A panel set up by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has recommended the dismissal of the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo from the civil service.
The panel headed by the permanent secretary Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, had discovered that Gwarzo of the Public Service Rules by awarding contracts to firms in which he had interests, and embarking on extra budgetary expenditure.
The events that led to his facing a panel
Gwarzo was suspended last year, to allow through investigation of a petition submitted against him. He was alleged to have awarded contracts to companies in which he had interest. Gwarzo also collected the sum of N104 million as severance package after he was appointed as Director General.
Other recommendations by the panel
The panel also advised that Gwarzo be made to face the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over the allegations. In addition, the panel recommended that Gwarzo should refund the sum of N104 million which he collected as severance package.
Two other staff of the commission, Anastasia Omozele Braimoh and Mr. Abdulsalam Naif H suspendedalongside Gwarzo, were referred to SEC for appropriate disciplinary action in line with the provisions of the commission’s staff manual.
Gwarzo’s counter accusations against Kemi Adeosun
Gwarzo however has accused the Minister of suspending him for his refusal to stop the forensic audit into the affairs of Oando Plc. Two aggrieved shareholders of the firm, Dahiru Mangal and Gabriel Volpi had sent a petition to the SEC alleging Oando’s management had mismanaged the firm and denied them representation on the board. Mangal has however withdrawn his petition, following a peace deal brokered by the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Adeosun however denied the allegations, and accused Gwarzo of attempting to blackmail her. A memo sent to her, had contained a message that any action taken against the suspended DG would be leaked to the press.
COVID-19: World Bank approves $114 million response funds for Nigeria
FG is expected to provide grants from the CoPREP to the 36 states and the FCT.
The World Bank has approved the sum of $114 million to assist Nigeria in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund is to help Nigeria prevent, identify and respond to the dangers associated with the coronavirus disease with special focus on the various states and the Federal Capital Territory.
This was disclosed in a statement from the bank on Friday, August 7, 2020.
According to the statement, the funds come in the form of $100 million credit facility from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
It also states that the Federal Government is expected to provide grants from the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP) to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The World Bank Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, in a statement on Friday, said, “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the states level, which are at the front line of the response.”
He disclosed that the project would provide the states with the much needed direct technical and fiscal support in order to strengthen their position in the fight against the pandemic.
The World Bank Chief also pointed out that the project would finance federal procurements of medical equipment, laboratory tests and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs.
According to the World Bank, CoPREP would finance further support to all the 36 states and the FCT through the NCDC to implement the COVID-19 Incident Action Plan.
Nigeria has recorded about 45,687 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease with 936 fatalities and 32,637 people discharged as at August 7, 2020. Some serious concerns have been raised about the country’s testing capacity, which though has improved is still regarded as inadequate.
How Nike rejection birthed sports wear industry in Nigeria
To Udezue, sport is more about creating opportunities than just winning trophies.
For many years, Nigerian sports had to depend on foreign brands for all kinds of sporting and leisure wears. In doing this, Nigeria was also ceding to these countries the opportunities that came with the business of sports. None of these changed, until Africa for Africa (AFA) Sports started out in Nigeria years ago.
Recently on Nairametrics Business Half Hour show, Founder of Africa for Africa (AFA) Sports talked about how Nike’s rejection became the birth of an industry in Nigeria.
Ugo Udezue had come to Nigeria to establish the Continental Basketball League, (CBL) after spending 17 years with BDA Sports management in California. At this time, he saw sports as being “more about creating opportunities than just winning trophies”.
What he saw was the prospects of creating a whole economy built around the game – alternate relaxation options for workers who had spent long hours at work, and better opportunities for people to trade their wares and entertain guests during the games.
A major kitting challenge came up for the CBL, as most of the foreign brands did not seem to cater for the African climate. The kits and balls being used had been designed by foreign brands using their weather condition and environment as the guiding factor. Because of this, they could not cater to the needs of the Nigerian basketball players.
“The balls were not designed to absorb sweat and so the players kept dropping the balls. Even the jerseys and shoes had clearly not been designed for the African weather since we did not play the game in air-conditioned courts,” he explained.
When Udezue reached out to Nike to seek Apparel sponsorship for the CBL, he received the shocking news that “Africa was not in their plans at the time”.
This rejection, though a short term challenge, became the inspiration behind founding AFA Sports, done by Africans to cater to the sporting needs of Africans.
As you may well know, there were foreign companies sponsoring Nigerian teams at the time, making jerseys and other apparel. But because they were not producing these things locally, they were depriving the country of the opportunities and benefits which should have come with such ventures.
Gradually, Udezue and his team moved from the initial years of chaos and unprofitability, to growing AFA Sports into the biggest performing sports brand in Africa. The company’s products are now shipped to different countries.
In a couple of years, the dream started to materialise when AFA sports became the official apparel sponsor of the Nigerian National Basketball team D’Tigers during the Afro Basket 2017 competition. It was a major game-changer for sporting in Africa.
An industry waiting to explode
Manufacturing in Nigeria is often thought of along the lines or agricultural and industrial products, without much attention on the sporting and leisure industry. From jerseys to tracksuits, leisure wears, boots, balls, caps and others, there is a whole economy waiting to be explored.
“I saw sports as a way to create wealth. I realised that it was an opportunity to create jobs for Nigerians while meeting the need for football clothing, and for as long we keep sourcing these materials from the foreign brands, we will miss out on ways we could have used it to empower our economy,” Udezue said.
With these items produced locally at the factories and even exported to other countries, jobs are created for Nigerians. AFA sports, for instance, has three factories in Lagos state where it employs people to carry out its productions of sports and leisure wears.
Beyond saving Nigeria the cost implications of importing such products, the products are now being exported to other African countries bringing in some foreign exchange for Nigeria.
As Nigeria moves towards self-sufficiency, there is the need to pay attention to the sports economy and its attendant benefits. Much more than sponsorships, hosting games in local economy can turn the fortunes of small business owners in the locality, given them a wider market and increased income.
Crude oil prices settle almost 2% lower amid growing geopolitical risks
The surge in recent days in Covid-19 caseloads remains a great concern for oil traders.
Crude oil prices settled almost 2% lower at the last trading session of the week, dropping for the second time in five days amid growing fears that global energy demand could plummet to record lows.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures closed lower, having shed 1.74% to trade at $41.22 per barrel. Brent, the world’s barometer for crude, also lost about 1.53% to close at $43.30.
Why crude oil traders are concerned
The recent surge in COVID-19 caseloads remains a great concern for oil traders. Cases in the world’s largest economy are still rising, while India recently reported a record daily rise in COVID-19 caseloads. More than 700,000 people have died because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at AxiCorp, in a note to Nairametrics, explained the geopolitical risks facing the energy market. He said:
“By the shift in lower oil prices today, it confirms that when it comes to geopolitical risk, Asia oil traders (and most for that fact) have an unfortunate predisposition to heightened US-China tensions as oil reverses lower at midday.
“The executive orders (signed by President Trump) leveled on TikTok, and the scrutiny over WeChat has opened up a most unwelcome can of worms, especially ahead of the August 15th trade meeting.”
Crude oil traders closed some of their long positions at the last trading week remembering the invisible enemy, COVID-19.