FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC solid and steady progress on backward integration in dairy development in Nigeria

UAC of Nigeria PLC (“UAC” or the “Group”) announced its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2020.HighlightsRevenue 3% ahead of FY 2019, despite COVID-19 related disruptions.Gross margin 134bps lower due to limited sales during the Q2 2020 restrictions to the movement of people and goods, as well as, higher input costs.Underlying operating profit 26% lower at ₦3.6 billion, largely on account of the Paints segment.Total profit for the period was ₦3.9 billion, a reversal from the ₦9.3 billion loss reported in FY 2019.Earnings per share was 92 kobo, up from negative 183 kobo in FY 2019.Total dividend of 120 kobo per share (₦5 billion) comprised of an ordinary dividend of 65 kobo and a special dividend of 55 kobo per share. This translates to a dividend yield of 13.8%. Subsidiary and associate company highlightsCompleted partial exit from UACN Property Development Company PLC (“UPDC”). Received N6 billion cash proceeds and 649,392,661 UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (“UPDC REIT”) units valued at N3.6 billion. UPDC and UPDC REIT are now classified as investments in associates.Divested an 8% stake in MDS Logistics Limited (“MDS Logistics”) to our joint venture partner, Imperial Logistics. This reduced UAC’s ownership from 51% to 43%. MDS Logistics is now classified as an investment in associate.Chemical and Allied Products PLC (“CAP”) and Portland Paints and Products Nigeria PLC (“Portland Paints”) announced plans to merge.Proposed corporate actionsUnbundling of UPDC REIT units, valued at N6 billion, to UAC shareholders was approved by the Board of Directors. Completion is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals as well as the sanction of the court.Commenting on the results and corporate actions, Group Managing Director, Fola Aiyesimoju, stated: “UAC’s objective is to generate attractive long-term, risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders. I am delighted that the Board approved ₦7.1 billion in capital returns to shareholders via a mix of dividends and REIT units totalling N2.47 per share or a 28.3% return at current market values.Over the last 12 months, we faced a recession, civil unrest, and significant changes to the way we work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of these headwinds, we executed our key priorities, implemented initiatives relating to UPDC, strengthened management, and returned the Group to profitability.As part of the partial exit from UPDC, we received ₦6.6 billion net cash proceeds and 649 million UPDC REIT units valued at ₦3.6 billion. I am excited that we are unlocking value for our shareholders via a special dividend, as well as, the unbundling of UPDC REIT units which, if approved by regulators, shareholders and sanctioned by the court, will see UAC’s shareholders become direct holders of units in UPDC REIT.Going forward, our focus remains on creating shareholder value and we continue to prioritise growth, scale, and simplicity to achieve this. We will explore acquisitions as an avenue to accelerate growth.”Corporate Action: Proposed Unbundling of UPDC REIT UnitsConsistent with our commitment to create sustainable shareholder value, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce its decision to unbundle its 24.34% interest in UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (649 million units valued at N3.6 billion) to UAC shareholders. Following the unbundling, UAC will no longer own any UPDC REIT units, and UAC’s shareholders will become direct holders of UPDC REIT units. The allocation ratio of 0.2254 will see UAC shareholders receive 226 UPDC REIT units for every 1,000 UAC shares owned, providing UAC shareholders with a capital return of N1.27 per share or 14.5% based on the respective market prices of UAC and UPDC REIT as at 29 March 2021. The proposed initiative will provide shareholders with direct exposure to UPDC REIT and its diverse portfolio of income generating assets, ensuring that shareholders directly benefit from future potential dividend distributions from the UPDC REIT.Implementation framework: The transfer of UPDC REIT units to UAC’s shareholders will be implemented through a Scheme of Arrangement under Section 715 of the Companies and Allied Matters, Act, 2020 as amended (“CAMA”), incorporating a reduction in share capital under Section 131 of CAMA. The effect of the scheme will be that UPDC REIT units owned by UAC will be transferred to UAC’s shareholders, pro-rata to their shareholding in UAC. If the Scheme is approved and implemented, UAC’s shareholders will hold UPDyou C REIT units in addition to their existing shares in UAC. UAC will cease to be a unitholder in UPDC REIT.The announced plan is subject to the review and approval of regulators, UAC shareholders at a court-ordered meeting, as well as the sanction of the court. Accordingly, shareholders and the investing public are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the securities of UAC and UPDC REIT. Further updates will be communicated accordingly.Group HighlightsAttributable to share of profit from MDS Logistics and UPDC where UAC holds 43% and 42.85% of the respective company’s shares.Accounting ChangesThe following transactions in respect of equity interests in subsidiaries are responsible for key accounting changes in FY 2020 compared to FY 2019:The divestment of control in MDS Logistics and UPDC. UAC now accounts for MDS Logistics and UPDC as “investments in associates” in the Statement of Financial Position (“SOFP”). UAC’s share of profit from both entities is reported under “Share of Profit of Associates and JVs” in the Group Statement of Profit or Loss (“P or L”) for year ended 31 December 2020. Group Performance and Financial Review: FY 2020Revenue in FY 2020 increased 2.7% YoY to ₦81.4 billion supported by sales growth in the Animal Feeds & Other Edibles segment (+4.6% YoY), the Packaged Food & Beverages segment (1.8%) and the Quick Service Restaurant Segment (1.8%). These segments were deemed essential services during the period of stringent restrictions to the movement of people and goods to curtail the spread of COVID-19.Gross profit in FY 2020 declined 3.8% YoY to ₦16.0 billion as a result of limited sales during the strictest phase of the restrictions to the movement of people and goods (April and May), and higher input costs.Operating Profit was ₦3.6 billion in FY 2020 compared to ₦5.7 billion in the previous year. Adjusting for non-recurring income in 2019 from the sale of non-core real estate assets (₦631 million) and the writeback of statute barred unclaimed dividend (₦206 million), underlying FY 2020 EBIT declined 25.8% YoY to ₦3.6 billion in 2020 versus ₦4.8 billion in 2019. The decline was largely attributable to the Paints segment which was categorised as “non-essential” and was impacted by reduced sales in April and May, as well as input cost escalation partly attributable to foreign exchange devaluation, supply chain disruptions which impacted raw material sourcing, and rising employee costs on account of initiatives to strengthen management teams across the Group.Underlying Profit before Tax was 23% lower YoY at ₦5.1 billion in FY 2020 on account of lower operating profit and steep decline in net finance income (-69.0% YoY) on account of lower investment income yields compared to the prior year. The decline in net finance income was offset by the share of profit of associates of ₦973 million earned from MDS and UPDC, largely attributable to a non-cash, mark to market increase in the fair value of UPDC REIT.Profit after Tax from continuing operations was ₦3.5 billion, down 35.3% YoY against ₦5.3 billion in FY 2019. Total profit for the period was ₦3.9 billion in FY 2020, a reversal from the ₦9.3 billion loss reported in FY 2019. Earnings per share for FY 2020 was 92 kobo, up from negative 183 kobo in FY 2019.Free Cash Flow for the period was negative ₦3.0 billion in FY 2020, compared with negative ₦5.6 billion in FY 2019. Free cash flow in FY 2020 improved significantly on account of the ₦4.2 billion gain from the change in net assets of disposal group held for sale, as a result of the sale of controlling stake in MDS and UPDC. Free cash flow was also impacted by higher net capital expenditure YoY (+71% increase to ₦4.4 billion in FY 2020) from investments in production capacity and cold chain distribution for the Packaged Food and Beverages segment.Return on Equity (ROE) from continuing operations at the end of December 2020 was 5%, a reversal from negative 10.6% as at the same period last year. Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) was 103bps lower at 5.9% (6.9% in FY2019).Segment PerformancePerformance of the corporate head office not included in the table as it is not allocated to any segment. Animal Feeds and Other Edibles Revenue from the Animal Feeds and Other Edibles segment increased 4.6% YoY to N54.2 billion in FY 2020. Price increases, as well as volume growth, across major categories to offset higher input costs primarily contributed to the 17.7% increase in YoY EBIT to ₦2.1 billion (FY 2019: ₦1.8 billion). The segment recorded a ₦1.7 billion Profit before Tax in FY 2020, against a ₦990 million Profit before Tax in FY 2019.Paints Corporate Action: On 26 October 2020, Chemical and Allied Products PLC (CAP) and Portland Paints and Products Nigeria PLC (Portland Paints) announced their intention to merge their respective businesses. The boards and management of CAP and Portland Paints expect the proposed merger to be value accretive to stakeholders of both companies. The respective minority shareholders of both companies approved the merger at separate court-ordered meetings on 18 February 2021. Completion is subject to final regulatory approvals and court sanction, expected in Q2 2021.Financial review: The Paints segment reported revenue contraction of 5.4% YoY to ₦10.4billion in FY 2020. The decline in revenue was largely a result of lower sales as this segment was categorised as “non-essential” and was impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions particularly in April and May 2020. Operating profit was 45.3% lower at ₦1.2 billion as a result of losses during the period of no sales, higher royalties, and rising input costs. Profit before Tax of ₦1.5 billion in FY 2020 was 45% lower than FY 2019.Packaged Food and Beverages The Packaged Food and Beverages segment recorded revenue growth of 1.8% YoY in FY 2020 of ₦17.9 billion (FY 2019: ₦17.5 billion). Lower volumes in the snacks category on account of movement restrictions and the partial shutdown of markets to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Q2, were offset by higher volumes in water and ice cream categories, as well as, increased sales in the snacks category in Q4 pls due to sales and marketing efforts. Operating profit increased by 13.3% to N1.4 billion (FY 2019: N1.2 billion) on account of lower operating costs. Profit before Tax declined by 12.0% to ₦1.4 billion on account of lower finance income.Quick Service Restaurants Revenue from the Quick Service Restaurants segment grew 1.8% YoY to ₦1.53 billion in FY 2020 from ₦1.50 billion in FY 2019 on account of an increase in the number of company-owned restaurants (corporate stores). The segment recorded a ₦48 million operating loss in FY 2020 as a result of higher cost of sales and operating costs. UAC Restaurants recorded a ₦57 million Loss before Tax in FY 2020, against a ₦75 million Loss before Tax in FY 2019.Associate: Real Estate (UPDC – 43% ownership)Corporate Action: Sale of 51% stake: On 3 August 2020, UAC entered into a binding agreement with Custodian Investment PLC regarding the acquisition of a 51% stake in UPDC to be completed in two tranches. The first tranche, representing a 5.1% stake was completed in September 2020. The sale of the second tranche of UPDC shares representing a 45.9% stake was concluded on 17 November 2020. UAC received N6.6 billion in cash proceeds and retains a 42.85% stake in UPDC.Unbundling of UPDC REIT units: In 2020, UPDC embarked on a process to unbundle its holdings in UPDC REIT to its shareholders. This initiative was aimed at maximising returns to all UPDC’s shareholders by providing direct access to the steady and regular dividend distributions of UPDC REIT. UAC, as a shareholder of UPDC, received 649,392,661 UPDC REIT units, representing a 24.34% stake, valued at N3.6 billion as at 31 December 2020.Financial review: UPDC’s FY 2020 revenue was ₦1.7 billion, 22.9% lower than FY 2019 as a result of challenging operating environment exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Revenue declined on account of lower sales of properties at ₦1.3 billion compared to FY 2019 of ₦1.7 billion (-24.8%), lower rental income and management fees at ₦96 million compared to FY 2019 of ₦167 million (-42.3%).The segment recorded an operating loss of ₦713 million in FY 2020, an improvement compared to operating loss of ₦1.3 billion in FY 2019 due to improvement in gross profit from inventory write back. Although the company incurred net finance costs of ₦1.5 billion (-43.4% lower YoY) and provision for First Festival Mall loan guarantee of ₦940 million, the fair value gain of ₦2.9 billion, earned on the Company’s asset disposal group held for sale contributed to UPDC recording a ₦263 million Loss before Tax in FY 2020, an improvement of 98.4% against a ₦16.2 billion Loss before Tax in FY 2019. Associate: Logistics (MDS Logistics – 43% ownership)MDS Logistics’ FY 2020 revenue increased 40.3% YoY to ₦8.0 billion from ₦5.7 billion driven by increase in demand for haulage services. Operating profit increased 15.9% YoY to ₦875 million (FY 2019: ₦755 million) resulting in EBIT margin of 11% in FY 2020, a 231bps compression compared to the prior year on account of higher cost of sales. Profit before Tax of ₦388 million in FY 2020 was 44.8% lower than FY 2019 (₦703 million) as a result of increased finance costs incurred on a loan to fund recent capital expenditure to support the haulage business. Profit after Tax was ₦289 million in FY 2020.Results Conference CallManagement will host an investor and analyst conference call on Thursday, 1 April 2021 at 3pm WAT to present and discuss the Group results. The presentation and conference call details are available on our website (www.uacnplc.com). Please direct any questions regarding the conference call to UAC Investor Relations, via e-mail, at [email protected]. For more information, please contactFunke Ijaiya-OladipoGroup Chief Financial Officer[email protected]+234 906 269 2908www.uacnplc.com About UACUAC of Nigeria PLC (UAC) is a holding company with subsidiary and associate companies operating in the Animal Feeds and Other Edibles; Paints; Packaged Food and Beverages; Quick Service Restaurants; Logistics and Real Estate segments. UAC has played a prominent role Nigeria’s development for over a century. The company is focused on building its businesses into leaders in their chosen segments.UAC has four operating platformsAnimal Feeds and Other EdiblesGrand Cereals Limited (71.4% ownership) – a leading producer of cereals, edible oils, poultry feed, fish feed, ruminant feed and dog food. The company has production and distribution facilities in Northern and South Eastern Nigeria. It owns a portfolio of strong brands including Grand, Vital, and Best Mate.Livestock Feeds PLC (73.0% ownership) – produces and distributes poultry feed, feed concentrates and full fat soya. The company recently expanded its offering to include veterinary drugs. Livestock Feeds’ geographic strength is in South West Nigeria. The company is listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“The NSE”).PaintsChemical and Allied Products PLC (51.5% ownership) – the leading player in the premium paints segment and the sole technology licensee for AkzoNobel’s decorative range in Nigeria. The company benefits from a unique distribution model – franchised retail outlets, which it pioneered in Nigeria’s paint industry. CAP is listed on The NSE.Portland Paints and Products Nigeria PLC (85.98% ownership) – is a distributor for Hempel’s industrial products in Nigeria. It also manufactures and markets decorative and industrial paints under its own brand, Sandtex. PPNL is listed on The NSE.Packaged Food and BeveragesUAC Foods Limited (51% ownership) – a joint venture business with Tiger Brands and leader in the snacks, ice-cream, and spring water categories. It owns iconic brands including Gala, Funtime, Supreme and SWAN Spring Water.Quick Service RestaurantsUAC Restaurants Limited (51% ownership) – a joint venture with Famous Brands, manages the network of Quick Service Restaurants across Nigeria under the Mr Bigg’s and Debonairs Pizza brands.UAC owns minority stakes in Logistics and Real Estate businessesLogisticsMDS Logistics Limited (43% ownership) – a leading logistics provider in Nigeria, offers the complete suite of outbound logistics and supply chain services including Warehousing, Haulage and Distribution.Real EstateUACN Property Development Company PLC (42.9% ownership) – a foremost property development and management company quoted on The NSE.UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (24.3% ownership) – a close-ended property fund listed on The NSE, with a market capitalisation of ₦14.7 billion as at 31 December 2020.For more information visit www.uacnplc.com 

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FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC solid and steady progress on backward integration in dairy development in Nigeria – NM Partners – 2021-03-31 17:12:55

SGF, NSA, IG, Minister, SSGs Endorse Joint Operations to Flush out Bandits

Tobi Soniyi
A joint operation to deliberately deny criminals room for manoeuvre and change of locations and hideouts has been approved by a forum of prominent state players as part of a new initiative to curb the growing insecurity in the country. Key actors, who endorsed the move, include Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno; and Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADM&SD), Sadiya Umar Farouk; Minister of Environment, Dr. Abubakar Mahmood; and the 36 Secretaries to the State Governments also approved the new operation.

