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Nigeria Sovereign Investment’s profit drops in 2017, blames FG

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The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the agency managing the Sovereign Wealth Fund, has recorded a decline in its profit from N130.3 billion in 2016 to N22.5 billion in 2017.
The Managing Director, NSIA, Uche Orji, while presenting highlights of the financial performance of the fund to the media on Sunday in Abuja, said 2017 was a challenging year for the agency.
Orji said the total income of the agency declined from N149.83 billion in 2016 to N27.93 billion in 2017.
According to him, the agency also recorded a decline of N107.8 billion in profit from N130.37 billion in 2016 to N22.55 billion in 2017.
Orji blamed the Currency Management Policy of the Federal Government for the decline in profitability.
He said: “The decline of the net foreign exchange gains which accounted for the reduced net operating income recorded in 2017 was as a result of government’s Currency Management Policies, which were aimed at stabilising the Naira in 2016.
“To this effect, the Naira weakened in value from N196 per dollar to N305 per dollar in 2016.
“Considering that at the end of that year, about 80 cent of the Authority’s assets were denominated in the United States Dollars, the devaluation resulted in significant exchange gains in the Authority’s Naira books.”
Orji said dividend payment to its shareholders was discussed at the last board meeting but stepped down till next year.
The agency commenced operations in 2013 with N1.55 billion and there had been expectations that dividend to its shareholders would be paid at the end of the 2017 financial period.
Orji said: “The law said that we should show profits in each of the three funds consistently for five years after which we will start declaring dividend and this is the fifth year of showing profitability.
“The dividend policy was considered by the board but we decided to step it down and consider it again next year.”
Orji said also the delay in inaugurating the NSIA board led to a lag in re-investment of matured fund which affected profitability in the year under review.
However, he said despite the drop in profitability, the NSIA had decided to increase its funding for infrastructure development.
To achieve this objective, Orji said the asset allocation strategy of the NSIA was restructured to reflect an increased focus on domestic infrastructure investment.
Orji said henceforth 50 per cent of future contributions would be dedicated to infrastructure as against the previous arrangement where 40 per cent of the fund was allocated.
He gave the areas of priority for the agency as agriculture, healthcare, motorways, real estate and power.
On the outlook for 2018, he said the NSIA would continue to maintain its diversified asset strategy to drive returns and mitigate market volatility.
He said: “The NSIA anticipates increased investment in infrastructure as more projects come up to financial close.
“The deployment of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund is expected to drive 2018 infrastructure investment strategy as 650 million dollars has been voted by NEC to complete critical infrastructure projects across the country.”
According to Orji, the construction of the second Niger Bridge, which is one of the major road projects being financed by the NSIA, would be completed in the next four years.
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BUSINESS

First Bank reiterates commitment to leverage Fintech

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Nigeria’s leading Tier 1 lender, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has reiterated its commitment to leveraging Financial Technology (Fintech) to deliver innovative services.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, stated this in his address to the Fintech summit hosted by the lender in Lagos yesterday.

The event tagged, “FirstBank Fintech Summit 2.0,” was the second edition of the summit which the bank commenced two years ago.

Dr Adeduntan, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, stated that the summit was conceived to enable financial sector players provide financial products and services with greater speed, accountability and efficiency.

He stated that the event commenced last week with a two-day hackathon on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big data at the FirstBank Digital Lab with the aim of finding new ways to apply artificial intelligence to banking operations and practices.

According to him, “to remain competitive, banks must make the most of this disruptive change. At the moment, some actors are using this new technology so enthusiastically that it’s hard to keep up whilst others are still channeling too much investment in old systems.

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Lagos set to host second Nigeria Beer Festival

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From Left to Right: Mr. Dele Balogun, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board ;Mr. FolaAdeyemi, Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Mr. Akinola Oluwaleimu, Chief Co-ordinator, Nigeria Beer Festival Group at the media interactive session on the festival in Lagos on Wednesday

After a successful and large participation of people at the first edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival which debuted last year in Lagos, the organiser the event has announced that Lagos will be hosting the second edition again.

