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President Tinubu Launches National Single Window Project

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the National Single Window Project to streamline trade processes and combat bureaucratic bottlenecks.

The initiative promises to unlock significant economic benefits and bolster Nigeria’s position as a global trade leader.

Addressing stakeholders at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja, President Tinubu outlined the transformative potential of the Single Window Project.

He explained that Nigeria stands to gain approximately $2.7 billion annually by implementing the initiative, while also saving an estimated $4 billion lost to inefficiencies and corruption plaguing the trade sector.

The National Single Window Project, codenamed a digital trade compliance initiative, will serve as a cross-government website facilitating trade by providing a unified portal for Nigerian and international trade actors.

This centralized platform will offer access to a full range of resources and standardized services from various Nigerian agencies, promising to expedite cargo movement and optimize inter-African trade.

President Tinubu’s directive to dismantle obstacles hindering trade efficiency reflects a commitment to fostering a transparent, secure, and business-friendly environment.

He underscored the urgency of eliminating red tape, bureaucracy, delays, and corruption at Nigerian ports, asserting that the economy cannot afford to sustain such losses.

The President’s call to emulate success stories from countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia highlights the transformative potential of the Single Window system.

By joining the ranks of nations that have significantly improved trade efficiency through similar initiatives, Nigeria aims to unlock new avenues for economic growth and prosperity.

Tinubu stated that the National Single Window Project transcends Nigeria’s borders, presenting opportunities for regional integration and inter-African trade optimization. By linking Nigeria’s system with those of other African nations, the initiative seeks to expedite cargo movement and enhance trade facilitation across the continent.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Bello Koko, provided insights into the practical implications of the Single Window initiative.

He affirmed that imports would be cleared at all seaports within 24 hours, a significant improvement compared to neighboring countries where clearance often takes up to 72 hours.

Koko outlined how the initiative would streamline paperwork, enhance information sharing among government agencies, and foster greater efficiency in trade transactions.

With representatives from key government agencies and bodies forming the project secretariat, the National Single Window Project reflects a collaborative effort to drive comprehensive reform in Nigeria’s trade sector.

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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Finance

Discos Boost Revenue to N100bn in March Despite Power Supply Challenges

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power project

Amid persistent complaints about low power generation, Nigeria’s electricity distribution companies (Discos) successfully increased their monthly revenue to N100 billion in March 2024.

This milestone comes despite the country experiencing significant power supply challenges due to ongoing gas shortages.

According to data released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Discos’ revenue saw a steady rise from N95 billion in January to N97 billion in February,  and N100 billion in March.

This increase in revenue coincides with a period of reduced power supply, attributed to the gas supply crisis.

In January, Discos received 2,577 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power and managed to bill 2,072 GWh, achieving an 80 percent billing efficiency.

The total billing for January was N130.9 billion, with N95 billion successfully collected, representing a 72 percent collection efficiency.

The allowed average tariff rate was N59.89k per kilowatt-hour (KWh), while the actual average collection was N36.97k/KWh.

February saw a decrease in the total energy received by Discos, dropping to 2,149 GWh. Of this, 1,759 GWh was billed, leading to N113 billion in billings and N97 billion in revenue collection.

In March, the energy received slightly increased to 2,468 GWh, with 1,975 GWh billed, resulting in N126.5 billion in billings and N100 billion in revenue.

The rise in revenue can be attributed to an increase in the tariff rates. NERC reported that the allowed average tariff for March was N62.73k/KWh, with the actual average collection at N40.69k/KWh. This tariff adjustment played a crucial role in bolstering Discos’ revenue.

Among the Discos, Ikeja Disco led the revenue generation with N20 billion in March, followed closely by Eko and Abuja Discos, each generating N16.7 billion.

Ibadan Disco contributed N10 billion, while Benin and Enugu Discos generated N7.5 billion and N6.9 billion, respectively.

The newly inaugurated Geometric Power, also known as Aba Power, recorded N1.1 billion in revenue, while Yola Disco earned N1.5 billion.

The total revenue generated by Discos in the first quarter of 2024 amounted to N292 billion. This period was marked by a nationwide blackout in January due to gas shortages, with power generation dropping from around 4,000 MW to below 2,500 MW at one point, severely impacting the Discos’ ability to supply electricity to consumers.

In response to the power supply crisis, the Discos issued apologies to their customers, citing their inability to distribute what was not available.

Despite the ongoing gas supply issues, NERC’s decision to remove electricity subsidies in Band A areas, raising the tariff to N206 per KWh, played a pivotal role in enhancing revenue.

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Banking Sector

Federal High Court Orders Forfeiture of $1.4M Linked to Ex-CBN Governor Emefiele

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Godwin Emefiele

On Wednesday, the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the interim forfeiture of $1,426,175.14 linked to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji issued the order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC, represented by counsel Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, argued that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities connected to Emefiele, who is currently facing multiple criminal trials.

