- MRA Names NSE into its ‘FOI Hall of Shame’
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) monday accused the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) of showing complete nonchalance towards the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011 as it inducted the institution into its “FOI Hall of Shame”.
MRA’s Legal Officer, Ms Chioma Nwaodike, announced the institution as this week’s inductee into the Hall of Shame, noting that the NSE has defaulted in complying with its duties and responsibilities under the FOI Act and by this action challenged the essence of the Act.
The NSE was established in 1960, originally as the Lagos Stock Exchange, and subsequently renamed the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1977. The NSE is licensed under the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and serves as the most significant source for companies to raise funds and business capital.
Nwaodike said: “Given its mission, the NSE should operate and project itself in a manner that will uphold integrity, transparency and protect the investors, thereby creating confidence in the institution. One way of doing this effectively is to observe all the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, which will enable it to be transparent and project an image of integrity.”
According to her, although the NSE has on its website names of members of its corporate governance team, detailed summaries of securities traded each week, notice to dealing members, company-specific financials, corporate actions and some market information, it has, however, failed to comply with its other obligations under section 2 of the FOI Act, which mandates it to proactively disclose certain categories of information and update them regularly.
Nwaodike observed that there is no reference to or mention of the FOI Act on the NSE’s website as the institution has treated the Law with complete disdain based, perhaps, on its initial mistaken belief that the Law was not applicable to it.
The NSE expressed the view that it is not subject to the FOI Act when Dr. Owei Ayibatonye and his four children, who had lost substantial amounts of money following an investment in an unregistered investment product, referred to as the Partnership Securities Deposit Account (PSDA) promoted by the Partnership Investment Company Limited (PICO) and Partnership Securities Limited, applied to the NSE pursuant to the FOI Act, for information and documents, relating to the Partnership Entity.
In refusing to disclose the information, the NSE claimed that it is not subject to the FOI Act and therefore not under any obligation to honour their request for information.
In the ensuing litigation at the Federal High Court in Lagos, the Court noted that the NSE exists to serve the interest of the public, which is a public function, as it was established to carry out its activities in the interest of investors and the public. Justice Ayokunle Faji accordingly ruled that “on a literal interpretation of Section 2(7) Freedom of information Act therefore, it seems to me and I hold that the Defendant (NSE) is a public institution and therefore subject to the Freedom of Information Act.”
Nwaodike noted that even in the aftermath of the Court’s decision, the NSE has not taken steps to bring itself into compliance with the FOI Act and has continued to insist that the Act does not apply to it.
She observed that in the last seven years since the commencement of the FOI Act, the NSE has failed to submit its annual reports on its implementation of the Act to the Attorney-General of the Federation as directed by section 29 of Act, adding that “its failure to comply with this mandatory requirement obviously amounts to a violation of the Law.”
Nwaodike said in addition to this dereliction, the NSE was also guilty of non-compliance with Section 2(3)(f) of the Act as it has failed to designate as well as publish the title and address of an appropriate official of the institution to whom applications for information under the Act should be sent by members of the public.
According to her, there is little doubt that the failure to designate such an official and publish his or her contact details has had negative implications for the rights of members of the public to access to information from the NSE as those interested in obtaining information from it would obviously not know where to direct their requests for information.
In any event, Ms Nwaodike said, despite its best efforts in tracking requests for information made by members of the public and the responses to such requests by the relevant public institutions, MRA is not aware of any request for information that the NSE has granted over the last seven years.
Nwaodike noted that despite the express provisions of the Law, there is also no indication that the NSE has provided appropriate training for its officials on the public right of access to information at any time in the last seven years, as it is required to do under Section 13 of the FOI Act.
Launched by MRA in July 2017, the “FOI Hall of Shame” highlights public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances, and decisions.
Union Bank Unveils Multi-Asset Trading Platform M36
Union Bank Unveils Digital Investing Platform, M36
A new digital platform designed to deliver a wide range of investment products directly to individuals and other investors, M36, has launched in Nigeria.
Through an innovative, user-friendly app, M36 offers investment options not typically available on self-service digital platforms including foreign currency transactions, commercial papers, local and foreign-denominated bonds, treasury bills and other fixed-income products.
M36 also offers bespoke solutions for both new and experienced investors as well as a 24-hour lifestyle concierge service to meet the needs of discerning customers.
In a rapidly evolving environment with changing consumer behaviour fueled by technology and growing access to information, M36 is looking to expand opportunities for investors at all levels, while also simplifying the process of investing.
