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Nigerian landlords in UK panic over new property law

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…As NEXIM Bank plans to revive Multi-Trex with N5bn***

Nigerians, who own properties in the United Kingdom, have inundated the Federal Ministry of Finance’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) hotlines with calls, causing the lines to crash on Friday.

A source at the VAIDs office, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the unprecedented level of calls was not unconnected with the new UK regulation on Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs).

The source disclosed that the VAIDs office have been  receiving massive calls and frantic requests from tax payers based in the UK, in the last 72 hours, asking for extension of time to enable them complete their VAIDS declaration forms.

The UK Government had last week introduced a new law that requires foreigners who own properties in the country to explain the source of their funds or risk forfeiting them to the government.

According to the new law, the UWOs could be obtained on any property or combination of properties valued at 50,000 pounds ( N25 million) or more, for which the owner is unable to explain a legal source of its funding.

The source said that the data already in the possession of the VAIDS office in the Federal Ministry of Finance revealed that many UK property owners had under paid their taxes before transferring funds overseas to buy properties.

“Concerted efforts are ongoing to restore the hotlines following the crash on Friday.

“Most of the calls received are from high net worth individuals, including company executives, bankers and even a governor.

“All seem to be in panic over the prospect of losing their investments,” said a source within the VAIDS Office.

The official said that some of the apprehensive Nigerian property investors in UK had even visited  the Federal Ministry of Finance  requesting to see the Minister and also the Head of the VAIDS Office.

The source explained that most of the enquiries were about seeking assurance from the Nigerian government that the VAIDs programme could protect them from potential asset forfeiture to the UK Government.

Others requested to know if their names had appeared on the lists the VAIDS office had obtained from overseas.

The UWO law, coupled with the revelation that many foreign governments are automatically sharing bank and property information with Nigeria, has resulted in an upsurge in enquiries about VAIDs.

VAIDS allows Nigerian tax payers to restate their income and assets without limit and thus could potentially allow those who own properties that cannot be explained by their previously declared income to regularise by declaring and paying the correct taxes.

Meanwhile, NEXIM Bank is expected to revive Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc with the sum of N5bn to get the company up and running, and contribute significantly to economic growth.

This was made known on Friday during a facility tour to the firm by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency.

The Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Mr. Abba Bello, said the lender was looking at intervening to bring the cocoa production company back to life.

Multi-Trex, which was said to have employed over 300 workers, has reportedly gone out of production.

Bello said, “We are working on the Export Stimulation Fund so as to bring them back to life. The process is already on; right now we are ready to start the process of the application, all we are waiting for right now is the terms of settlement – the resolution between the company and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria; and once that is done, we will go ahead.

“AMCON needs to release them to enable them borrow, and once the approval has been given then we are good to go. This is one of the best projects we have supported under the ESF, because the equipment are there and only the working capital is needed to kick start it.

The Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Jones Onyereri, said there was a need to support the private sector to grow, create jobs and enhance economic growth.

According to him, the challenge facing Multi-Trex is beyond it and there is therefore the need to support it.

Onyereri said, “We must encourage the private sector because, this is the only way we can grow the economy; and if we don’t grow the real sector of the economy then we are joking.

“We need to put some measures in place to bring down the interest rate and encourage the private sector.  We are pushing it as a parliament and we will keep pushing.

The Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Multi-Trex, Mr. Oladimeji Owofemi, said the company was waiting for the Central Bank of Nigeria and AMCON’s approval to proceed on the intervention by NEXIM Bank.

He said, “The only issue we have here is just the working capital which is in the region of N4bn to N5bn. It sounds big but a tonne of cocoa last season got as high as N1m. That can only buy 5,000 tonnes; and this factory can process 65,000 tonnes for full capacity. So, is that not much money? And NEXIM Bank is looking at our request; and so also the Bank of Agriculture as well as the Bank of Industry.

Nation with additional report from Punch

Banking & Finance

NGX Market Capitalisation Sheds N134bn

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NGX Market Capitalisation Sheds N134bn

 …As Nigeria Exchange Group confirms Jude Chiemeka as NGX CEO

 Bearish trading dominated the Nigerian stock market on Thursday, leading to a loss of N134 billion or 0.24 per cent on the market capitalisation.

Specifically, the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) market capitalisation which opened at N56.738 trillion, closed at N56.604 trillion.

