Despite Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign, the country has dropped from 144 in 2018 to 146 in 2019 on the annual corruption perception index published by Transparency International.
The report revealed that Nigeria ranks 146 out of the 180 countries considered, behind Botswana (34), Rwanda (51) and Mauritius (56) among other African nations.
In 2017, Nigeria ranked 148, while it dropped to 144 in 2018. Nigeria’s current position means the most populous black nation is two steps lower to 146 in 2019.
Least Corrupt Countries
According to Transparency International, the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
The index ranked 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
According to the report, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of just 43. Similar to previous years, the data shows that despite some progress, a majority of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively.
The top countries (least corrupt) are New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85).
Most Corrupt Countries
Meanwhile, the bottom countries (most corrupt) are Somalia, South Sudan and Syria with scores of 9, 12 and 13, respectively. These countries are closely followed by Yemen (15), Venezuela (16), Sudan (16), Equatorial Guinea (16) and Afghanistan (16).
In the last eight years, only 22 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Greece, Guyana and Estonia. In the same period, 21 countries significantly decreased their scores, including Canada, Australia, and Nicaragua.
On the other hand, the Sub-Saharan Africa’s country ranks the lowest-scoring region on the CPI, with an average of 32. The performance of Sub-Saharan Africa paints a bleak picture of inaction against corruption.
In its recommendation, Transparency International stated that to end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems.
As stated in the report, to end corruption, countries must manage conflicts of interest, control political financing, strengthen electoral integrity, regulate lobbying activities, tackle preferential treatment, empower citizens and reinforce checks and balances.
Basically, it was disclosed that governments should reduce the risk of undue influence in policy-making by tightening controls over the financial and other interests of government officials. Governments should also address “revolving doors”, establish cooling-off periods for former officials and ensure rules are properly enforced and sanctioned.
On political financing, it was stated that in order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, governments should improve and properly enforce campaign finance regulations. Political parties should also disclose their sources of income, assets, and loans, and governments should empower oversight agencies with stronger mandates and appropriate resources.
It stated, “For democracy to be effective against corruption, governments must ensure that elections are free and fair. Preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns are essential to rebuilding trust in government and ensuring that citizens can use their vote to punish corrupt politicians.
“Governments should promote open and meaningful access to decision-making and consult a wider range of groups, beyond well-resourced lobbyists and a few private interests. Lobbying activities should be public and easily accessible.
“Governments should create mechanisms to ensure that service delivery and public resource allocation are not driven by personal connections or are biased towards special interest groups at the expense of the overall public good.
“Governments should protect civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of speech, expression, and association. Governments should engage civil society and protect citizens, activists, whistle-blowers, and journalists in monitoring and exposing corruption.”
[READ: Corruption still responsible for Nigerians’ sufferings – Buhari]
What it means for Nigeria
Corruption remains one of the most endemic issues affecting development in Nigeria. Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that corruption was the major factor responsible for the suffering of millions of Nigerians.
According to the President, corruption at all levels was the biggest problem impeding Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
“I urge you now to always see corruption in its true colour as a gross violation of human rights. Corruption is the major reason why millions of our people are in hardship, sick and helpless. Our fight against corruption is, in reality, a struggle for nation-building and the future. Corruption and impunity become widespread when accountability is disregarded.
“Disrespect for accountability also strives when people get away with all manner of questionable things and accountants are unable to check them. Corruption is the major reason why many children cannot go to school, why we have a few equipment and doctors in our hospitals. Corruption diverts public resources thereby causing much suffering, deprivation and unnecessary death in the country.”
Meanwhile, critiques of the government continue to stress that the corruption campaign of the current administration is selective, claiming that some political office holders and government officials are left to walk away despite money laundering and other corruption charges levied against them.
Download full report here: Global Corruption Index in 2019
Shareholders applaud FCMB, approve dividend of N2.97bn at AGM
The virtual meeting is also in accordance with Section 254 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and as approved by the CAC.
Shareholders of FCMB Group Plc (www.fcmbgroup.com) have restated their confidence in the financial institution to sustain its impressive performance and deliver more value. The shareholders gave the commendation at the 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Group held on April 21, 2021 at its corporate head office in Lagos. They also unanimously approved the payment of a dividend of N2.97 billion, translating to 15 kobo per ordinary share for the year ended December 31, 2020, as against 14 kobo per share the previous year.
The AGM was held virtually due to the prevailing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and streamed live via www.fcmb.com/AGM to shareholders of the financial institution. This is in conformity with government’s directives on physical distancing and the restriction on maximum number of people at every gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual meeting is also in accordance with Section 254 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and as approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
FCMB Group is a holding company divided along three business groups; Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Corporate & Investment Banking (The Corporate Banking Division of the Bank, FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited) and Investment Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).
