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Fintech CEO: Australia Sees Digital Assets as a Matter of Autonomy in Planning Exchange & Custody Regs

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Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

Last month, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg laid out plans moving forward for the cryptocurrency space in a speech to the Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce. His plans include a regulatory framework for the use of digital assets and how it would work as a method of payment. Additionally, he noted that the country’s payment system is something of an extension of its sovereignty, with digital assets being an opportunity.

“Australia isn’t one of the first countries you think of when you think of digital assets, but the comments from Frydenberg are definitely encouraging. Especially that the government should start to build a licensing framework for exchanges and custody providers. What this industry desperately needs is to begin looking at the flaws currently found within the custody space,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“In terms of licensing, it is hard because digital assets are so new, so there really isn’t a tried and true method of what licensing should look like. This is an opportunity for government to work with the industry and build regs that make sense rather than driving innovation away,” noted Gardner. “Frydenberg seems to be striking that conciliatory tone, so it could be a real positive.”

For his part, Frydenberg said within his speech:

For consumers, these changes will establish a regulatory framework to underpin their growing use of crypto assets and clarify the treatment of new payment methods… Australia has an opportunity to be among the leading countries in the world in leveraging this new technology.

“I think the most interesting part of what’s coming out of Australia is that they are looking at exchanges and custody. Instituting exchange compliance without custody compliance just doesn’t make sense, and there is much left to be desired from our custody firms,” Gardner noted.

Fireblocks, which is among the best known custody providers, found itself embroiled in a lawsuit with StakeHound, which alleges the custody company lost roughly $70MM of Ethereum, after the key vanished. As a result, StakeHound could not access over 38,000 ETH.

“Regulators are slow to the draw here, and many are still having a hard time figuring out what to do with exchanges. You don’t want to regulate it to starvation, as we’re seeing in Japan. But, there needs to be a commonsense rulebook which we can all follow. Custody is the elephant in the room that most aren’t even considering yet,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“Many still think of custody as similar to custody in traditional assets. Custody in crypto is just so much more complex. There are bad actors, such as hackers, to consider. How do we guard billions of dollars’ worth of assets from malfeasance and incompetence? There’s a lot to such a task, and I’m not sure that any of the companies currently in the space are up to the challenge,” said Gardner.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Commemorates 2022 Customer Service Week

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has announced its commemoration of the 2022 edition of the Customer Service Week scheduled to be globally celebrated on 3 – 7 October 2022. 

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FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has announced its commemoration of the 2022 edition of the Customer Service Week scheduled to be globally celebrated on 3 – 7 October 2022. 

The event themed: “Celebrating Service” will be marked across its FBNBank subsidiaries in over half a dozen countries which include FBNBank UK, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank DRC and FBNBank Sierra Leone.

Customer Service Week is an international celebration that highlights the importance of customer service and staff who serve and support customers daily to deliver exceptional service to customers.

The Bank’s celebration of the 2022 Customer Service Week will include several activities considered integral to promoting a relaxed atmosphere whilst extending its participation to everyone, irrespective of where they are. The activities include virtual engagement of customers on its social media handles: firstbanknigeria on Instagram; First Bank of Nigeria Limited on Facebook; First Bank of Nigeria Limited on LinkedIn and @FirstBankngr on Twitter. 

Others are a video booth and photo frame funfair, then a Virtual Party on the Friday of the weeklong event and a movie date for staff.

Through the last 128 years of its operations, FirstBank has played a leading role in utilizing its robust customer service network and digital banking architecture to support its customers – cutting across diverse cultures, tribes and races beyond the shores of Nigeria – in meeting their individual and business needs. The Bank achieves this through its innovative, interactive, self-service banking platforms like *894# Quick Banking mobile solution, FirstMobile banking application, Firstmonie Agents, FirstOnline internet banking, WhatsApp banking, and ATM amongst many others. The Bank’s electronic banking channels are constantly updated with new and exciting features to expose customers to exemplary services and experience to put them at an advantage in the industry.

According to Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank “for us at FirstBank, celebrating service, the theme of the 2022 edition of the Customer Service Week is a reflection of our brand mantra “You First”. This reiterates the essence of our existence since 1894, centred on putting You, our customers First as we continue to support individuals and businesses to impact the economy.

With our dynamic and vibrant human-led and digital-led customer services operations, we remain committed to rendering the gold standard of services to our customers and stakeholders regardless of where they may be across the globe” she concluded.

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NNPC Limited Declares N674 Billion Profit After Tax for 2021 FYE

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) declared a Profit After Tax of N674 billion for the 2021 financial year

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NNPC - Investors King

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) declared a Profit After Tax of N674 billion for the 2021 financial year. This is the second time the government-owned oil company will declare a profit in 48 years.