The All-Share Index also declined by 0.24 per cent or 236.2 points to close at 100,063.32, compared to 100,299.48 recorded on Wednesday.

Consequently, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return fell to 33.82 per cent.

Selloffs in MTN Nigeria, Unity Bank, Wema Bank, Wapco, United Capital, Honeywell Flour, and Mutual Benefits Assurance, among other declined equities propelled the market’s weak performance.

Meanwhile, market breadth closed negative with 25 losers and 24 gainers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ chart, Daar Communications led by 8.33 per cent to close at N44k, UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust trailed closely by 8.26 per cent to close at five Naira per share.

Guinea Insurance lost 7.69 per cent to close at 36k, UPL declined by 6.67 per cent to close at N2.10 and MTN Nigeria dropped 6.54 per cent to close at N200 per share.

Conversely, Oando Plc led the gainers’ chart by 9.93 per cent to close at N15.50, Conoil followed by 9.52 per cent to close at N115 per share.

Veritas Kapital Assurance also gained 9.38 to close at N1.05, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals advanced by 8.61 per cent to close at N1.64 and Jaiz Bank rose by 7.55 per cent to close at N2.28 per share.

Analysis of the market activities however showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up by 164.30 per cent.

A total of 863.58 million shares valued at N12.56 billion were exchanged in 7,931 deals,in contrast to 342.20 million shares valued at N4.75 billion exchanged in 7,592 deals traded in the previous session.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank led the activity chart in volume and value with 539.40 million shares  worth N5.66 billion, followed by Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) with N59.43 million shares valued at N2.79 billion.

Veritas Kapital Assurance sold 40.42 million shares worth N41.49 million, United Bank For Africa(UBA) transacted N35.98 million shares valued at N839.60 billion.

Zenith Bank traded 24.02 million shares worth N882.33 million..

In another development, the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group) on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Mr Jude Chiemeka as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX), its operating exchange subsidiary, effective July 1.

NGX, in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, said the appointment was sequel to an approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Chiemeka has been serving as the acting CEO of NGX since Jan. 1.

He succeeded Mr Temi Popoola, who transited to the role of Group Managing Director of the NGX Group.

Also, Group Chairman, NGX Group, Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga, said that the strategic appointment aligns perfectly with the Exchange’s succession plan.

Kwairanga stated that the appointment reinforces the synergy that NGX continuously foster across its group operations.

He said: “Chiemeka’s extensive experience and proven leadership qualities are invaluable assets that will propel NGX towards long-term success.

“Under his leadership, I am confident that NGX will play an even more pivotal role in contributing to the sustainable growth of Nigeria’s and Africa’s economies.”

Mr Ahonsi Unuigbe, Chairman of NGX, as quoted by the statement, also expressed the satisfaction of the Board of NGX to confirm Chiemeka’s appointment as CEO of the Exchange.

“It is our hope and expectation that he will drive growth and innovation, enhance our operational perspectives, democratise investment in the capital market, and unlock opportunities for investors,” Unuigbe said.

Mr Temi Popoola, GMD/CEO, NGX Group, speaking through the statement also expressed delight to see Chiemeka step into the role of CEO of NGX.

Popoola added that Chiemeka’s extensive experience and deep understanding of the markets will be crucial in driving NGX’s growth while aligning with a broader group strategy.

“I look forward to working closely with him to unlock value and to create new opportunities for stakeholders across the entire NGX Group ecosystem,” he said.

In his remark in the statement, Chiemeka said he was honored with the appointment at this critical period of the Exchange’s history while appreciating the Boards of NGX Group and NGX.

“As we aim to build on our achievements and maximise value for all stakeholders, I look forward to forging strong collaborations with NGX’s exceptional team and the broader capital market community.

“We are committed to creating a more dynamic and inclusive exchange that fuels Nigeria’s economic growth and competes on the global stage,” the NGX CEO said.

Chiemeka brings close to three decades of experience in African securities trading and asset management to his new role.

His career includes serving as Executive Director of Capital Markets at NGX and Managing Director, United Capital Securities Ltd.

He also worked at leading investment banking firms in Nigeria such as Chapel Hill Denham Securities and Rencap Securities (Nigeria).

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Chiemeka is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, Lagos Business School, and the University of Oxford, UK. 