The resolution was part of the decisions reached at the first quarter regular meetings by the Forum of Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Secretaries to the State Governments, which held virtually on Thursday.

According to a communiqué issued yesterday, the meeting urged the Secretaries to the State Governments to explore possibilities of joint operations by states to prevent free movements by criminals between states.“This is to avoid bandits moving from areas of hot pursuit to other areas and returning, when the heat is down,” the communiqué stated.Themed, “Role of Secretaries to the State Governments in Strengthening Sub-National Level Security Architecture,” the meeting was chaired by Mustapha in company with other stakeholders.
The forum called on the federal government to strengthen border controls in order to check illegal immigrants and influx of weapons from other countries. It emphasised the need to resuscitate community-driven safety measures and address existing trust deficits to encourage willingness to release information to state security agencies.“The meeting emphasised the need to recalibrate our traditional governance systems to the time-tested and proven method of responsiveness to civil society at the local levels, which hitherto prevailed in the country,” the communiqué stated.
The forum said there was need to automate the national security architecture and provide adequate resources for personnel, equipment, and operations. It highlighted the need to improve the current low police to population ratio and imbibe community policing. It reiterated the need for appropriate public enlightenment to raise security awareness among the citizenry.
The meeting equally recognised the coordinating role of the Secretaries to the State Governments and called on them to strengthen non-kinetic approaches, especially, by establishing a community level early warning systems.
The forum also noted progress made in strengthening federal and state governments’ relationship in delivering poverty eradication initiatives and called for sustenance and scaling up in view of the growing poverty situation in the country.
Farouk disclosed that there was an on-going high-level consultation to establish structures that would ensure that all agencies responsible for implementing poverty eradication programmes/projects cooperated. The consultation is also to ensure that the agencies are well coordinated to share experiences, share data and complement each other for effectiveness, better deployment of resources, and higher poverty reduction impacts, she said.
Farouk said at the federal level, there will be National Poverty Eradication Cooperation and Coordinating Committee (NPCCC) chaired by her. She explained that at the state level, there would also be a Poverty Eradication Cooperation and Coordination Committee (SPCCC), under the Offices of the SSGs, aimed at achieving similar objectives.
The minister said the ministry had established the National Social Register (NSR) aimed at capturing in details the data on all poor and vulnerable citizens in the country, adding, “So far, nearly 30 million individuals have been registered nationwide.”The forum further examined the inextricable linkage between environmental degradation, security and conflict for resource use and management. It called for a National Forestry and Biodiversity Summit and urged the Federal Ministry of Environment to provide leadership for its convocation.
The forum urged state governments to strengthen their various forestry services especially, by prioritising sustainable forest management practices, developing and adhering to forest management plans, and strengthening the state forestry services. It appealed to the federal government to support the Federal Ministry of Environment in undertaking a comprehensive forest resources assessment.
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SGF, NSA, IG, Minister, SSGs Endorse Joint Operations to Flush out Bandits – editor – 2021-03-21 06:00:50

Why ‘La Femme Anjola’ movie took five years to make – Rita Dominic

Nollywood star, Rita Dominic, has explained why the release of ‘La Femme Anjola,’ the buzzy crime thriller directed by Mildred Okwo and which she stars ,comes about five years after its production commenced.
The movie which stars, Nonso Bassey, in the lead role, will launch locally in theatres nationwide on March 19, 2021.
According to her, the movie was originally billed for release in 2020 but was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘‘With the funding secured in March 2019 from Lagos-based GTI Securities as well as other private investors we finished up production in time for a 2020 release only for the rollout to be interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ she said.
The 45-year-old actress revealed this during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES at the media screening of the movie on Thursday.
The movie was shot on a tight budget according to the producers who said the movie already had to wait at least five years for financial reasons.
“It was filmed for twenty-five days in Nigeria and went to South Africa for a week. It was difficult because we didn’t have that much money. I would have loved for us to have about eight weeks here in Nigeria and another two or three weeks in South Africa, but we didn’t have much money,” Okwo explained.
“Speaking about how she was able to play the challenging lead role and get in tune with the character, Ms. Dominic said she felt she needed to play the character since she read the script and she connected to the role.
“For me, when I read a script and the character scares me, that is inspiration right there. When I first read the script and I was getting to the end, I said to myself, what just happened here? I went back to the beginning and read it all the way to the end. I feel for every actor, we are all going to find that one role that we connect with and I did connect to that role and I felt that I needed to be a part of this project.
“During the production, you know planning is everything, with the help of the director we created a backstory for Anjola. Backstories help you a lot because it helps you understand who this person is, where she is coming from, how she looks, why she is this way, just basically everything you need to know. Backstories help in the interpretation of the role and that is it,” she said.
Commenting on Ms Dominic’s role on the project, the director of the movie, Ms Okwo, said she felt lucky to have her and other actors on the set because they made her directional role easy.
She said, “Rita scared me. If you say drop it, she just drops it, takes her close, and goes to sit in a corner and won’t talk to us which is sort of unusual because I thought I had to talk plenty but she said to me that I have been talking to her for five years. I always tell people that I try not to direct on set, even with all the other actors. I was very lucky with them, they prepared. But guess what, people will prepare for you when you give them the right tools.“As you can see, we put in a nice script, a good script, proper production setting, but we waited a while to get the money because we didn’t have the money initially. We waited almost four years and it was when we found the money that we started.”
Mental Health Challenges
The actress also revealed how she fell into depression while filming her new movie, ‘La Femme Anjola.’
‘‘I couldn’t sleep, I remember my assistant was saying that I couldn’t sleep at night, I would wake up with jolts, it was really depressing. I felt like Anjola,” she revealed.
Ms Dominic said she completely became her character, Anjola, who went through the harrowing consequences of getting entangled with a young male stockbroker and musician, played by Nonso Bassey, while still married to a wealthy gangster.
The director spoke further on how filming intense roles affected the actors mentally. She said the lead characters, Dominic and Bassey, got so engrossed in their roles that it affected their mood off of the set.

She said, “I remember the day that had to do the killing scene, she was so depressed and she would sit away from everybody. She wasn’t talking, she was sad. There was a scene when Nonso found his brother with his girl, he broke down, he started crying, he was into the character.
“That is what we hope to do with Nollywood, if you give people time, they will get into the character, so as a director, all I do is to guide them.”