The week-long event will hold on Thursday October 25th to Wednesday October 31st at the Eko Atlantic City, Bar Beach Water front Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos to give it a carnival-like atmosphere .

Speaking at a press conference to announce the event in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture explained that the festival is in line with government’s agenda to grow the tourism and economy of the state.

He stated that Lagos state is collaborating with beer brewers in the country and their counterparts across the globe to stimulate the economic and tourism potentials in the State.

He enjoined Lagosians to come out in their large numbers to enjoy the ambience of the festival, assuring that the city is safe for fun lovers because of the various infrastructure development by the state such as Light-up Lagos among others.

“Lagos is a city state and in league with great cities all over the world. We are actually moving the state to a 24 hour economy and this festival will be part of the beneficiaries. Lagos is safe for fun and business. We are joining the global tourism world to create impact on the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Akinola Oluwaleimu, General Manager of On and One Events Limited, the organisers of the festival informed that the festival is to promote culture, tourism, friendship and for beer brands to connect with their consumers.

He added that the festival, will promote responsible drinking among drinking-age (18 +) consumers at all its touch points.

According to him, the event, since it debuted last year, has seen Nigeria enrolled into the league of Beer Festivals around the world, and boost the country’s tourism opportunities.

“It will be a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond.This year’s edition will be bigger, better and “beertiful”, he said.

He revealed that the 2017 edition attracted over ten thousand beer enthusiasts and consequently the Festival has proven to become a major international tourist event in Nigeria with a potential to compete with other international beer festivals around the world.

“Nigeria Beer Festival will be a carnival week of entertainment, sales and marketing and a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country to bond and ‘beer’,” Oluwaleimu assured.

He added that the Nigeria Beer Festival will provide a fitting ambience to showcase culture and lifestyle in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria connecting with their existing and potential consumers.

Oluwaleimu maintained that the festival, which will commence 4 p.m daily is a big opportunity for major breweries to exhibit and deliver various offerings of beer brands to the teeming consumers to strengthen brand relationship with them. “The timing promises an after work relaxation environment to bond with friends and associates, he said”

He also acknowledged the support of the Lagos State government through His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who found the private driven initiative worthy enough of its endorsement and providing necessary logistics support in security, health, safety and publicity to ensure a hitch free event.

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Transcorp appoints new management team

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Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), has announced new appointments into its board and executive management. The company in a statement Tuesday said Valentine Ozigbo, has been appointed as its President/CEO with effect from January 1, 2019. He will succeed Adim Jibunoh, who is retiring on December 31.

The statement said Mr Ozigbo, currently the MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, owner of the prestigious Transcorp Hilton Abuja, will bring over 20 years’ experience in banking, business development, hospitality and corporate transformation. ‘‘A multiple award winner, Mr Ozigbo holds an M.Sc. Finance from Lancaster University, UK; an MBA in Banking & Finance and a B.Sc. in Accounting from the University of Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

‘‘Similarly, Owen Omogiafo has been appointed as the MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc effective from January 1, 2019. She is currently the Executive Director, Corporate Services at Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc,” the statement added.

Also according to the statement, Mrs Omogiafo has over 18 years’ corporate experience in organisational development strategy, human capital management, banking, change and business management. The Board of Transcorp also approved the appointments of Obi Ibekwe and Toyin Sanni as Non-Executive Directors, following the retirement of Kayode Fasola and Abdulqadir Bello.

These appointments are effective October 30, 2018. ‘‘While Ms Sanni was Group Chief Executive Officer at United Capital Plc , a position she retired from in June., Ms Ibekwe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A., a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Lagos and an MBA degree from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, U.S.A. She has over two decades experience in banking, holding senior executive and senior management positions spanning credit and marketing, credit risk management, human resources and customer service,” the statement read in part.

The company also announced the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as the Chairman of its Board, following the retirement of Mr Bello. Speaking on these appointments, the Chairman of Transcorp, Tony Elumelu, reportedly expressed his confidence that the newly appointed chief executives and non-executive directors will further strengthen Transcorp’s core purpose of improving lives across Nigeria.

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