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Lawmakers Consider Capital Market Bill, Propose Ten-Year Jail Term For Ponzi Scheme Operators

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Ponzi schemes

Some Nigerians would still cringe at the mere mention of ‘Investment’. This is due to their exposure to the dubious schemes of fake investment platforms and Ponzi schemes.

Hence, as part of efforts in curbing this, a bill seeking the prohibition of Ponzi and Pyramid schemes has passed the second reading at the house of representatives. The bill also proposes a 10-year prison sentence for operators of the Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Chairman, house committee on capital markets, Ibrahim Babangida, also seeks to repeal and re-enact the Nigerian Capital Market, Investments and Securities Act.

It is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Investments and Securities Act, 2007 and Enact the Investments and Securities Bill to Establish Securities and Exchange Commission as the Apex Regulatory Authority for the Nigerian Capital Market as well as Regulation of the Market to Ensure Capital Formation, the Protection of the Market to Ensure Capital Formation, the Protection of Investors, Maintain Fair, Efficient and Transparent Market and Reduction of Systematic Risk; and for Related Matters.’

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that pays existing investors with the money collected from new investors. The scheme generally leads victims to believe that their earnings are from genuine business investments, and therefore, can be sustained.

Regarded as one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes of all time, the Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM) is a Russian-founded Ponzi scheme which left some Nigerians in despair at their lost “investments” after the company suddenly went into ‘extinction’ in 2017.

After MMM, a lot of other fake investment platforms have emerged and are still emerging, ripping Nigerians off their monies.

The bill, when passed into law, will enable SEC to properly regulate the capital market, ensure capital formation, protect the market to ensure capital formation, protect investors, maintain a fair, efficient and transparent market and reduce systematic risks.

According to Babangida, current trends in capital markets regulation have made it necessary to make major improvements to the Nigerian capital market, the Investments and Securities Act, Act No. 29 of 2007, which was initially signed into law by the late President Umar Musa Yar’adua in June 2007.

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Banking Sector

CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services

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In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.

This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.

The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.

According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.

The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.

The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.

According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.

Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).

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Finance

Partnerships for Financial Education

Education, specifically financial education, is a critical tool to enable both individuals and communities to prosper

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Manlan Carl

By Carl Manlan, Vice President, Social Impact, Visa CEMEA 

In April 2022, a media company leveraged key partners to make on-demand mobile-based learning accessible to millions of young Africans. The model bets on the success of the entertainment platform to attract young people to take an extra step in strengthening their entrepreneurial skills. This highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in ensuring access to skills and educational messages for Africa’s youth. Moreover, the critical importance of experience-based learning and platforms in advancing socio-economic transformation.

Over the years in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, we have learnt about the effectiveness of purpose-led partnerships. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic provided us with a sense of urgency in supporting individuals and households to take full advantage of the digital economy. The continent’s response to health emergencies suggest that we have the tools to push forward in creating a more inclusive society particularly in the areas of education and capacity development.

Education, specifically financial education, is a critical tool to enable both individuals and communities to prosper. Entrepreneurship holds some of the answers in alleviating unemployment in Africa, but it needs to come with the right set of skills and opportunities. Trace Academia, has taken the lead in bringing partners to offer a range of skills to millions of young Africans through their media platform. This rich content has re-imagined Visa’s Practical Business Skills to allow young people to learn lifelong transferable skills.

Leveraging the power of technology, both platforms have been able to bring relevant financial education content that changes the way the youth interact with entrepreneurial concepts. Skills development is one step in the right direction as we continue to collaborate with others to create opportunities for young people. The real impact is in the continuous application of these skills, which will help us navigate some of the challenges that affect youth and employment on the continent.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated preference for digital commerce and highlighted the opportunity of key stakeholders to come together to collaborate at the intersection of commerce and skills. Research shows 80 million young people will benefit from the rise of digital commerce in Africa by 2030 but this can only be enabled by access to adequate skills and relevant platforms.

Financial education starts at home and the role of parents and guardians cannot be over emphasized. Practical Money Skills is an online resource which provides content for children and youth grades K to 12. The end in mind is the ability to take control of your finances as an individual or as a household. As such, the fundamental habit of careful management of available resources at home builds the framework for financial education and financial consumer protection which ultimately leads to more communities being included in the financial system. As in the health sector, behaviour change communication and prevention are key factors in curbing the spread of a disease. In our case, financial education and protection are key tenants in spreading expertise and leveraging skills required for individuals to sustain their livelihoods and for entrepreneurs to expand their trade from local to global value chains.

Access to healthcare and financial education may, at first, be unrelated but the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the current economic system when skills are lacking. There is evidence suggesting that debt and financial concerns have a serious impact on mental health

Partnerships for Financial Education

. As such, people living in financial hardship are at increased risk of mental health problems and poorer mental wellbeing. Financial wellness is important for individuals and communities to continue to make a sustainable contribution to the continent.

Most critical diseases affecting the continent over the past half-century have been managed through partnerships. Today, more than ever, we can take a cue from the health sector to make financial education accessible to all, it is a life skill that should be valued.

 

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Finance

Moody’s Acquires 51% Stake in GCR Ratings

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Global Credit Rating Company Limited (GCR) is pleased to announce that Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) has acquired a majority (51%) stake in GCR. GCR is a leading credit rating agency in Africa with a broad geographic footprint that includes South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and Mauritius.

GCR’s 25 year proven track record and successful domestic operations across the African continent, together with Moody’s international expertise represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of capital markets and the wider economies across Africa. GCR expect this acquisition will further solidify its position as a leading provider of quality, objective and independent credit opinions on African markets.

As part of the broader GCR acquisition, African Women Chartered Accountants Investment Holdings (AIH) has acquired a 20% stake in GCR South Africa. AIH is a 100% black women-owned investment company. AIH will provide local strategic support through its equity participation and representation on the GCR South Africa board.

Following the acquisition, GCR will continue to develop its own ratings methodologies and issue its own credit ratings and will maintain a separate management team.

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