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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.”

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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Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year

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Lafarge Africa - Investors King

Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.

The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.

In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.

Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.

However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.

Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.

He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.

Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.

The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.

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South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus

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Christo Wiese

South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”

Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.

Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.

However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.

Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.

While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.

He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.

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Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

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Seplat Energy Plc - Investors King

Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.

In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.

Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.

He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.

Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.

In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.

Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.

Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.

In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.

The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.

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