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CBN, MTN Near Deal Over $8.1bn Fund Transfer

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MTN
  • CBN, MTN Near Deal Over $8.1bn Fund Transfer

MTN Group Limited is close to securing a deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria over an order to repay $8.1bn it is alleged to have illegally taken out of the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg reported that a settlement might be sealed by Monday and could come as early as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorised to comment publicly.

The CBN is set to meet four lenders of MTN Nigeria to discuss a dispute over an $8.1bn fund transfer, a banking source told Reuters.

It was gathered that the CBN emailed invitations on Thursday to the Nigeria Heads of Standard Chartered, Citibank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Diamond Bank, to attend a meeting on Friday, the source added.

The central bank and the banks declined to comment on a potential meeting on Friday while a spokeswoman for MTN said she did not know of a meeting.

The source said the meeting would start at 4 pm on Friday and focus on MTN’s fund transfer.

The CBN in late August had alleged that MTN and four of its banks – Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc – illegally repatriated $8.1bn from Nigeria while the office of the Attorney General of the Federation claimed the company failed to remit $2bn back taxes.

The CBN also imposed a total fine of N5.87bn on the four banks for allegedly remitting dividends with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation on behalf of MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria Communication Limited has sued the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Lagos, demanding N3bn as general and exemplary damages.

The telecoms firm is challenging the August 20, 2018 letter written to it by the AGF, demanding N242bn and $1.3bn as import duties, withholding and value added taxes.

The firm, in the suit filed through its lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described the AGF’s N242bn and $1.3bn demand from it as “malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis.”

MTN contended that in writing the demand letter to it, the AGF acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017.

MTN, through Olanipekun, is urging the court to declare that the AGF acted illegally by “usurping the powers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to audit and demand remittance of withholding tax and value-added tax.”

The firm also wants the court to declare that with the “self-assessment exercise,” the AGF usurped the powers of the Nigerian Customs Service to demand payment of import duties on the importation of goods.

It wants the court to declare that “the purported self-assessment” conducted by the AGF was “unknown to the law, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

But the AGF has filed a preliminary objection, urging the court to dismiss MTN’s suit.

The AGF, through his lawyer, Mr T.A. Gazali, argued that MTN’s suit was incompetent, having not been filed within three months of the complaint.

Gazali argued that MTN’s suit breached the provisions of Section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act, “which provides that any action commenced against a public officer must be made within three months from the commencement of a cause of action.”

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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NAHCO Recalls Suspended GMD/CEO, Mrs Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi

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NAHCO Recalls Suspended GMD/CEO, Mrs Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi | investorsking.com

Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi Resumes Work With NAHCO

The Board of Directors of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has recalled Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, who was suspended over Management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from vendor within the contracted period and Management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonable long delay.

Mrs. Fagbemi was suspended by the Board at a meeting held on 27th of January 2021 in line with the Board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by 2nd February 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer.

Since Mrs. Fagbemi commenced her suspension on February 3rd, 2021, Mr. Olumuyiwa A. Olumekun, the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, has been acting as the GMD/CEO, according to a statement put out by the company.

It said “the Board is however pleased to inform the investing public and the Exchange that on, Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the Board at its emergency meeting today, February 24, 2021, has recalled the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi from the suspension and she has resumed work.”

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Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

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Petrol Importation

Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

Businesses have started feeling the negative impact of the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil, known as diesel.

A single litre now goes for N250 in some parts of Lagos, with businesses taking a beating on the back of rising energy costs.

Our correspondent observed that some filling stations in Lagos had increased the price of the product to N250 per litre, while many others sold it at between N220-N245.

Northwest Petroleum along the Oshodi-Apapa road increased the pump price of diesel to N250 per litre; AP (Ardova Plc), along Airport road, Ikeja, N248; and Oando, along Acme Road, N240.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its AGO price report on Tuesday, said the average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.22 per cent to N224.86 per litre in January 2021 from to N224.37 in December 2020.

It said states with the highest average price of diesel were Adamawa (N268.33), Zamfara (N262.78) and Kebbi (N257.50).

“States with the lowest average price of diesel were Osun (N194.60), Anambra (N195.83) and Enugu (N198.24),” the NBS added.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government means that the pump prices of the products will reflect changes in the international oil market.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, has risen by more than 25 per cent this year from the $51.22 per barrel at which it closed last year. It rose to $65.25 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time on Tuesday.

Diesel is mostly used by businesses to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid.

The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr Femi Egbesola, lamented that the recent increase in the price of diesel was taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.

“The cost of diesel and raw material is giving us a nightmare. The price of diesel has been skyrocketing in a way that creates fear in particularly manufacturers,” he told our correspondent on Tuesday.

According to him, it is difficult for businesses to factor all the increase in diesel price in their final product prices.

Egbesola said, “That is why a lot of companies are downsizing and are making sure that they only produce products that they are so sure will sell in the market.

“Many companies have reduced their product lines significantly just to be able to cope. And that is not good for us because by the time this goes on, unemployment will increase. I believe government should be able to do something about this.”

He said although the downstream petroleum sector had been deregulated, there should be checks and balances.

Egbesola said many small businesses’ savings had been eroded already because ‘we keep spending our savings to make sure we don’t close shop’.

He said, “If things continue this way, there is no way we are not going to close shop. We are still struggling with the recent increase in electricity tariff.

“Many small businesses still depend so much on diesel generators because there is no alternative power supply. It is only the big players that have the facilities to use gas. And we cannot use solar installation because it is very expensive.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.

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United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

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United-capital

United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

United Capital Plc has been appointed, Tolu Latunji as its Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.

In the new role, he is expected to drive a strategic communications, marketing and brand management programme for the investment banking group.

Latunji is a communication and marketing expert with 12 years’ experience in products development, marketing, brand & franchise building, effective management and communication of strategic objectives whilst ensuring adequate visibility for both organisation and product/service offerings through product, content and brand initiatives.

“With a 360 degree knowledge of communications and marketing, which includes but not limited to – brand management and initiatives, corporate affairs, internal and external affairs, product and brand marketing, event management and experiential marketing, cluster/segment marketing, Tolu has served at various capacities on government constituted sub-committees on financial inclusion,” a statement explained.

Prior to joining United Capital Plc, he was the Managing Partner of Ten & Square Media Co., a bespoke creative ideation and brand/crisis management firm, based in Lagos, Dakar and London.

Latunji was recently the Strategic Communications lead at FMDQ Securities Exchange, Nigeria’s first integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI), where he had the responsibility of effectively positioning the group, together with its subsidiaries, as the most sophisticated and technologically driven securities exchange in Africa.

Prior to that, he worked in Guaranty Trust Bank for nine years with roles in brand management & monitoring, events and experiential marketing, products and content marketing and user experience.

He led the marketing team to the successful development and launch of various retail, SME and corporate products. He was also instrumental in curating and developing the bank’s social footprints. Outside the corporate environment, Tolu engages in various humanitarian activities with food banks and empowerment programmes. He holds a B.Sc. Economics from University of Lagos.

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