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ITFC Signs a US$ 250 Million Framework Agreement to Support The Gambia

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The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, has signed a new 5-Year Framework Agreement in favour of the Government of The Gambia that target to provide up to US$ 50 million to the country on an annual basis.

The agreement, signed with H.E. Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (IsDB Governor), is a part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to combat the economic repercussions from COVID-19 and strengthen key economic sectors in member countries.

This US$250 million Framework Agreement will provide pre-export financing for major cash crops such as groundnuts and cashew nuts, the main agricultural produce in a sector that is a major employer of the country’s workforce. In addition, this agreement will also facilitate the import of essential agriculture inputs such as fertilizer.

In the energy sector, the financing will enable imports of key commodities such as refined petroleum, which is crucial to generate electricity in the country. Other sectors that will benefit from the five-year framework agreement include the healthcare sector through the import of medicines and health equipment, and the private sector through financing facilities to local banks and financial institutions aimed at boosting local SMEs.

Technical assistance for trade development aimed at building capacity and promoting information exchange and knowledge dissemination are other areas covered in the agreement.

H.E. Mambury Njie, The Gambia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs thanked ITFC on behalf of the Government for its continued support, highlighting that this framework agreement would support national development goals to drive economic diversification and job creation across key growth sectors, whist facilitating trade and investment flows within the country, as well as globally through the country’s participation in agriculture value chains.

Reiterating ITFC’s commitment to supporting its member countries, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The five-year framework agreement will make way for further cooperation with the Government of The Gambia across key economic sectors whilst fostering greater collaboration with the country’s budding private sector to drive SME growth. In addition to crucial import-export financing, the agreement also has provisions to help develop the country into a stronger trading nation through enhanced capacity development and knowledge transfer programs.”

Since inception in 2008, ITFC has approved a total of US$607 million in favor of The Gambia. From energy to employment through agriculture, it reaffirms ITFC’s proven strategy of investing in key sectors of its member countries and thus contributing towards the development of the priority industries.

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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Banking Sector

A Failed Attempt to Trigger a Run on Banks

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Fidelity Bank
As market sentiment remains highly volatile and driven by news flow, banks liquidity levels can become vulnerable due to spread of inaccurate information.
As Nigerian banks put finishing touches to their recapitalisation plans as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), industry watchers have seen how social media mercenaries and their hirelings are deliberating distorting the truth and pushing campaigns that spread false information which could result in deposit outflows from their targeted banks.
Earlier this month when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank, it gave reasons for the decision.
The reason was clearly stated! “This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability,” CBN noted.
The CBN said Heritage Bank had continued to suffer and had no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.
A statement by Hakama Sidi Ali, acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, said the apex bank acted in accordance with its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and in exercise of its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Act, BOFIA, 2020.
Many market watchers, particularly those following developments in the banking industry did not think the CBN should have done otherwise and subsequent appointment of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, as the liquidator.
Mischievous ‘list’ of other banks
Shortly after the apex bank hammer fell on Heritage Bank, social media mischief makers released their own ‘list’ of other banks they felt will go the Heritage way – not minding the illegality of assuming such a regulatory position.
Thanks to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for quickly debunking the fake news which had mentioned the names of other banks – Fidelity Bank, Wema Bank, Polaris Bank and Unity Bank.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to some information circulating in the public domain, suggesting that the CBN is set to revoke the licenses of three additional banks following its regulatory action against Heritage Bank Plc on Monday, June 3, 2024.
“The CBN unequivocally states that these allegations are false and intended to trigger panic in the financial system. The Nigerian financial system remains safe, sound, and resilient. Our banks have begun submitting implementation plans for the Banking Sector Recapitalisation Programme in compliance with the CBN Circular reviewing the minimum capital requirements for Commercial, Merchant, and Non-Interest Banks (CMNIBs).
“These plans are currently being reviewed by the Bank. In addition to enhancing buffers to withstand economic shocks, this proactive measure by the CBN to require CMNIBs to recapitalise will result in increased capital for Nigeria’s banks, enabling them to provide much-needed credit to critical sectors of the economy. This will increase the financial system’s contribution to the growth and development of a $1 trillion Nigerian economy.
“The CBN would like to reassure all stakeholders of its unwavering commitment to ensuring the financial system’s stability. Our financial system remains on a solid footing, and the CBN will continue to take all necessary steps to maintain its safety and soundness,” said CBN’s Sidi Ali said in a June 4 statement in response to the false allegations of license withdrawals.

