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ATCON Faults CBN Over $8.1b Refund Order to MTN

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  • ATCON Faults CBN Over $8.1b Refund Order to MTN

The Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has faulted the order to refund $8.1billion handed to MTN Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saying the apex bank has no power to do so.

Its President, Oulsola Teniola, in an email report, said the cash in question belongs to MTN in the first place, wondering what the CBN wants to achieve by its order.

The CBN has accused MTN of untidy business transactions involving alleged repatriation of $8.1billion which it ordered the carrier to refund, while the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation has also issued demand notice of $2billion unpaid taxes over a 10-year period to the telco.

Four local lenders alleged to have facilitated the repatriation were also sanctioned by the apex bank but MTN has strongly denied both allegations, adding that it had the clearance of the apex bank and a clean bill of record with the tax authorities.

Teniola said the industry does not understand what the CBN intends to achieve by the directive to an operator on which it has no regulatory oversight.

He said: “It is very important to note that the figure referred to has almost been fully paid by MTN and that the $8.1billion doesn’t belong to CBN but belongs to MTN. So, on this basis, it is hard to understand what CBN seeks (to achieve) by its demands on MTN that it doesn’t have regulatory oversight over.”

On how the logjam could be resolved, he said dialogue and transparency would do the magic.

“Clarity, transparency and continued dialogue among CBN, the banks and MTN to amicably resolve this matter in the interest of the wider stakeholder community, especially, potential investors closely watching developments on this issue.

“At the moment, processing of CCIs (Certificate of Capital Importation) is shrouded in confusion in what should be a relatively straight forward process in between the banks and CBN their regulator.

According to him, there is no likelihood that MTN refund such huge cash because of its timing.

He said: “A refund is very unlikely. The size of the demand and timing is unreasonable and not in the interest of the country. After all, the Naira equivalent will have to be returned to MTN Nigeria. It is then an interesting situation that this seeks to redress events that occurred when CBN had full oversight and approved the transactions. How do they intend to do that?”

According to Teniola, the matter should be between the banks and the apex bank and not necessarily the banks’ customers (MTN).

“This I believe is a matter that should be in between the banks and CBN and not the client of the banks. NCC may decide to intervene if events unfold that threaten the survival of MTN and the telecom industry that they regulate. For now, it is too early to see which way this will take,” he said, adding, however, that he is not in an official capacity or position to quantify or qualify the impact of the development to corporate brand of the telco.

“I fully believe MTN will continue to engage with the relevant authorities to resolve this latest setback,” Teniola said.

CBN, had in a letter to MTN, said its investigation revealed that the shareholders of the telco invested $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2001 to 2006, which was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfers and equipment importation, as evidenced by the CCIs issued by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Citi Bank (CB) and Diamond Bank (DB); and the CCIs issued at the time of the investment by the above banks to MTN for $402,590,261.03 showed that $59,436,923.44 was invested as shareholders’ loan and $343,153,339.56 as equity.

“However, a review of your organisation’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2007 revealed that $399,594,146.00 was recorded/invested as shareholders’ loan and $2,996,117 as equity investment, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement but contrary to the CCIs issued by the banks.

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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Siemens Energy Nigeria Appoints Seun Suleiman as Managing Director

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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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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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