She added that, unlike most directors, it is important to her how the actors fair mentally so she helped them unwind to feel better.
“Most directors don’t really care about the actors and these emotional things affect them. So what I did after we finished shooting was I flew them away and paid for extra time for them to at least detox because you must take that time. It is very important to me,” she said.
Expenses
The 54-year-old director also revealed that ‘La Femme Anjola’ is an expensive movie and she is yet to figure out how much the movie costs, adding that she hopes the movie does well in the cinemas.
“Thank God for the pandemic, there are not too many Hollywood movies in our cinemas. I am hoping that people will come out and watch it, we don’t have too many Hollywood films competing. Apart from that, it is a great film.
“Regarding the money, the thing is that we are still spending. It is a very expensive film, I hope that in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to say how much because it is a lot of money,” she said.
La Femme Anjola
Written by Tunde Babalola, ‘La Femme Anjola’ is a psychological-thriller film noir that tells the story of a young man (Nonso Bassey), whose life followed a negative trajectory after he fell for a beauty queen, whom he cannot have.
The film, which is from the stables of ‘The Audrey Silva Company Limited,’ will be distributed by, Silverbird Distribution, the company which distributed their earlier releases – ‘The Meeting’ and ‘Surulere’.
The film was shot in locations in Lagos, Nigeria, and Cape Town (South Africa).

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Why ‘La Femme Anjola’ movie took five years to make – Rita Dominic – Jayne Augoye – 2021-03-18 17:17:32

CBN extends Covid-19 forbearance for intervention loans by another 12 months

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal Government achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 2020.She said that the 89% capital funding for MDAs was achieved with the release of N1.74 trillion.According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ahmed at an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, February 22, 2021.She also revealed that the government had disbursed N118.37 billion for Covid-19 capital expenditure from the fund.READ: Recession: Senate attributes recovery to it’s cordial relationship with ExecutiveWhat the Minister for Finance is sayingAhmed said the Nigerian economy faced serious challenges in 2020, with the macroeconomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.She said this led to a 65% drop in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, which adversely affected foreign exchange inflows into the economy.On the delayed release of funds to implement the 2020 capital budget until March 31, the Minister said the complaint had decreased.She said, “I think the complaint was earlier in the year when we were trying to transfer the balances. As far as I know, in the past three weeks, I haven’t heard any such complaints and we have been able to address them.“But when we started the transfers, we couldn’t transfer to some agencies because of some limitations in the system, but we have since been able to transfer the capital component that is being utilised by the agencies budget to the system.”READ: Nigeria receives $9.68 billion capital inflows in 2020, lowest in 4 yearsWhile pointing out that the implementation of the MDAs projects was tied to procurement processes and capacity of the MDA, Ahmed also said the extension of the 2020 capital budget implementation to March 31 had recorded 30% performance as at January.However, Ahmed said that she expected that the extension would record 100% performance in March.Speaking during the interaction, the Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Orji-Uzor Kalu, commended the Minister on the capital performance of the 2020 budget.READ: FG to reopen Kano and Port Harcourt airports for international flightsHe said, “I want to commend the minister and her team because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that by December 31, we are having 89% performance expenditure of the budget. It has never happened before; Last year was the very first.“The budget had been going 49%, 27%; this means from what the Senate President was asking, it means by March, we should be looking at implementing the budget 100%.’’Earlier, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the meeting was to get an update on the capital implementation of the 2020 budget given its extension for implementation by the national assembly to March 31.What this meansThe 89% capital release for the 2020 budget as of December 2020 is quite encouraging as it occurred despite the economic challenges and disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.There seems to be an improved effort by the Federal Government at the budgeting process with the early passage of the 2021 budget and the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget.

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CBN extends Covid-19 forbearance for intervention loans by another 12 months – Chike Olisah – 2021-03-04 00:36:23

PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack

By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded for the immediate sack of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) for asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against aggression by armed bandits and terrorists.
The party described the Minister’s call as reckless, irresponsible and an indication that the Buhari administration has abdicated its statutory duties of protecting Nigerians.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines during the screening of the newly appointed Service Chiefs on Wednesday, the Minister had asked Nigerians to “stand and face” the armed bandits.
Stating that security issue should not be the responsibility of the military alone, the Minister had charged Nigerians to stop acting like cowards when confronted by armed criminals.
The Minister, while commenting on the killing of a pupil and abduction of 27 others at a secondary school at Kagara, Niger state the by armed bandits, said it’s a surprise to him that Nigerians often took to their heels on hearing gunshots fired by bandits who sometimes strike with “only three rounds of ammunition”.
But in a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the Minister’s statements as reckless, irresponsible and a confirmation that the Buhari administration has surrendered to outlaws and has no determination to fight them.

“It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorists and bandits as “cowards” while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja.
“Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government, goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords,” the PDP said.
The party noted that given the silence by the Presidency over the comments, the Minister actually spoke the mind of the President and his security architecture
It added that the Minster’s position further explained why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in the country.
The PDP said: “Such statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, have been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts atrocities against our compatriots.
“Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower.
“Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair at this moment but brace up as it has become obvious that we are now in a despondent situation where government has shown that it can no longer defend the citizens”.

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PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack – Oamen Eromosele – 2021-02-18 17:23:51

Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria

General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Mohammed Mijindadi as President of GE Nigeria.
In this role, Mr Mijindadi will focus on strengthening GE’s impact in Nigeria, building strong stakeholder relationships across Power, Healthcare, Aviation and Renewable Energy sectors, and supporting the businesses to develop and execute the market strategy.
Mr Mijindadi brings over 20 years of deep domain experience as well as global and regional leadership expertise. He has been with GE for the last 13 years in the various commercial country and regional leadership business roles.
A graduate of the GE Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP), Mr Mijindadi has progressed through varied, complex assignments including Commercial Excellence Leader, Strategic Sourcing Leader and Business Development. Prior to joining GE, Mohammed worked in several US multinationals in the transportation, services, construction, and entertainment industries.
Commenting on the appointment, Jaime Morais, President, GE West & Central Africa said, “We are privileged to have Mohammed take up the leadership of GE in Nigeria. His track record of building and managing relationships as well as pushing to deliver business results will serve us well as we position to support our businesses for growth, transformation and operational performance in such an important and high priority market.”
“With a growing population and huge infrastructure needs, Nigeria continues to represent a significant market opportunity for GE, and I am excited to take on this challenge to drive GE’s growth in Nigeria, building on its 120 plus years of impact on the continent. I’m looking forward to working across our businesses in Power, Healthcare, Renewable Energy and Aviation to create value for the country, our customers and our team on critical themes such as decarbonization and digitalization, as we rise to the challenge of building a world that works,” Mr Mijindadi said.
Mr Mijindadi serves on the boards of GE international Operations Nigeria (GEION) and GE FZE entities in addition to other external boards. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc.) in Civil Engineering from Temple University in Philadelphia and an M.B.A in Marketing and Strategic Leadership from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in State College, PA.
GE has been operating in Nigeria for over 40 years, with businesses spanning across key sectors including, power, healthcare, aviation, and renewables.
Today, GE provides gas power technology, services and solutions in the country. “Our Healthcare solutions are improving access and quality of care across the country in public and private healthcare centres, while our Renewables and Grid Solutions business is providing reliable and affordable green power as well as complete, engineered solutions for power generation companies, utilities, and industries,” the company said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of GE.

