The Bank of Ghana has annulled the acquisition of 51% shares in Agriculture Development Bank held by Belstar Capital, Starmount Development company Limited, SIC Financial Services Limited, and EDC Investments Limited.
According to the apex bank in Ghana, the acquisition has not followed due process.
Recall that earlier this year, a consortium led by Belstar Capital, a turnkey project finance and implementation institution, Starmount Development Company Limited, EDC Investments Limited, and SIC-FSL reportedly pledged their shares, proceeds, entitlement and voting rights to uniBank.
The institutions took up a substantial stake in ADB’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2016 that paved the way for the bank to go public. The bank raised about 326 million cedis in its Initial Public Offer (IPO).
However, BoG Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison, noted that the apex bank in Ghana has neither sanctioned the change of ADB ownership nor the willing of the majority shareholder’s rights to uniBank.
In his words:
“Just to clarify that the Central Bank has not given approval to the purported takeover or through the pledging of shares of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to uniBank,”
The apex bank noted that the acquisition without the knowledge and approval of the Bank of Ghana was a breach of section 49 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).
It also noted that the shares acquired by Belstar and Starmount were acquired with funds obtained from uniBank Ghana Limited which is currently in official administration using emergency liquidity support obtained by uniBank Ghana Limited from the Bank of Ghana in questionable circumstances. The Central Bank earlier this year placed the bank under administration after it became insolvent and appointed KPMG as the bank’s administrator.
The liquidity funds obtained by uniBank were improperly and unlawfully on-lent to Belstar and Starmount to acquire shares including shares held by the Financial Investment Trust on behalf of the Bank of Ghana in ADB’s IPO.
The bank further noted that Belstar and Starmount have participated in a series of other questionable, unsafe, and unsound related party transactions involving uniBank Ghana Limited to the detriment of Ghana’s financial system and for their financial gain and benefit.
Agricultural Development Bank of Ghana, established in 1965, is a government-owned development and commercial bank in Ghana. The bank is the first development finance institution established by the Government of Ghana. It is one of the commercial banks licensed by the Bank of Ghana.
FG announces schedule for 4th evacuation flight from the USA
The evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14.
The Federal government has approved the fourth evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States of America for July 28.
According to a statement that was signed by the Consulate General of Nigeria, the Ethiopian Airline with flight number ET509 will depart Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey on Tuesday 28 July 2020 by 21:15hrs and arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday 29 July 2020 by 13:25hrs.
“All prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA should purchase their one-way tickets at a cost of $1250 for economy class and $2800 for business class for adult/child fare including all taxes with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2 years,” the statement read.
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In line with the earlier announced protocols from the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14 days on the day of departure at the airport.
There will also be a temperature check at the airport, and any intending evacuee with a body temperature above 38°c or any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will not be allowed to check-in.
Evacuees are also required to wear a face mask as a matter of necessity and be in possession of hand sanitizer for intermittent use during the flight, while also adhering to the instructions of the
Furthermore, all returnees are enjoined to adhere strictly to all instructions of Port Health Services (PHS) officials and observe other entry screening protocols on arrival.
Notice on the FOURTH Evacuation Flight from the United States of America to Nigeria. #StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19Nigeria #COVID19 #PTFCOVID19 @NigeriaGov @DigiCommsNG @USinNigeria @FMICNigeria pic.twitter.com/NFVWWDGgSx
— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) July 10, 2020
Covid-19: British High Commission to resume visa application in Nigeria
Nigerians who want to visit the UK can do so as soon as international flight operations resume.
The British High Commission in Nigeria has announced plans to resume visa processing in the country. It revealed that it will soon begin receiving visa applications from Nigerians who want to travel to the United Kingdom (UK).
This was disclosed in a public statement by the British High Commission in Abuja on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
It said that Nigerians who want to visit the United Kingdom can do so as soon as the international flight operations resume in the country. The statement said:
“We know there are many Nigerian nationals hoping to be able to travel to the UK when flights resume, both for employment and to see family members.
“UKVI are working closely with TSL contact, our commercial partner, to reopen visa application centres that were suspended due to COVID-19. UK visa application centres are reopening in phased manner globally when it is safe to do so and when we can operate an effective service.
“TSL contact are putting appropriate measures in place and working hard to reopen in Nigeria. We will share details of when VACs will reopen soon,”
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It can be recalled that the Federal Government had shut down the airports to both domestic and international flight operations in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Following the gradual resumption of domestic flight operations, Nigerians are expecting that international flight operations might be resuming soon.
Nigeria’s excess crude account falls to $72 million
Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.
Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $72 million as the country continues to grapple with an unprecedented revenue crisis not seen since the early eighties. The ECA account has now fallen by about 98% within the last 5 years.
The information on the excess crude account was revealed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed in a National Economic Council Meeting during the week. The ECA is a savings account retained by the Federal Government and is funded by the difference between the market price of crude oil and the budgeted price of crude oil as contained in the appropriation bill.
There were major concerns last November when it was reported that the ECA balances held just $324.5 million one of the lowest balances recorded at the time. At $72 million the ECA is in low territory highlighting the effect of the fall in crude oil prices this year. Crude oil prices have crashed to sub-zero in March and have risen back o just over $40/barrel in recent weeks. However, it still remains low from Nigeria’s previous budget benchmark.
ECA in the news
About a year ago Nairametrics reported Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account has dropped to $480 million. This is as controversy continues to trail the $1 billion military spendings which were withdrawn from Nigeria’s Excess Crude. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s annual report for 2018, Nigeria’s crude excess account fell from $2.45 billion in 2017 to $480 million as of December 2018.
Just 5 years ago (August 2015) the ECA stood at $2.2 billion. This was the early days of the Buhari administration. It was $3.6 billion in February 2014, one of the highest balances on record. That same month, at its monthly FAAC, the government agreed to remove fuel subsidy from its books. Fuel subsidy is currently being borne by the NNPC.
The Controversies: Last year, the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of mismanaging the country’s Excess Crude Account especially the $1 billion reportedly spent on military equipment.
- The National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Major General Babagana Monguno Gen. Babagana was quoted to have disclosed that he was not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1billion drawn from the ECA by the Buhari presidency in 2017 for security purposes.
- While controversies trail the statement credited to the NSA, with many describing it as diversion of public funds, the Presidency provided some explanations.
- Responding to the allegations, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that various procurements had been made for the purchase of critical equipment for the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, and the Air Force, contrary to the allegations.
Nigeria’s ECA in retrospect: In Nigeria, there are two Sovereign Wealth Funds: the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Note that these two are funded by the savings earned when oil prices are at peak.
- Hence, as a larger chunk of revenue is appropriated for ECA and NSIA, the country’s external reserves are likely to fall.
- Note that the sovereign wealth fund was established to address the controversies surrounding the Excess Crude Account.
- The fund is usually expected to generate revenue to meet budget shortfalls in the future, provide dedicated funding for the development of infrastructure and saves for future generations.
ECA depleted by 98% in 5 years: A closer look at the various annual reports of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.