M36 was developed by Union Bank as part of its strategic focus on delivering superior customer solutions leveraging technology and innovation. The bank partnered with several asset management companies to deliver a broad range of investment products on the M36 platform.
Speaking about this, Mr. Chuka Emerole, Head, Treasury at Union Bank said, “M36 eliminates the traditional barriers to investing and offers investors direct access to financial instruments that would usually require the service of an investment or relationship manager.
“We’ve designed M36 to ensure simplicity in the onboarding and investing process while also empowering the customer to make sound investment choices based on their financial objectives.
“We worked with key partners to deliver both the experience and products on M36 and are confident that we have launched a superior product in today’s marketplace”.
With the 24-hour concierge service, M36 users can access round-the-clock support from investment advisors as they actively manage their portfolios.
The bank said the M36 was a timely financial product meant to keep abreast with the rapidly evolving environment and changing consumer behavior that is fueled by technology and growing access to information.
The M36 is also part of the UBN’s strategic focus on delivering superior customer solutions by leveraging technology and innovation. The bank partnered with several asset management companies to deliver a broad range of investment products on the M36 platform.
M36 also offers loans, personal travel allowance, will and trust services and many more essential products under its Life Essentials menu.
M36 is available for download on the App Store and the Google Play Store.
Transcorp Hotels Expand into Marketplace, Launches Aura to Connect People, Hoteliers, Others
Transcorp Hotels Plc, on Thursday, announced it has launched a new digital platform, Aura, through which people can book accommodation, restaurants and experiences.
Aura, Transcorp’s first in the alternative accommodation segment, is part of the company’s asset-light model, leveraging technology to deliver true hospitality, exciting experiences, and drive shareholder value.
“It’s a new dawn in the hospitality industry! I am thrilled to introduce you to Aura by Transcorp, the digital platform we are using to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. Dupe Olusola said.
“For more than 30 years, Transcorp Hotels Plc has been at the forefront of creating a superior guest experience at our locations. Today, our commitment to innovation has offered us an opportunity to extend this beyond the hotel premises,” Olusola added.
The launch of Aura by Transcorp is one of the most significant developments in the company’s history as it seeks to transform the travel and tourism industry in Africa by focusing on three important components of travel, whether for leisure or business — where you stay, what you eat and how you spend your time. With its people-driven hospitality model, Aura is set to revolutionise travel and help remind Africans of our deep history of hospitality.
Speaking on the launch of Aura, Obong Idiong, Chief Executive Officer at Africa Prudential Plc, Aura’s technology partners, expressed his excitement. “Finding the right accommodation when you travel can be incredibly complex. Options available for the right prices are often limited, and travellers sometimes end up with accommodation that taints the travel experience. Transcorp Hotels Plc has been able to fix that with Aura and we are proud to be associated with them.”
“To ensure topnotch user experience, we built a solution to drive digital transformation through the adoption of shared living spaces for the Aura business. With an advanced search algorithm powered by artificial intelligence, Aura determines the relevance of locations taking into consideration, the customers’ preferences and requirements to meet them at the point of their needs,” Idiong added.
Priscilla Adeboye, a travel enthusiast and early adopter of Aura, said the global pandemic has pushed international travel down her list. “But I still want to be able to take some time off work or spend a weekend away from home with the family. I have found incredible homes on Aura that meet my need for space and privacy.”
Siemens Energy Nigeria Appoints Seun Suleiman as Managing Director
Seun Suleiman is the New Managing Director of Siemens Energy Nigeria
Mr. Seun Suleiman is the new managing director of Siemens Energy Nigeria, the company announced on Wednesday.
According to the statement released by the energy company, Suleiman will be responsible for the entire management of operations and decisions on business policies and corporate strategy.
Commenting on his appointment, Suleiman said, “It is an absolute honor to lead the business for Siemens Energy Nigeria and I look forward to delivering on the brand’s promise of excellence.”
Suleiman joined Siemens Energy in 2014, bringing over 15 years’ experience and deep expertise in the private sector across Europe and West Africa.
The statement said, “He is an accomplished business strategist and success-driven leader with strong business acumen. Suleiman has also been a core member of the executive management team at Siemens Energy serving in roles as Sales Director West Africa – Service Distributed Generation Oil & Gas and Vice President Service & Digital.
“Prior to this, he also held various functional and managerial positions with ABB Ltd UK, ABBNG Nigeria, Schneider Electric Nigeria and Dresser-Rand Nigeria Ltd.”
It added that Suleiman was experienced in establishing operational excellence with specific competence in the power, oil and gas sectors.
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