Justice Faji directed the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, thereby inviting any interested parties to appear before the court within 14 days to contest the forfeiture.

According to the EFCC’s investigator, David Jayeoba, credible intelligence led to the discovery of the funds in a bank account.

Jayeoba’s affidavit detailed how, between 2021 and 2022, directors of Donatone Limited—Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi—allegedly collected bribes on behalf of Emefiele to facilitate foreign exchange approvals during a period of forex scarcity.

“Payments totaling $26,552,000 were made to Donatone’s accounts, with significant transactions recorded on specific dates in 2021 and 2022,” Jayeoba revealed.

The funds were reportedly laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius before being returned to Nigeria. The balance in the account, currently $1,426,175.14, is now subject to forfeiture.

The EFCC’s application cited Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, which empowers the court to order the forfeiture of funds suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The EFCC contended that the funds should be forfeited to the Federal Government as proceeds of unlawful activities.

Justice Faji’s order for interim forfeiture is part of a broader crackdown on financial misconduct linked to Emefiele.

Just days earlier, Justice Yelim Bogoro of the same Federal High Court ordered the interim forfeiture of $4.7 million, N830 million, and properties also linked to the former CBN governor.

Emefiele is currently facing several charges, including procurement fraud, unauthorized redesign of the naira notes, and forgery of the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature to allegedly divert funds from the CBN.

The court’s decision underscores the Nigerian government’s intensified efforts to combat corruption and financial crimes.

The EFCC’s success in securing these interim forfeiture orders highlights its commitment to holding high-profile individuals accountable and recovering illicitly obtained assets.

The case is scheduled for a final forfeiture hearing on June 25, where further arguments will be presented, and interested parties will have the opportunity to contest the interim forfeiture order.

The outcome of this hearing could set a precedent for similar cases involving financial misconduct by public officials.

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Banking Sector

Ebenezer Onyeagwu Caps a Stellar Tenure With Banking CEO of The Year in Africa in The International Banker Awards 2024 For The Second Consecutive Year

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The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has been named the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ at the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, retaining this title for the second consecutive year.

This award, published in the Spring 2024 issue of International Banker Magazine, United Kingdom, coincides with Dr.

Onyeagwu’s completion of his five-year tenure as Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer on May 31, 2024.

Speaking on receiving the award, Dr. Onyeagwu expressed his gratitude to the publishers of International Banker for the honour.

He stated, “It is indeed an honour to be recognised as the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ for a second consecutive year. This award is a testament to our team’s collective efforts and our commitment to innovation, growth, and delivering value to our customers and stakeholders. It also reflects our dedication to sustainability and high ethical standards, which are integral to our overall strategy. I am immensely proud of our accomplishments and look forward to future opportunities for the bank as I hand over the baton to my successor and begin the mandatory regulatory cooling-off period.”

Dr. Onyeagwu dedicated the award to the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, for his mentorship, which was crucial to his success as Group Managing Director/CEO; to the bank’s management team and staff for their unwavering commitment over the past five years; and to the bank’s customers for their loyalty.

Throughout his distinguished tenure, Dr. Onyeagwu has received multiple awards, including Bank CEO of the Year (2019, 2023) by Champion Newspaper, Bank CEO of the Year (2020–2023) by BusinessDay Newspaper, CEO of the Year (2020 and 2021) – SERAS Awards, and CEO of the Year (2022) – Leadership Newspaper, and Banking CEO of the Year, Africa (2023) – International Banker.

Appointed as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer on June 1, 2019, as part of Zenith Bank’s succession planning strategy, Dr. Onyeagwu has led the bank to achieve significant milestones in financial performance, financial inclusion, corporate governance, and sustainability.

These achievements have earned the bank numerous local and international awards, including being named Best Bank in Nigeria for the fourth time in five years from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024 by the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards 2023; being listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023; and being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine.

Zenith Bank has also been honoured as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 by the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) by The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards in 2020 and 2022; and Best in Corporate Governance Financial Services Africa for four successive years from 2020 to 2023 by Ethical Boardroom.

Other recognitions include Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria at the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria, and Best Innovation in Retail Banking in Nigeria at the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

Additionally, Zenith Bank was named the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021; Bank of the Year 2023 and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards; Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020; Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper; Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper; and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the financial services sector in Nigeria and across Africa, Dr. Onyeagwu was awarded a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on March 25, 2023, during the university’s 50th convocation ceremony.

Published by Finance Publishing Limited, the International Banker is a leading global source of authoritative analysis and opinion on banking, finance and world affairs. Its influence, integrity, accuracy and objective opinion have earned it global recognition.

The International Banker Awards strive to recognise the most worthy financial institutions around the world – those not just doing their jobs well but exceptionally well – those operating at the industry’s cutting edge and setting new performance levels to which others will aspire.

The 2024 Banking Awards focused on various criteria, including the provision of much-needed capital for economic growth, cutting-edge innovation to enhance security and efficiency, commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, as well as intelligent investing to maximise profits and shareholder value.

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