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‘No Money is Missing in CBN’

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Godwin Emefiele CBN - Investors King
  • ‘No Money is Missing in CBN’

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Sunday night said that contrary to claims in some quarters, there was no money missing or stolen from the apex bank.

The bank said this in a statement signed by the Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor.

The statement was in reaction to a purported audio recording of selective conversations among the Governor, Deputy Governor and some senior officials of the bank.

The statement said contrary to the narrative that the discussion was about a fraudulent transaction, the beginning of the conversation was omitted to create a different impression to a misunderstanding that affected the bank’s balance sheet.

The statement read in part, “As publicly known, the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council, chaired by the Vice

President, to assist state governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated Federation Account Allocation Committee allocations.

“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities and that the economy continued to recover from a recession, the bank provided about N650bn in loans at nine per cent with a two-year grace period to 35 states of the federation.

“These monies were distributed to the states monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.”

The statement said in closing the bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their draft account, erroneously classified about N150bn of the loans as bad, which negatively affected the apex bank’s balance sheet and shareholders’ fund.

It said the selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolve it.

It added, “Obviously, it soon became clear that a state government loan cannot be classified as ‘bad’ or ‘irrecoverable’ when the state still exists and getting FAAC allocations.

“The bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.

“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the state of affairs.”

The statement explained that the reconciliation of balance sheet items are regular conversations among senior management of many agencies and should not be misconstrued.

“Had the online media, which released the selective recordings, sought the comments of the CBN as required of journalism practice, we would have provided it.

“Clearly, those who listened to the audio can easily ascertain that the conversation had nothing to do with anything fraudulent as purported.

“The bank, therefore, urges all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard this audio and continue to trust that the bank is doing everything it can to represent their interests in the best possible way.”

The statement said under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele, the CBN had always stood for, and vigorously pursued transparency in its stewardship of public resources and policies.

“The integrity of the CBN governor remains unassailable. He has no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of the CBN for personal use.

“Not in the past, not now and not ever. The use of selective wiretapped conversations of the bank’s management, to malign his character and integrity will never stand,” it added.

The statement explained that the bank would pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Gets Recognition for Best Corporate Governance

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Zenith Bank - Investors King

Zenith Bank Plc’s strong business ethos, ethical values, and impeccable corporate governance have been rewarded with ‘Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2021 award by the Ethical Boardroom.

The bank, in a statement yesterday, said the award, published in the June 2021 edition of The Ethical Boardroom magazine, recognised the bank’s adherence to global best practices and institutionalisation of corporate governance as well as setting an industry-wide example of best practices in that field.

Commenting on the award, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to quality, accountability, fairness and transparency in our engagement with all stakeholders.

“It is also an affirmation of the bank’s professionalism, ethical conduct and sustenance of global best practices and standards which is attributable to the joint collaboration of the management and staff.”
The award comes on the heels of others and recognitions that the bank has garnered in recent times for its track record of excellent performance and commitment to global best practices.

For instance, Zenith Bank was voted as Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020; Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, and Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2020 by the Ethical Boardroom.

Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine.

Similarly, the bank was recognised as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the THISDAY Awards 2020, Retail Bank of the year at the 2020 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being as well as Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2020.

Zenith Bank has been generally adjudged a corporate governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange.

The bank continues to sustain this reputation and reappraise its processes to ensure that its business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.

The bank places a premium on its core business strategy anchored on people, technology and service, to create value for its numerous clientele.

“With a team of dedicated professionals, the bank leverages its robust Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide cutting-edge solutions and products through its network of branches and electronic/digital channels,” the statement added.

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Finance

Egypt: African Development Bank Approves Loan of €83 Million for Egypt’s Electricity Sector to Spur Economic Recovery from Covid-19

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Power - Investors King

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved an €83 million loan to finance the second phase of Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program. The funding is part of the Bank’s budget support to the Egyptian government to strengthen its electricity infrastructure, which is expected to bolster the private sector and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The program seeks to enhance the power sector’s financial sustainability, governance and operations. It will also advance the provision of clean, reliable energy to drive green growth. Egypt’s successful reforms in the sector have led to greater private investment in utility-scale renewable energy projects.

“Egypt’s Vision 2030 instills the sustainability ethos across all sectors. Energy and electricity are amongst the top sectors in Egypt’s International Development Cooperation’s portfolio, pushing towards a green reform,” said Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al Mashat. “With 2021 being the year of private sector engagement, the Electricity and Green Growth Support Program will contribute towards sustainable growth and job creation and catalyze the development of Egyptian private entities,” she added.

Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the North Africa Region, said the African Development Bank continues to actively engage with the Egyptian government and private sector companies to support the country’s medium-term development plan and economic reforms, with a particular focus on economic infrastructure such as energy, transport, water and sanitation, as well as industrialization.

In addition to the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement and the Japan International Cooperation Agency have also provided financial support to Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program.

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Zambia: African Development Bank Approves $1.4 Million Grant to Improve Household Food Security in the Wake of Covid-19

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Food Security - Investors King

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $1.4 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program to reduce malnutrition among the Southern African nation’s most vulnerable households.

The Mitigating Impacts of Covid-19 on Household Food Security Project will create about 150 permanent skilled or semi-skilled positions and 40 part-time unskilled jobs in crop, livestock and fisheries value chains. The project will supply inputs for crops, livestock and aquaculture enterprises to promote good agricultural practices and increase food production. There will also be a capacity building component.

“The agriculture sector is an important source of livelihoods, employment and GDP in Zambia. Increased food supply resulting from additional grant funds will lead to more jobs, improved quality of life, and reduction of malnutrition in many impacted communities,” said Martin Fregene, African Development Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry.

The project provides supplementary funds to the ongoing Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project, a $32 million grant-funded initiative also from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has been managed by the Bank in the Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Serenje and Chitambo districts of Zambia over the past five years.

Global Agriculture and Food Security Program administrators said the six districts were selected based on poverty levels, food insecurity and malnutrition prevalence. However, with this funding and program, these districts have the potential for economic growth, and to promote crop diversification. Some 5,000 people, including 3,750 women and 1,000 youth, will benefit. Some 5,000 people will also benefit indirectly along the commodity value chains.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Zambia has implemented bold measures to protect the health and economic well-being of its citizens. These steps included a nationwide program to scale up agricultural diversification. The Bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility launched in 2020 has been a lifeline to member governments by providing resources to tackle the pandemic.

“The facility will consolidate the Bank’s support for Zambia’s economic diversification and impact mitigation against Covid-19,” said Mary Monyau, the Bank’s Country Manager in Zambia.

The Zambian project is in line with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, specifically, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Similar Bank projects have been successfully undertaken in Malawi, Niger, Liberia, Senegal and the Gambia.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program was established as a response to the 2008/09 world food price crisis, following a commitment by the Group of 8 nations (G8) in September 2009 to mobilize up to $20 billion for agricultural development and food security. The World Bank supervises about half of the project portfolio of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. The African Development Bank managed about a quarter in December 2019, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, 11%.

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