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Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria – Press Release – 2021-02-11 14:28:33

Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum has disclosed that for Nigeria to rebuild post-Covid, the country must move to a more impactful sustainable health care plan.The Governor disclosed this on Tuesday after his lecture titled, “The role of Nigeria’s state governments in recovery: responses to COVID-19 linked challenges’’ at the Chatham House Event, London, United Kingdom. He added that the NGF is working with the FG to ensure Nigerians have access to the vaccines.Fayemi stated that the FG must focus on healthcare to ensure a better economic rebuild.“We must ask ourselves and rethink on existing assumptions and facts around financing and delivery of health care in a manner that guarantees we build back better.“This requires adequate funding of the health sector. We have begun to advocate for increased investment in health security and public health emergencies by State Governments,” he said.He disclosed that his Ekiti State increased the capital budget for health by 250% due to the pandemic, and proposed that states establish their own Centres for Disease Control.“In Ekiti State, for example, our capital budget for health in 2021 increased by 250%  above 2020 figures.“Our new four-year strategy for the health sector has public health security as a major priority.“At the NGF, we are recommending that states begin to think about establishing their own Centres for Disease Control,” he said.He also said that Nigeria now has a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) which includes a multi-sectorial approach to prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks.The Governor revealed that Covid-19 is the biggest lesson for Nigeria as it affected every area of the economy, adding that all sectors have a duty to contribute to public health.“The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps our biggest lesson around this, as the pandemic has affected all spheres of the economy.“Every sector must now contribute to ensuring health security and this is not limited to the provision of funds alone.“Many of the determinants of health are outside the health sector, and so we must have multi-sectoral leadership and response to public health emergencies,” Fayemi said.On the Central BankThe Governor praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for its intervention policies to the states and for its role in ensuring states grow back to pre-pandemic levels.“Intervention funds have been made available with interest rates below inflation, with the hope that we can stimulate the growth of small and medium scale businesses.“Similarly, institutions such as the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture have also given moratoriums on existing loans to ease the burden of payment,” he said.What you should know Nairametrics reported this week that the Nigerian government expects about 41 million vaccines from the African Union before the end of April, as it also expects to source vaccines from India and Russia.This was disclosed by the head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.President Muhammadu Buhari also signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.Six States, Lagos, FCT, Plateau, Kaduna, Oyo, and Rivers, have contributed 70% of confirmed cases, with Lagos, the commercial nerve of the country, contributing about 40% of the total burden. Data indicates that men appear to be disproportionately affected, accounting for 69% of the confirmed cases. Most cases occur in people aged 31-40 years.Fayemi also stated that Nigeria expects about 80 million doses of vaccines to be made available in 2021 to cover 40% of the population, while another 60 million doses are to be delivered ahead of 2022.

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Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi – William Ukpe – 2021-02-03 11:34:08

Telecom stocks reach record high, Nigerian stock market value hit N22 trillion

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the disbursement of $250 million as part of its support for Trans Niger Oil and Gas Ltd (TNOG) to acquire 45 per cent stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 17 onshore oilfield.The fund is part of the $1.1 billion which is required by the oil firm for the acquisition of the 45% stake in the oilfield in which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds 55% equity in the Lease.According to a press statement from Afreximbank, the $250 million Reserve Based Lending facility, is the largest amount to be disbursed for this purpose, underwriting about a quarter of the financing that enabled TNOG to acquire stakes in OML 17 from Shell Petroleum Development Company, Total E & P Nigeria Limited and ENI.The statement noted that other participating lenders in the consortium include African Finance Corporation, Union Bank, Shell, Hybrid Capital and Schlumberger with TNOG advised by United Capital Plc.Other participating lenders are Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank, Shell, Hybrid Capital and Schlumberger, with United Capital Plc. advising TNOG.TNOG is a related company of Heirs Holdings Limited and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a leading African conglomerate with interests in banking, insurance, real estate, hospitality and powerAfreximbank in its statement said, “The five-year US$1.1-billion-dollar facility, which was signed in December 2020, despite the economic headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was led, as Mandated Lead Arrangers, by Afreximbank, Standard Chartered Bank and ABSA.“Following this acquisition, TNOG will now operate the OML 17 onshore oilfield on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which owns the remaining 55% working interest,’’ the statement added.What the President of Afreximbank is sayingProf. Benedict Oramah, in his statement, said, “This transaction further underscores Afreximbank’s commitment to ensuring that indigenous African companies are able to play a more dominant role in the operations of specialized oil and gas assets in an industry hitherto dominated by the International Oil Companies.‘’ TNOG as the Operator of OML 17 will invest in an accelerated production ramp up thereby boosting foreign exchange earnings and employing more Africans. This resonates with our mandate. We congratulate Heirs Holdings for keeping the Africa flag flying.”What the Chairman of Heirs Holdings is sayingThe Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp Group, Tony Elumelu was quoted as saying, ‘’The transaction is a testament to the opportunity in Nigeria. Our acquisition of OML 17 and important related assets, significantly advances Heirs Holdings’ strategic vision of creating Africa’s leading integrated energy company. ‘’We are building a business that will ensure that African natural resources drive African power networks and ensure value creation occurs in Africa. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Afreximbank, and President Oramah for their strong support and shared vision of the transaction.”What you should knowNairametrics had about 2 weeks ago reported the acquisition of 45% stake in OML 17 from Shell, Total and ENI by Heirs Holding through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited as part of its bid to expand its oil and gas portfolio.TNOG which is a sister company of Heirs Holdings Ltd. and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc will have the sole operatorship of the asset in a transaction that is reported to be one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in over a decade.

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Telecom stocks reach record high, Nigerian stock market value hit N22 trillion – Olumide Adesina – 2021-01-27 18:59:56

Tunde Ayeni Accuses Okunbo of Stealing, Criminal Diversion of Millions of Dollars

OMS: He is a Meddlesome Interloper Seeking to Blackmail Okunbo for Financial Benefit
Tobi Soniyi
A former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank), Mr Tunde Ayeni, has dragged his business partner, Captain Hosa Okunbo, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged mismanagement, stealing and diversion of funds from their company – Ocean Marine Security Limited. In the petition written by his counsel, Mr Femi Fálànà (SAN), Ayeni gave a vivid account of how Okunbo tried to scheme him out of the company.