NNPCL, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, disclosed that the NNPCL as a corporation grew its profit after tax from N287 billion in 2020 to N674 billion in 2021. 

Kyari also announced that the corporation grew its assets from N15.86 trillion in 2020 to N16.3 trillion in 2021. 

Investors King noted that this is the second time NNPCL will declare a profit after tax in 48 years.

The company made its first profit after tax in 2020 when it declared a profit after tax of N287 billion.

The GCEO, Mele Kyari, while declaring 2021 profit in Abuja said the development came despite the challenging operating environment. 

Kyari said: “Today, I am happy to announce that the board of NNPC Limited has approved 2021 audited financial statements, and NNPCL has progressed to a new performance level, from N287b profit in 2020 to a N674b profit after tax in 2021, climbing higher by 134.8 per cent year-on-year profit growth.”

NNPCL recently acquired Oando’s OVH Energy with the aim to grow the profit and portfolio of the national oil company. 

The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has transitioned NNPCL to a profit-oriented company.

Likewise, Kyari also boasted that the rebranded NNPC Limited will soon become the most profitable company in Africa. 

Meanwhile, Kyari stated that the new company will not leave any stone unturned to increase its oil production. He further noted that efforts have already been paying off. 

Investors King earlier reported that NNPCL is set to open the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) which was shut down six months ago due to oil theft and vandalism.

The oil company aims to add about 400,000 barrels of crude to its output in the next few days.

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Delta State Domestic Debt Jumps by 100 Percent Within Three Months

Delta State’s debt profile rose from N163 billion in March 2022 to N378 billion in June 2022. 

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Within three months, Delta State’s debt profile rose from N163 billion in March 2022 to N378 billion in June 2022. 

Investors King learnt that Lagos, Delta and Ogun are the three states with the highest domestic debt figures in Nigeria. 

According to a report released by the Debt Management Office (DMO), Delta state recorded the biggest within the three months of March to June 2022. The report also indicated that many states have also borrowed within the months under review. 

A closer look shows that in March, the 36 States and the FCT had a domestic debt of N4.8 trillion. However, this has risen to N5.2 trillion as of the end of June 2022.

Delta State’s debt profile increased from N163 billion in March to N378 billion in June 2022. Lagos State has the highest debt profile of N797.3 billion. Figures show that Lagos State’s debt as of March 2022 was N780.4 billion.

Ogun on the other hand is owing a total of N241.7 billion. Although it stands among the top three most indebted States, its debt figure has marginally reduced from the N241.9 billion it was in March 2022.

River State has the fourth highest domestic debt of N225.5 billion. Although the oil-rich state has refused to update its debt profile since over a year ago. Imo State which has the fifth highest debt profile borrowed about N6 billion within the period under review.

Jigawa State has the lowest debt profile of N45.1 billion. However, the debt profile of the state also rose by over 3 Billion between March and June 2022. As of March, Jigawa’s domestic debt was N41.6 billion.

Other states with a relatively low debt profile, when compared to other states, include Ebonyi with N59.1billion, Kebbi State with N60.4billion, Ondo State with N62.2billion and Katsina State with N66.6billion.

Meanwhile, Investors King understands that the decrease in the Federal Allocation Account (FAAC) due to the non-remittance of NNPC Limited and the preparation for the 2023 general election are some of the factors fuelling the rise in domestic debt. 

Full List of the Domestic Debt as of June 2022 (Source: Debt Management Office )

Lagos            N797.3 B

Delta.            N378.8 B

Ogun.            N241.7 B

Rivers.           N225.5 B

Imo.               N210.3 B

A.Ibom.          N203.9 B

Cross River   N176.0 B

Oyo.              N159.9 B

Osun.            N150.0 B

Bayelsa.        N150.0 B

Plateau.         N144.6 B

Benue.           N143.5 B

Bauchi.          N129.0 B

Kano.             N125.0 B

Gombe.          N123.6 B

Others include 

Adamawa.    N120.6 B

Ekiti.              N119.5 B

Zamfara.       N115.7 B

Edo.               N112.1 B

Kwara.           N110.5 B

Abia.              N107.6 B

Borno.           N102.4 B

Yobe.             N96.6 B

Taraba.          N90.8 B

Kogi.              N90.5 B

Sokoto.          N89.9 B

Enugu.           N89.9 B

Niger.             N80.9.B

Kaduna.         N78.1 B

FCT.                N75.5 B

Nassaraw.      N72.9 B

Anambra.       N72.4 B

Katsina.          N66.6 B

Ondo.             N62.2 B

Kebbi.             N60.4 B

Ebonyi.           N59.1 B 

 

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