-Saharan African outbound M&A more than doubled to US$11.5 billion. With advisory work on deals worth a combined U$52.1 billion, Morgan Stanley held the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during the first nine months of 2021.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached US$971.2 million during the third quarter of 2021, the highest quarterly total in more than two years.  Despite the strong third quarter, total proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021 was down 42% from last year at US$1.2 billion, the lowest first nine-month total since 2005.   Pepkor Holdings, Lighthouse Capital and retail pharmacy chain Dis-Chem Pharmacies were among those in the region raising new equity funds from follow-on offerings during the third quarter.  There have been no initial public offerings in the region so far during 2021. Investec and Goldman Sachs share first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first nine months of 2021. 

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$37.2 billion during the first nine months of 2021, up 149% from the value recorded during the same period in 2020 and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of issues increased 33% over the same period.  US$15.2 billion worth of the bond proceeds were raised during the third quarter alone, with both Prosus and the Federal Government of Nigeria raising US$4.0 billion.  Government & Agency issuance accounted for 55% of proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021, while the financial sector accounted for 24%. Citi took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond book runner ranking during the first nine months of 2021, with US$6.0 billion of related proceeds, or a 16% market share.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank Completes Acquisition of African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited

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Africa’s leading bank, Access Bank Plc has now completed the acquisition of a 78.15 percent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana).

Access Bank announced in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank Plc.

According to the lender, the new acquisition will form part of the Bank’s nexus for trade and payments in Southern Africa and the broader COMESA trade region.

BancABC Bostwana is the fifth-largest bank in Botswana and is a well-capitalized franchise poised for growth in its local market. The lender’s achievements in the retail banking space will provide an opportunity for the Bank to deploy its best-in-class digital platforms and product suites to the benefit of BancABC Botswana’s customers and enable it to complete strongly across its core business segments.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank, “We are pleased with the successful conclusion of this transaction which will provide significant synergies by combining BancABC Botswana’s strong retail banking operation with Access Bank’s wholesale banking capabilities. It will also strengthen the quality of earnings through revenue diversification and growth in the corporate and SME banking segments for BanABC Botswana. The combination is another step towards our broader vision of becoming the world’s Most Respected African Bank.”

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