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Ex-bankers’ N9.2b Suit Against CBN, Others for Hearing Dec. 13

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  • Ex-bankers’ N9.2b Suit Against CBN, Others for Hearing Dec. 13

The over 14,000 ex-staff of banks who filed a suit against the Central Bank of Nigeria following their retrenchment in 2006 as a result of the banking consolidation exercise would have the opportunity of taking their pleas at the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court in December 13, 2017.

The ex-bankers lost their jobs in 2006 when the apex bank revoked the operational licences of 13 commercial banks for failing to attain the N25bn capitalisation threshold then introduced and enforced by the apex bank.

Specifically, the former bankers, amongst other things, wants all their entitlements and terminal benefits, which they put at N9,166,424,276, from four commercial banks, which acquired the eight banks for which they were working prior to the 2006 capitalisation.

The eight banks whose lincences were revoked in 2006 are All States Trust Bank, Hallmark Bank, Gulf Bank Plc, Liberty Bank, Metropolitan Bank,Trade Bank, Assurance Bank and Eagle Bank.

Included as defendants in their suit marked NIC/LA/603/2016 before Justice Benedict Kanyip are the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, the CBN, and the four commercial banks – Ecobank Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc, Skye Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc – which acquired the eight banks for which the claimants were working prior to the 2006 capitalisation policy by the CBN.

The erstwhile bank workers are urging the court to declare that the NDIC and the CBN acted contrary to the law and prejudiced their interests while entering into agreements with Ecobank, UBA, Skye Bank and Zenith Bank, to sell the assets of their former employers.

The claimants are contending that it was unlawful and wrong for the NDIC and the CBN to sell the assets of the eight banks to Ecobank, UBA, Skye Bank and Zenith Bank, without also transferring the liability of paying the terminal benefits of the disengaged bank workers to Ecobank, UBA, Skye Bank and Zenith Bank.

The lawyer to the claimants, Dotun Onafowope, argued that both the NDIC and the CBN misunderstood their roles and misapplied the law in the 2006 consolidation exercise by categorising the eight non-consolidated banks as failed banks.

It would be recalled that the ex-bankers had earlier approached the court under the aegis of the Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Ex-Staff of Non-Consolidated Banks of Nigeria, but Justice Kanyip had questioned the possibility of the claimants coming before him as a group registered under the Corporate and Allied Matters Act as opposed to as individuals.

Taking the court’s hint, Onafowope, at the recent proceedings, brought an application dated June 30, 2017, seeking to substitute the group with names of 847 individual claimants.

However the matter could not proceed due mainly to the absence of the NDIC lawyer, who had written to the court that he was indisposed.

But before adjourning the matter till December 13, 2017, Justice Kanyip noted that the claimants’ lawyer, Onafowope, had to convince the court that there was even a competent suit before the court that could be substituted with another.

He asked whether the claims of the ex-bank workers were not statute barred against the NDIC and the CBN in view of the Public Officers’ Protection Act, which he said gave a window of only three months to file a suit against an action taken by a public officer.

Besides, he sought to know whether the claimants had not been caught by the six years’ limitation for the other defendants.

But Onafowope said though the consolidation took place in 2006, it was January 2011 that the claimants were supposed to be paid their terminal benefits, adding that the consolidation had been concluded as the assets of the acquired banks were still being advertised.

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.

Crude Oil

COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

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COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.

In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.

The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.

Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.

She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.

She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.

Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.

“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.

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Commodities

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

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Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.

Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.

The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.

Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

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Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.

According to Michael McCarthy, the Chief Market Strategies, CMC Markets, the surged in gold price is a result of the projected drop in dollar value or uncertainty.

He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”

As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.

Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.

Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.

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