Ayeni said he had since discovered “a lot of stealing and diversion as well as gross mismanagement of large sums of money belonging to the company.”
However, in a swift reaction to the multitude of allegations against Okunbo and OMS, via press statement obtained by THISDAY yesterday night, the Management of OMS categorically stated that Dr Ayeni was no longer a part of either OMS or its associated companies as he resigned since in 2018 after selling all his shares. The press state reads in part: “The attention of the Board of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) has been drawn to several petitions written to various Government Agencies and widely circulated online, written, authored and orchestrated by Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni, a former Director and shareholder of OMS.”
The statement went on to describe Ayeni as “a meddlesome interloper seeking to blackmail Okunbo at this time of his ill-heath for Financial Benefit.”On his part, businessman and politician, Prince Ned Nwoko, has dismissed allegations in the Tunde Ayeni’s petition, that he (Nwoko) received the sum of $6,000,000 (Six Million Dollars) from him and Captain Idahosa Okunbo, in a business deal with Ocean Marine Solutions (OMS) Limited, over which he allegedly promised to pay the company the sum of $30,000,000 (Thirty Million Dollars).
Mr. Ayeni’s petitioner alleged that sometime in 2007, himself, Okunbo, Joe Aikhomu, represented by his father, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, and Gareth Dooley came together to form a company called Ocean Marine Security Limited. He said the company later changed its name to Ocean Marine Solutions Limited.According to him, Okunbo holds 46 per cent shares in the company, he, Ayeni, holds 35 per cent, Dooley holds 14 per cent, while Aikhomu held five per cent.
Ayeni said himself and Okunbo acquired Aikhomu’s shares after his demise. After his death, Aikhomu, who was the founding chairman, was replaced by Okunbo as chairman.
Ayeni said the company incorporated four other subsidiaries and invested in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company as well as Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
Trouble started when in 2016 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took over Skye Bank Plc, now Polaris Bank Limited. Following the take over, the new management of the bank wrote a petition against the management of the bank under Ayeni.
Charges were filed against him at both at the Federal High Court and the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.In the petition Falana stated, “Our client became very distracted from the day to day operations of the company because of an almost daily requirement of his presence at either the EFCC, the offices of his lawyers and the courts.
“During this period, the company had a payment challenge from the CBN as it also works for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiary NPDC as a result of which some of the payments are denominated in United States Dollars and as such the payments come through the CBN.”
Ayeni said Okunbo attributed difficulties in the payment of the invoices to his (Ayeni’s) prosecution by the EFCC.
In order to shield the company from the effect of his prosecution, Ayeni said Okunbo persuaded him to step aside from the company and its subsidiaries and handover to him to enable him protect income sources of the company.Ayeni said he agreed to the suggestion because he trusted Okunbo, only for the latter to turn around and say Ayeni’s shares had been sold tThe petitioner alleged that at no time did he discuss the actual sale of his interest in the company or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates with Okunbo. He said he no longer received emails and briefings from the company in respect of the businesses and finances but continued to receive his monthly allowances of $350,000 and $25,000 for his wife.However, Ayeni alleged that the allowances were stopped in September 2020 because of irreconcilable differences bordering on financial impropriety by Okunbo. the petition said.
When our client confronted Okunbo he had no defence whatsoever but claimed that he had bought our client out of the company and he cannot complain.”Ayeni also narrated how Okunbo introduced one Mr Nedd Nwoko to the company.
Nwoko said he had a contract with the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in respect of the Paris Club refund and that his fee was 20 per cent, Ayeni alleged.He said Nwoko asked the company to fund the transaction process for him, which he put at $5 million, and proposed to pay the company at success the sum of $30 million.
Ayeni said Okunbo funded Nwoko at various times to the tune of $6million.He said, “Captain Okunbo claimed that only $4.5 million was paid which was less than the money given to Nedd Nwoko because the Nigeria Governors’ Forum reduced his payment and he could not afford the commitment.“Captain Okunbo suggested to our client to accept the money to reduce the pressure from AMCON, which he obliged, as this was the practice in the company – any particular director in need is sometimes advanced sums of money ahead of others.”
Falana further stated in the petition, “Captain Okunbo now claimed that our client is no longer entitled to any share in the company’s revenues because of the N1 billion (utilised in initially settling the EFCC on his behalf) which was part of the $4.5 million paid through him to our client by Nedd Nwoko, which was tied to the agreement our client signed with him to avoid EFCC from closing down the account.”
He explained, “Sometimes in July 2020, one of our client’s partners told him of a discrepancy which had been noticed in the accounting records leading to an unauthorised withdrawal of $10 million and $8 million, respectively.
“Capt. Hosa Okunbo had claimed to them that he had spent the sum to settle a Senate hearing on one of the subsidiary companies, the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA), and that $8 million was spent in the Presidency on the same issue because of the dispute between him and the Ministry of Transport/Nigerian Ports Authority, which our client considers to be unreasonable because the total annual profit achieved on the SAA was about $5 million.
“You will agree with our client that the claim that Capt. Hosa Okunbo spent $18 million on influence peddling without discussing it with our client amounts to diversion as it makes no sense at all. More so, that the story of the amount he claimed to have spent has continued to change by the day from $1 million to $2 million to $4 million to $6 million until he made them to input the records $10 million for the Senate hearing and $8 million for the Presidency.”
Infractions Ayeni accused Okunbo of included moving the company’s accounts from Polaris Bank to Stanbic IBTC and abandoning the loan repayment comment by the company to the consortium of banks that funded the acquisition of Yola and Ibadan Discos.He said, “The loan as at today is about $100 million and no single repayment of interest and principal has been made into the account for over one year and a half.
“Captain Okunbo was a director of the Board of IBEDC until a few months ago when he resigned and replaced himself with his younger brother, Mr. Kingsley Okunbo, but he refused to pay the money meant for the acquisition of the company but he rather has been stealing it and diverting same to his personal use and to fund his political activities in just concluded Edo State governorship election.”
Ayeni also alleged that Okunbo inflated the cost of making a movie on oil spill in the Niger Delta from $7 million to $30 million.
The petition read, “Diversion of the loan of N500m to Gen. Boro the then coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty programme. Our client was informed that the money was subsequently repaid to the company through Captain Okunbo and two vehicles were recovered by him. He took possession of it and never paid back to the company.“Captain Okunbo borrowed $2 million from the company and took it to Liberia to fund the current Liberian president’s election. He has refused to pay back to the company.
“Unauthorised sale of the company’s Challenger Aircraft for the sum of $5.5 million and diversion of the money to his personal farm in Benin, which he has refused to pay back to the company.“Captain Okunbo borrowed $1 million from the company account which he refused to pay back to the company.
“The company through Captain Okunbo made available the sum of $5 million to Dr John Abebe for a five per cent share in an oil block with Star Oil. He has refused to provide details of the document of the investment.
“Captain Okunbo has illegally taken unauthorised amounts of money from the company account to fund the just concluded Edo State election without our client’s consent. From preliminary information our client has been informed that he spent about $18 million in this process, as a result of which our client requested a forensic audit of the accounts of the company and the subsidiaries, which Capt. Okunbo had taken full control of.”
Excerpts of OMS Press Statement in Response to Ayeni’s Petition
“The Board of Directors of OMS with a view to setting the records straight and to prevent Government Agencies, Clients of OMS and the general public from been misled by the false stories hereby states as follows:1. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is no longer a Director of OMS and any of its Associated Companies having resigned from OMS since August 2018.
2. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is no longer a shareholder of OMS and its Associated Companies having sold and transferred all his shares and interests to Wells Property Development Company Limited for valuable consideration since 2018.
3. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni has not been involved and connected in the management of OMS since 2018 when he resigned from the Board and sold his shares.
4. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni became aware in September, 2020 that the Chairman of OMS Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo had health issues and was undergoing treatment in London and has since that time started making false claims that he is still a part of OMS.
5. That the Board of OMS has implicit and unshaken confidence in all the steps taken by Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo in managing the affairs of the company and the lofty heights to which he has taken the company.
6. The Board commends and appreciates Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo for his selfless and personal efforts in managing the affairs of the company and the use of his personal resources in meeting operational financial shortfall in the company.
7. The company states unequivocally that its accounts are in good and correct order and its funds are intact and not missing, misappropriated or otherwise mismanaged.
8. The Board has passed a vote of confidence on Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Okunbo.9. Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is a meddlesome interloper who is seeking to blackmail Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo at this time of his ill-health for financial benefit.
10. Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni has no interest whatsoever in OMS and its affairs and is hereby advised to steer clear from OMS and its Associated Companies.”
Ned Nwoko Fires Back at Ayeni
In a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Nwoko put a lie to Ayeni’s claim, stating that at no point in time “have I had any dealings with Ayeni or Ocean Marine Solutions in whatever capacity.”Describing Ayeni’s assertion as “a malicious statement devoid of truth”, Nwoko expressly stated he has “never received any sum from Ayeni which he purported in his petition and has never played any role whatsoever as it relates to this transaction.”
“All transactions on the subject matter were done directly with Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo in his personal capacity to the exclusion of any other party including Ocean Marine Solutions Limited. To suggest otherwise as contained in the said petition is merely a malicious statement devoid of truth.”
Nwoko urged the IGP to yield no credence to the contents of Ayeni’s petition, as he had no clue “as to the nature or extent of my involvement with ALGON,” as he further clarified that that he only met Tunde Ayeni “in connection with ALGONS contract for the supply of Ambulances which were to be funded from the Paris Club refunds (5% of the judgement sum) and this project is still pending for all that I know.”“I am not aware of any payments in connection with this project,” Nwoko stated.
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Tunde Ayeni Accuses Okunbo of Stealing, Criminal Diversion of Millions of Dollars – editor – 2021-01-10 04:22:47