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Banking Sector

MIPAD Announces Onyeali-Ikpe Among Global Top 100 Trade Champions of African Descent Worldwide

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In acknowledgment of her outstanding impact on global trade, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, has been recognized as one of the honorees in the 2024 Most Influential Global Top 100 Export and International Trade Edition.

Themed, “Championing the Vision of Global Africa as a Unified Economic Block and Single Market,” the initiative which was announced on May 25, 2024 in celebration of Global Africa Day, lists several leaders in the global trade space of African descent, including the President, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah,); Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Algeria, H.E. Kamel Rezig; Chairman, World Trade Centre Accra, Ghana, H.R.H Togbe Afede; the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite; Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (Nigeria), Nonye Ayeni; Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB), Kanayo Awani; Director, Trade Development (Africa & Caribbean), World Trade Centre Miami, US, Kemi Arosanyin; Secretary of State for Business and Trade and President of the Board of Trade (United Kingdom/Nigeria), Kemi Badenoch; President, US-Africa Business Centre at US Chamber of Commerce, Kendra Gaither; and President of the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce (Colombia), Milady Garces Arboleda.

According to a statement by Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), the organisers of the initiative, “These honorees are recognized for their groundbreaking achievements in Trade & Export and are called upon to champion the vision of a unified Global Africa as an economic block. This recognition aligns with the ethos of the International Decade for People of African Descent, highlighting MIPAD’s ongoing commitment to celebrating individuals, organizations, and governments demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing people of African descent globally.”

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Onyeali-Ikpe said, “This recognition demonstrates our market leadership in the international trade space at Fidelity Bank and our devotion to helping Nigerian businesses play a more active role in the global trade space.

Since 2022, we have hosted the largest private-sector driven trade expo tagged the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) with hundreds of export businesses from Nigeria, off-takers in the UK and USA, investors, regulators, media and other key stakeholder in the trade sector. Through FITCC, we have closed deals totaling $450million. Our commitment as a bank is to do more in this space and we thank MIPAD for the recognition.”

The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), is a global civil society initiative in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237, to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank with over 8.3 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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Banking Sector

Heritage Bank Liquidation: NDIC Opens Bidding for Assets and Branches

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commenced the process of liquidating the bank’s assets across Nigeria.

This move comes as part of NDIC’s role as the liquidator of the failed bank, aimed at recouping funds and resolving outstanding liabilities.

The NDIC, through an advertorial published in major newspapers, has announced the sale of 48 properties belonging to Heritage Bank.

These properties include the bank’s head office located at 143 Ahmadu Bello Way and its annex at 130 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Also, the liquidation covers chattels such as vehicles, office equipment, plant, and machinery spread across 62 locations nationwide.

Interested parties are invited to participate in a public competitive bidding process. They have been given the opportunity to inspect the assets and submit bids to acquire them.

The bidding process requires potential buyers to submit bids accompanied by a Certified Bank Draft amounting to 10% of their bid.

Successful bidders will be required to settle the balance within two weeks of notification of their successful bid.

The liquidation process marks a significant step in NDIC’s efforts to manage the fallout from Heritage Bank’s closure effectively.

The corporation has also commenced the verification and payment of depositors with balances of N5 million or less, a category that constitutes about 99% of the bank’s customer base. According to Bello Hassan, the Managing Director of NDIC, Heritage Bank had approximately 2.3 million depositors with total deposits amounting to N650 billion, while its loan portfolio stood at about N700 billion.

The decision to revoke Heritage Bank’s license was made by the CBN due to the bank’s persistent breach of regulatory requirements and its inability to improve its financial position despite intervention measures.

This action underscores the CBN’s commitment to maintaining financial stability within the banking sector and protecting depositors’ funds.

Stakeholders within the banking industry, including the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN) and the House of Representatives, have expressed support for the regulatory actions taken.

BDAN’s Chairman, Mustapha Chike-Obi, emphasized the necessity of such decisions in safeguarding the overall health of the banking sector.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging the CBN to investigate the management and leadership of Heritage Bank to ascertain if any mismanagement or wrongdoing contributed to its failure.

The resolution also called for a comprehensive review of NDIC’s operations to ensure it is adequately equipped to fulfill its mandate as a deposit insurer and investor in failed banks.

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