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CBN Clarifies Capital Injection in Polaris Bank

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  • CBN Clarifies Capital Injection in Polaris Bank

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday clarified its injection of N786 billion into Polaris Bank Limited, a new commercial bank that assumed the assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank.

A top official of the apex bank who spoke on condition of anonymity, said out of the above-mentioned sum, Polaris Bank would refund the N350 billion the CBN previously injected in Skye Bank when it intervened in the bank about two years ago.

Thus, the new bank would be left with N436 billion to stabilise its operations, contrary to the insinuation that a total of N1.136 trillion had been injected in the bank.

The CBN at the weekend revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc exactly 27 months after it intervened in the financial institution. Also, in consultation with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), both regulators immediately established and licenced Polaris Bank, to assume all assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank.

But the central bank source explained: “When we took over Skye Bank in 2016, we injected about N350 billion. So, from the N786 billion we are bringing in now, Polaris Bank would pay off the N350 billion that had been given to the defunct bank. So, the net injection is just about N436 billion.

“The CBN is injecting something close to capital because the money is going to be there for almost 25 to 50 years. Even though it is a loan, it is not like what was done in 2011, where the money went into a hole and it sank.

“It is not like a grant that is going to sit in CBN balance sheet as a loss. We are treating it as a loan.”

The central bank official reiterated that they took the action on the defunct bank because, “We felt that Skye Bank cannot continue to live on liquidity support from the CBN, but to inject money into the bank.”

He added: “But to do so, you must change the name so that the shareholders of the defunct bank don’t come back to say they own a bank, when the new bank starts doing well.

“The bank they owned was Skye Bank, which has been liquidated.”

Responding to a question on why the board and management of the former bank were retained in the new bank, the source said, “It was deliberate, and we don’t want to do something that is destructive.

“The CBN brought in that management team as we were trying to stabilise. The previous management and board were fired at that time. “But this new board and management has worked and cooperated with the central bank and they have tried to take the bank to a better level.

“The bank has stabilised in terms of haemorrhage. That was why we decided to coast into the new bank, Polaris Bank, with them.”

When reminded that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) which had been mandated to sell the new bank as soon as it stabilises has a sunset period, the source said: “First of all, we shouldn’t bother about time frame. Yes, some others have also said the sunset of AMCON is about 2024. If by 2024 it is not sold, whether we like it or not, it is a CBN bank presently.

“Until we have gotten value for our money, we are not going to let it go. If anybody thinks that after sinking such huge amount into the bank, the CBN would sell it to them at a very small amount, they are dreamers. If it stabilises, we would sell it to Nigerians, possibly on the stock exchange and get out our money.”

Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Bank, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, and the Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Ahmad, in a joint statement at the weekend, urged its customers across the country not to panic.

“All depositors shall be able to conduct their normal banking transactions in respect of such deposits at all branches previously operated by Skye Bank Plc, which branches are now being operated by Polaris Bank Limited,” the bank explained.

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They assured customers of liquidity, saying customers “are free to withdraw all their monies without any prejudice, though should endeavour to keep faith with the bank.

“All depositors are further given notice that they are entitled to make withdrawals from their deposits either in full or in part, subject only to any security agreement existing on such deposits, as their accounts are now maintained by Polaris Bank Limited.

“Depositors are strongly encouraged to continue to maintain their deposits and normal banking relationship with Polaris Bank Limited.

“Polaris Bank Limited shall continue to pay interest on all deposits in accordance with any deposit agreement formerly existing between each depositor and Skye Bank Plc as at the date of assumption of such deposit by Polaris Bank Limited.”

Depositors Fully Protected, NDIC Insists

In a related development, the NDIC has explained that it collaborated with the CBN to carry out the bridge bank option in order to ensure that depositors in Skye Bank are fully protected.

According to the Managing Director of the corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, customers’ deposits with Polaris Bank remain insured under the NDIC Act and the customers of Skye Bank can also continue to transact their businesses with Polaris Bank Limited, thereby ensuring the non-disruption of their banking transactions.

“The real job is that of ensuring that the bridge bank is nurtured to a point where it gets investors and is sold.

“Polaris Bank Limited, has been issued operating licence by the CBN and shall commence banking business from the 21st of September 2018; while the operating license of Skye Bank has been revoked.

By the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the NDIC has commenced the processes for its liquidation.”

He stressed that the adoption of the bridge bank model guarantees that most of the employees of that bank would not lose their jobs and would continue their employment with Polaris Bank Limited under fresh contracts of employment.

“The NDIC, as deposit Insurer, acted to ensure the continued safety of depositor’s funds in furtherance of the regulatory authorities resolve to proactively manage potential threats to financial system stability.

The NDIC hereby assures depositors and customers of the defunct Skye Bank that their deposits are safe and hereby encourages them to continue to transact their normal banking business with Polaris Bank,” Ibrahim added.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Peter Obi Advocates for Full Government Backing of Dangote’s $21bn Refinery Project

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Peter Obi, a prominent Nigerian politician and public figure, has called for unwavering support for the Dangote Refinery amid recent conflicts between Dangote Industries and government agencies.