AfDB appoints directors-general, deputy directors-general in regional offices

The African Development Bank Group has announced the appointment of directors-general for the East, Central and Southern Africa regions and deputy general for the East, Central, Northern, Southern and West Africa regions.
Serge N’Guessan, Director General, Central Africa RegionAs Director-General, Central Africa, Mr N’Guessan will drive and ensure the operational efficiency, effectiveness and overall health of the Bank’s portfolio across the Central Africa Region. He will also spearhead regional business development and investment, driving resource mobilization across the countries under his remit and growing the business of the Bank significantly.
Mr N’Guessan, a Canadian citizen, is a professional with over 30 years of experience in international development and portfolio management, who has held important representation roles within the Bank for almost 10 years.
He has been the Deputy Director-General, West Africa, since September 2018, where he built an effective and motivated team, working in the spirit of ¨One Bank¨ and improved the work processes in the Regional Office. Serge has been instrumental over the last 10 years in enhancing policy dialogue, socio-economic reforms, resource mobilization and co-financing capacity, and aid coordination and effectiveness by strengthening the Bank’s collaboration with its technical and financial partners and with the private sector. Serge held the position of Country Manager, Senegal Country Office, from October 2017 to August 2018. He was previously Resident Representative for the Bank’s Office in Togo as of October 2011. He successfully opened, in January 2012, the first Country Office in Togo, a Fragile State, and he managed the operational functions of the Bank in Togo and, since 2013, in Benin.
Mr N’Guessan joined the Bank in 2000 as Senior Architect/Implementation Specialist, in the Human Development Department. He was subsequently assigned to the Governance and Financial Management Department, where he held the positions of Principal Procurement Specialist prior to his appointment as Chief Governance Specialist in 2008.
Before joining the Bank, he managed the International Projects Division of OMIRA Inc., a Canadian Company (1996-2000). Between 1992 and 1996, he was Chief Project Manager of Dirigo Land & Livestock, an American Company based in Denver, Colorado.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr N’Guessan said: “I am very pleased to be able to lead the Bank’s teams and activities in Central Africa (Cameroon, CAR, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon,) to accelerate the implementation of the High 5 and President Adesina’s vision reiterated for his second mandate to effectively transform the lives of people in this region in a positive and sustainable way for the development of Africa.”
He holds a Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning from the Université de Montréal (Canada), a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado, of Denver (USA), as well as a Diplôme d’Ingénieur de Génie Civil from École Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics of Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire).
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Serge is a seasoned professional with a solid track record. His hands-on experience and his capacity to deliver will be an asset in supporting transformation and integration in the region.”
Nnenna Lily Nwabufo, Director General, East Africa RegionAs Director-General, East Africa, Ms Nwabufo will be responsible for leading and advancing the Bank Group’s strategic objective of achieving significant and transformational developmental impact in thirteen countries in East Africa by ensuring operational efficiency, effectiveness and an overall healthy portfolio in the region. Specifically, she will lead high-level dialogues at country and regional levels and across Bank sector complexes as well as oversee the full implementation and integration of all aspects of the Bank’s work in the region. She will also spearhead regional business development and investment, and foster resource mobilization efforts across the countries in the region to ensure focused growth of the Bank’s sovereign and non-sovereign operations.
A Nigerian citizen, Ms Nwabufo is a versatile and seasoned executive with over 30 years’ professional experience in treasury and financial management, budget programming, planning and performance management, human resource and corporate services management, and country/regional operations.
She joined the Bank’s Treasury Department in 1991 where she worked at different professional levels for over a decade. Subsequently, she took on progressive management level responsibilities including, Manager in the General Services and Procurement Department from March 2007, Director of Programming and Budget Department in January 2013, Acting Director, Human Resource Management Department and Acting Vice President for Corporate Services from May 2015 to May 2016. She was on a special assignment to lead the Bank’s Annual Meetings preparation team from June 2016 until her appointment as Deputy Director-General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office in January 2017. She was appointed the Acting Director-General for the region effective 1st October 2019.Before joining the African Development Bank in August 1991, Ms Nwabufo worked as a Treasury Management Expert in two merchant banks in Nigeria rising to become the Treasury Manager of one of them.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very pleased to be appointed by President Adesina as the Director-General for the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office and to support his vision for the continent. I have no doubt that working together with all internal and external stakeholders, we can make a difference and bring much-needed development to East African citizens.”
Ms Nwabufo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “I am delighted to appoint Nnenna as the Director-General for East Africa. Her vast experience and solid track-record in strategic functions across the Bank attest to her capacity to effectively lead the team to rise up to the development challenges and ensure continued development impact to improve the lives of Africans in the East Africa region.”
Leïla Farah Mokadem, Director General, Southern Africa RegionAs Director-General, Southern Africa, Ms Mokadem will drive high-level dialogue and Bank’s operations, ensuring the Bank operates efficiently, effectively and successfully in the relevant countries, within the region. She will lead and monitor adaptation to specific requirements of individual countries/operations with greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness and value addition in the use of resources, with downstream gains for Regional Member Countries, and the private sector in the Southern Africa Region.

Ms Mokadem, a Tunisian national, is a seasoned professional in International Finance. She has over 25 years of experience with multilateral development banks and international institutions.
She joined the Bank in September 2002 and was appointed as Country Manager for Morocco in 2017. Prior to this appointment, she was the Resident Representative of the Bank in Egypt from 2014 to 2017 and Regional Resident Representative from February 2010 to December 2013, based in Dakar, Senegal. In these capacities, she successfully led the Bank’s strategic engagements and partnerships as well as high-level dialogue and operations.

Prior to her assignments in country offices, Ms Mokadem held the position of Manager, Financial Institutions Division in the Bank’s Private Sector Department at Headquarters, where she designed innovative financial solutions for Africa, including the African SME Guarantee Fund, AfDB Trade Finance Initiative and the Women in Business Initiative. Leila managed multibillion investment portfolios in over 35 African countries, particularly in the private, infrastructure and financial services sectors. Leila also served as Board member at the Ouest African Development Bank (BOAD) and Advans Holding (Microfinance). She is currently serving as alternate Board member of the Afreximbank.
Before joining the Bank, she was long-term fiscal advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from August 1996 to December 1999. She started her career at the Ministry of Economy in Tunisia.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mokadem said: “It’s a great opportunity to work under the leadership of President Adesina, supporting his vision and the implementation of Africa’s development agenda while strengthening the Bank’s engagement in the Southern Africa Region.”
She holds a Diploma in Finance from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) of Carthage, Tunisia and a master’s degree in International Trade from the Institute of High-level Management (Institut Supérieur de Gestion), Tunisia.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “For my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I have prioritized the support, stabilization and strengthening of African economies to get back on a stronger pathway of economic growth and resilience. Leila will support my vision and drive to build a stronger development impact of Bank’s operations and advisory support in Southern Africa Region. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in leading Bank’s strategic engagements in our Regional Members Countries.”
Solomane Koné, Deputy Director-General, Central Africa RegionMr Kone, a national of Côte d’Ivoire, has been Acting Director-General for the Central Africa Region since January 2020, as well as Country Manager for the African Development Bank’s Office in Cameroon. In these capacities, he was involved in high-level strategic country and regional dialogue with different stakeholders, governments, and other development partners, including co-financing arrangements and donor coordination particularly in the context of the Regional Economic and Financial Reform Program of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (PREF-CEMAC). He helped to grow the Bank’s business and supervise the performance of the portfolio in Cameroon, which is the largest in Central Africa (35 operations for about USD 3.1 billion).
Mr Kone joined the Bank in January 2003 as a Country Economist in the Central Africa Region, before moving to the West Africa Region and the Governance Department. He later on held several senior and managerial positions such as Lead Economist for the Regional Department East 2, from November 2009 – July 2012, Acting Regional Director for OREB from July 2012 – October 2013, Advisor to the Vice-President Country and Regional Programs (ORVP) and Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery (RDVP) from November 2013 – September 2017.
Prior to joining the Bank, he had accumulated more than 10 years of relevant research, strategic and policy analysis experience as a lead consultant, researcher and policy analyst in various academic, national and international institutions, including Cornell University Food and Nutrition Policy Program, the Ivorian Center for Economic and Social Research, the ILO, the OECD Development Centre, and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where he was instrumental in developing forecasting, simulation and econometric models to guide macroeconomic and monetary policy and regional programs in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). He authored and co-authored numerous publications and reports on regional development, industrial policy, the impact of fiscal and monetary policy, the adequate level of foreign reserves, as well as poverty analysis using Social Accounting Matrix. He has also taught high-level macroeconomic policies, econometrics and quantitative methods at West African Center for Banking and Financial Studies of BCEAO and Cornell University.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Kone said: “I am honored by this mark of confidence from President Adesina. I am determined to help provide the necessary leadership on the ground for the delivery of his vision and ambition at this critical time for our economies.”