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Banking & Finance

Equity Market Rebounds, Gains N26bn On Renewed Investors Interest

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NGX Market Capitalisation Sheds N134bn

The equity market rebounded by 0.05 per cent on Tuesday, driven by renewed investor interest in banking, insurance and some blue-chip stocks.

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) market capitalisation gained N26 billion or 0.05 per cent to close at N56.606 trillion, up from N56.580 trillion at the opening.

The All-Share Index also advanced by 0.05 per cent or 47 points to close at 100,067.77, compared to 100,020.83 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.83 per cent.

Investor interest in Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), among other advanced equities, pushed the market into positive territory.

However, market breadth closed negative with 28 laggards and 20 leaders on the floor of the Exchange.

On the losers’ log, ETranzact led by dropping 50k to close at N4.50.

Fidson Healthcare Plc trailed by losing N1.45 to close at N13.50, while Cornerstone Insurance lost 20k to close at N1.90 per share.

LASACO Assurance declined by 24k to close at N2.31, UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust shed 45k to close at N5.00, and May & Baker dropped 40k to close at N5.50 per share.

On the other hand, Linkage Assurance led the gainers’ log by adding 10k to close at N1.10.

Africa Prudential followed, gaining 80k to close at N9.00 per share.

Unity Bank gained 15k to close at N1.69, Wapic Insurance rose by 6k to close at 73k, and Sovereign Trust Insurance went up by 4k to close at 49k per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed that trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions increasing by 10.86 per cent.

A total of 365.64 million shares valued at N4.12 billion were exchanged in 8,665 deals, compared to 274.68 million shares valued at N3.71 billion exchanged in 10,112 deals previously.

Universal Insurance led the activity log-in volume with 61.53 million shares worth N24.36 million.

AIICO followed with 31.72 million shares valued at N32.51 million.

UBA transacted 25.85 million shares worth N581.91 million, while UCAP led the log-in value with 25.27 million shares worth N711.31 million.

NEM Insurance traded 23.26 million shares worth N197.68 million. 

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Banking & Finance

Revocation Of Heritage Bank’s Licence Will Stabilise Financial System – Experts

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Revocation Of Heritage Bank’s Licence Will Stabilise Financial System – Experts

 ….Uwaleke, Ekechukwu opine it’s a step in the right direction 

 Some finance experts have commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for revocating the operating licence of Heritage Bank Plc, describing it as a proactive gesture, made to save depositors’ funds.

The CBN announced on Monday, the revocation of the licence of the bank with immediate effect.

The experts, who spoke on Monday in Abuja, said the action was in the overall interest of the financial system.

According to Uche Uwaleke, a Professor of Finance and Capital Market, and the president of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, the revocation is a step in the right direction.

Uwaleke said that the proactive step taken by the CBN was in the overall interest of financial system stability.

He, however, said that efforts should be made to protect the depositors and employees of the liquidated bank.

“With the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) taking over the liquidation process, efforts should be made to protect the depositors as well as the interests of employees using liquidation dividends,” he said.

An economist, Dr Chijioke Ekechukwu, said that Heritage Bank had been struggling over the years to remain afloat, adding that the situation must have become irredeemable for the apex bank to revoke its licence.

According to Ekechukwu, a past president of the  Abuja  Chamber of  Commerce and  Industry, some years ago, some of us in the finance sector knew that the bank was struggling to remain afloat.

“For the CBN to revoke its licence, it means that it was irredeemable and probably not marketable to investors,” he said.

He said that there would be an initial setback to all the bank’s customers because it would take a while to verify them for the purpose of compensation and refund of their monies by the NDIC.

“It is, however, better to sanitise the financial system than to allow a sick and weak bank to continue to open its doors to customers,” he said.

Mr Gregory Mmaduakolam, also an economist, said that the action by the CBN was rash and capable of eroding the much-needed confidence in the banking system.

Mmaduakolam said that the action would also result in avoidable job loss of staff of the bank, thereby, further exacerbating the country’s unemployment challenge.

“I would have preferred a situation where the CBN supports ailing banks and prevents them from failing than simply withdrawing their licences.

“Such an action does not encourage confidence in the banking system, ” he said.

The CBN had on Monday, announced the revocation of the licence of the bank with immediate effect.

It said that the action was in accordance with the apex bank’s mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and in the exercise of its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA).

It said that the board and management of the bank had not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constituted a threat to financial stability.

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