In a passionate appeal, Obi said the current disputes extend beyond political and personal differences, touching upon the broader interests of Nigeria’s economy and its future prosperity.

In his statement on X.com, Obi highlighted the refinery’s immense potential to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities.

With an estimated annual revenue potential of approximately $21 billion and the capacity to generate over 100,000 jobs, the Dangote Refinery represents a cornerstone of Nigeria’s industrial advancement and economic stabilization.

“The recent challenges faced by Dangote Industries should not overshadow the vital role this enterprise plays in our national economy,” Obi asserted.

“Alhaji Dangote’s contributions are monumental, and it is essential that we rally behind his ventures, particularly the refinery, which is set to make a significant impact on our fuel crisis and foreign exchange earnings.”

The refinery, with its strategic importance, stands as a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s fuel supply and overall economic development.

It is poised to address long-standing issues in the energy sector, provide substantial revenue streams, and enhance the country’s economic resilience. Given these benefits, Obi stressed that any actions hindering the refinery’s operation would be counterproductive.

Obi also commended Alhaji Dangote for his remarkable achievements across various sectors, including cement, sugar, salt, fertilizer, infrastructure, and more.

“Alhaji Dangote embodies patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s growth. His extensive industrial activities are not only a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit but also a vital contribution to Nigeria’s economic landscape,” he added.

Despite the challenging business environment, Dangote’s diversified industrial investments demonstrate a commitment to Nigeria’s industrialization and job creation.

Obi urged the Federal Government and its agencies to offer full support to Dangote Industries, recognizing the broader economic benefits and the positive impact on national welfare.

“The success of Dangote Industries is intrinsically linked to the success of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. We cannot afford to let such a crucial enterprise falter,” Obi warned. “Every sensible and patriotic government should view enterprises like Dangote Industries as national treasures that deserve robust support and protection.”

Obi’s appeal underscores the critical need for collaboration between the government and private sector leaders to ensure the successful operation of key projects like the Dangote Refinery.

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Dangote Accuses NNPC and Oil Traders of Secret Operations in Malta

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Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, has leveled serious allegations against personnel from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and certain oil traders.

Speaking at a session with the House of Representatives, Dangote claimed that these parties have established a blending plant in Malta, raising concerns about the integrity of Nigeria’s fuel supply.

Dangote described the blending plant as lacking refining capability, instead focusing on mixing re-refined oil with additives to produce lubricants.

“Some of the terminals, some of the NNPC people, and some traders have opened a blending plant somewhere off Malta,” he stated.

He emphasized that these activities are well-known within industry circles.

Addressing the drop in diesel prices, Dangote argued that locally produced diesel, with sulfur content levels of 650 to 700 parts per million (ppm), is superior to imported variants.

He linked numerous vehicle issues to what he described as “substandard” imported fuel.

He called for the House of Representatives to set up an independent committee to investigate fuel quality at filling stations.

“I urge you to take samples from filling stations and compare them with our production line to inform Nigerians accurately,” Dangote insisted.

The accusations come amid an ongoing dispute between the Dangote Refinery and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Farouk Ahmed, NMDPRA’s chief executive, had previously claimed that local refineries, including Dangote’s, were producing inferior products compared to imports.

Also, the House of Representatives has initiated a probe into allegations that international oil companies are undermining the Dangote Refinery’s operations.

In response to the escalating tensions, Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, intervened by meeting with key stakeholders including Dangote, Ahmed, and other top officials from the Nigerian petroleum regulatory bodies.

The discussions aimed to address claims of monopoly against Dangote, which he has strongly denied, and to ensure that all parties operate transparently and fairly.

This development highlights the complex dynamics within Nigeria’s oil industry. The allegations and subsequent investigations could impact market stability and investor confidence.

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Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Ready to Sell Refinery to Nigerian Government

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Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneur, has announced his willingness to sell his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to Nigeria’s state-owned energy company, NNPC Limited.

This decision comes amid a growing dispute with key partners and regulatory authorities.

The $19 billion refinery, which began operations last year, is a significant development for Nigeria, aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

However, challenges in sourcing crude and ongoing disputes have hindered its full potential.

Dangote expressed frustration over allegations of monopolistic practices, stating that these accusations are unfounded.

“If they want to label me a monopolist, I am ready to let NNPC take over. It’s in the best interest of the country,” he said in a recent interview.

The refinery has faced difficulties with supply agreements, particularly with international crude producers demanding high premiums.

NNPC, initially a supportive partner, has delivered only a fraction of the crude needed since last year. This has forced Dangote to seek alternative suppliers from countries like Brazil and the US.

Despite the challenges, Dangote remains committed to contributing to Nigeria’s economy. “I’ve always believed in investing at home.

This refinery can resolve our fuel crisis,” he stated, urging other wealthy Nigerians to invest domestically rather than abroad.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority accused Dangote’s refinery of producing substandard diesel.

In response, Dangote invited regulators and lawmakers to verify the quality of his products, which he claims surpass imported alternatives in purity.

Amidst these challenges, Dangote has halted plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry, citing concerns over monopoly accusations.

“We need to focus on what’s best for the economy,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and innovation.

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the potential sale of Dangote’s refinery to NNPC could reshape the nation’s energy landscape and secure its energy independence.

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