He holds a master’s degree in regional planning and a PhD in Development Economics and Planning from Cornell University in the United States, obtained in 1990 and 1993 respectively.
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Solomane is a seasoned economist and well-respected professional, with a deep knowledge and experience in developing and managing regional and country strategies and operations. His experience as Country Manager and his track record in building partnerships and providing leadership will be critical in the transformation agenda of the Bank in the region.”
Abdul B. Kamara, Deputy Director-General, East Africa RegionMr Kamara, a citizen of Sierra Leone, is currently the African Development Bank Group’s Country Manager for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Mr Kamara is a development economist with over two decades of experience in development policy research, development financing and policy work on Africa’s economic transformation and development. He has worked as a joint Research Associate of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa (1997–1999), and as Assistant Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany (1999–2000).
He joined the Bank in 2004 and has served as Senior Agricultural Economist (2004–2007); as Manager of the Research Division (2007–2010), and for seven years as Resident Representative for Sudan (2011–2017) where he was also responsible for South Sudan until 2013. He was Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations for one year (2014–2015), serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in charge of the Darfur Mission. In 2017, President Adesina appointed him as Country Manager for Ethiopia, where he currently manages the Bank’s USD1.63 billion portfolio.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to take this responsibility, entrusted in me by President Adesina, to serve as Deputy Director-General in a region I am very versed with, having served the Bank effectively for the past 10 years in this region.”
Mr Kamara holds a Bachelor of Science (Vordiplom) in Agriculture General and an MSc (cum laude) in Agricultural Economics, both from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, and an award-winning PhD (cum laude) in Agricultural and Development Economics from the University of Göttingen in Germany.
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Abdul is a well-rounded professional with valuable policy, research and operational experiences suitable for this role. His in-depth knowledge of the region and solid track record of superior field-level delivery and excellent managerial skills will help the Bank accelerate delivery on its vision and mandate in East Africa.”
Malinne Blomberg, Deputy Director-General, North Africa RegionMs Blomberg, a Swedish citizen, is a seasoned finance professional with solid experience in developing strategies, providing advisory services, and executing operations for results in both the public and private sectors.
She has over 15 years of experience in development finance, gained largely from serving the Bank since 2008 when she joined the Water and Sanitation Department as Financial Management Specialist and later was in charge of its Division covering West and Central Africa. In-between she also worked in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Department, focusing on climate finance. She brings extensive hands-on experience from working across the continent including fragile states, in terms of business development and dialogue, resources mobilization, identifying and structuring innovative investment projects and other initiatives, as well as promoting private sector participation with a focus on infrastructure sectors.
She is currently the Bank’s Country Manager for Egypt, where she has been leading the Bank’s operations since 2017.
Before joining the Bank, Ms Blomberg worked for Arthur Andersen Business Consulting in the UK and on assignments in other financial hubs of the world as Manager in the Financial Services Industry up to 2001. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Financial and Institutional Advisor in the Government of Uganda, in the Ministry of Water and Environment, supporting national efforts to strengthen institutional effectiveness and fund utilization, and managing the ministry’s multi-donor trust funds.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very grateful for this expanded mandate that allows me to deepen the Bank’s partnership with its clients and expand operations across North Africa – a region with tremendous opportunities that is undergoing fast-paced transformation.”
She holds an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and an MSc in Economic and International Business from University of Linköping, Sweden.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “During my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I will continue to strengthen the Bank’s delivery on the ground, and to accelerate the socio-economic transformation of our continent. Malinne brings the drive and experience from both the public and private sectors, needed to bring together various stakeholders to scale up our impact in North Africa. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in development finance.”
Kennedy K. Mbekeani, Deputy Director-General, Southern Africa RegionMr Mbekeani, a Malawian citizen, is a seasoned development economist with over 20 years of senior level country and regional experience in development finance, project management, policy advisory services, and knowledge generation.
He joined the Bank in 2009 as Chief Trade and Regional Integration Officer. He provided leadership in formulating the Bank’s trade assistance strategy to regional economic communities and on policy research on international trade, economic integration and development.
He was Lead Regional Economist (2012-2014) at the South African Resource Centre. He later served as Officer in Charge and Acting Regional Director of the Bank’s South African Resource Centre in South Africa (2014-2016) where he led the largest syndicated A/B Loan arranged in Africa to-date. He was appointed Officer in Charge of the African Development Bank’s Ghana Country Office in February 2017. In September 2017, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi A. Adesina, appointed him as Country Manager, Uganda Country Office where he grew the portfolio to over USD 2 billion.
Before joining the Bank, Mr Mbekeani worked for the UNDP as a Trade, Debt and Globalisation Advisor for East and Southern Africa. Prior to that he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis, and as Senior Economist at the National Institute for Economic Policy in South Africa.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am pleased to work with President Adesina to support execution of his vision for the Bank and the continent and accelerate delivery on the High 5s”.
Mr Mbekeani holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Malawi, MPhil (Monetary Economics) from the University of Glasgow, MA and a PhD in International Economics from the University of California. He has published on trade, regional integration, and infrastructure development in Africa.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “Kennedy is a rounded professional, with broad experience in international development. His capacity to deliver in various areas will help to build strong partnerships in the region and to promote both private and public sectors operations.”
Joseph Martial Ribeiro, Deputy Director-General, West Africa RegionA Cape Verdean national, Joseph Martial Ribeiro is currently Manager of the African Development Bank Group for the Angola Country Office, which also covers Sao Tome and Principe.
Mr Ribeiro is an experienced international development practitioner with in-depth knowledge of the key issues of decentralisation, privatisation and public-private partnerships. He is a seasoned professional in the evaluation and management of development projects.
Prior to joining the AfDB, he worked as a consulting engineer, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, and has extensive experience in university education in Canada and Senegal, as well as solid experience in academic and industrial research. He joined the Bank in 2000 and has served as Senior Irrigation Specialist (2000-2005), Procurement Specialist (2005-2009), Representative for Angola (2009-2011), Resident Representative for Mozambique (2011-2017) and Country Manager for Angola and Sao Tome and Principe (2017-Present).
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Ribeiro said: “I am very honoured by the trust that President Adesina has placed in me through this prestigious appointment. I am delighted to take on this responsibility as Deputy Director-General in the West Africa Region, which affords numerous opportunities to deliver the High 5s sustainably and effectively.”
He holds a PhD in Hydrology from the École Polytechnique de Montréal (Canada), an MBA from the University of Cumbria (UK), a degree in Political Science from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) and a Design Engineering Certificate in Civil Engineering from the École Polytechnique de Thiès (Senegal).
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Joseph has successfully represented the Bank in three Portuguese-speaking regional member countries, in addition to being an accomplished professional with strong political acumen and managerial skills. His experience in the field and his in-depth knowledge of public development projects and public-private partnerships will greatly contribute to the success of the Bank’s operations in West Africa.”

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AfDB appoints directors-general, deputy directors-general in regional offices – Premium Times – 2021-01-07 12:24:33