The Chairman of FCMB Group, Mr. Oladipupo Jadesimi, along with the Group Chief Executive, Mr. Ladi Balogun; Company Secretary/General Counsel, Mrs. Funmi Adedibu; a Director of the Group, Mrs. Olapeju Sofowora; Executive Director, Corporate Banking & Investment Banking of the Group, Mr. Olufemi Badeji, representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission as well as leaders of shareholder Associations, were present at the meeting.
Speaking at the AGM, the Co-ordinator of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, praised the institution for efficiently running its affairs and the appreciable growth recorded in key operating areas.
According to him, “FCMB is a great institution and we are glad that its value is growing. The fact that it has been able to meet all its financial obligations to its creditors is a very good sign of strength. It also shows the seriousness of the management to remain worthy of doing business with. From the results, it is clear that the management has done its best to grow all the subsidiaries, thereby contributing significantly to profit and the overall performance of the Group. We appreciate the results and dividends declared by FCMB, while looking forward to many more years of prosperity”.
Also commenting, the National Co-ordinator of Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria Mrs. Bisi Bakare, stated that, “we are impressed by the digital transformation drive of FCMB which has impacted positively on customer service and financial inclusion. We commend FCMB for the introduction of paperless and cardless transactions at branches and other touch points. We are also happy that the Bank intervened to support the government and Nigerians to ease the problems caused by COVID-19 through various support. It is also a thing of joy to see the Bank carrying out several activities to grow businesses and empower Nigerians, especially youths. The 2020 results are a welcome development”.
The National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said, “FCMB as a Group has done so well over the years in every aspect of business. The institution is growing rapidly with branches all over the country. It is also performing well in terms of innovation, technology and customer service. Profit and dividend are rapidly increasing going by the 2020 financial results. The dividend payment of 15k to shareholders is a very good one in the midst of the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, FCMB Group has done excellently well and we are optimistic of a brighter future”.
Presenting the report for the year ended December 31, 2020, the Chairman, Mr. Jadesimi, assured that FCMB Group is well-positioned to continue to succeed in the years to come, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He attributed the optimism to the decisions that the financial institution has made over the past few years, especially those around leveraging new digital technology, to expand access to financial transactions.
According to him, ‘’the Board of Directors has adopted a policy that seeks to provide investors with a stable and sustainable form of capital distribution, with consideration given to the growth and capital requirements of the business, thereby maximising long-term share value for shareholders’’.
On his part, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, reported that in spite of the challenging macroeconomic environment, the Group grew profit after tax by 13.4% to N19.7billion. He added that this increase had a direct correlation with earnings per share, which grew from 87 kobo in 2019 to 98 kobo in 2020, while return on average equity also rose to 9.2% from 9%.
He stated that, “our businesses continue to improve with growth in other key indicators, such as loans and advances 14.9% and total assets 23.4%. Customer deposits grew by 33.3% to over N1.2 trillion with a large portion of the growth coming from current and savings accounts. Our customer base in the Group also increased from 6.8 million to 8.3 million. Our investment management businesses increased their assets by 23% to almost N500 billion at the end of the year’’.
Mr. Balogun further reported that, “across the Group, our digital transformation gathered momentum, with the total number of internet banking growing by 43% to 6.6 million. Transaction volumes from mobile banking (App and USSD) grew by 74% in 2020. Our digital loans grew from N14.5 billion in 2019 to N54.6 billion at the end of 2020. Innovation and efficiency gains will be the key pillars on which we seek to raise our game in the near future. We expect that in 2021, we will continue with the strides we have made with our digital initiatives, as our technology platforms and products continue to contribute to our performance and competitiveness. We will remain resilient and innovative in charting new avenues for growth. We will also remain committed to elevating the quality of life of all our stakeholders’’.
Speaking on the response of FCMB Group to the challenges of COVID-19, he disclosed that the financial institution contributed immensely to the efforts at combating the spread of the pandemic and alleviating the pains of the most vulnerable members of the society by donating N250 million to the CACOVID initiative.
The Group Chief Executive added that, “we also supported state governments across the country to provide testing, palliatives, various medical items, including Personal Protective Equipment and ambulances to assist them effectively equip and secure health workers. We also provided catalytic support for givefood.ng. Through this initiative, one million vulnerable Nigerians had access to meals during the height of the government lockdown’’.
FCMB Group and its subsidiaries have consistently proved their mettle as resilient institutions with significant improvement on all financial fundamentals over the years.
Among other results for the year 2020, the Group’s gross revenue increased to N199.4 billion, a 10% increase from N181.3 billion achieved in 2019. The results also showed enhanced customers confidence in FCMB, as deposits grew by 33% to N1.3trillion from N943.1billion in the previous year. Loans and advances surged by 15% to N822.8 billion as at December 2020. Total assets of the Group increased by 23% to N2.06 trillion last year. Moreover, FCMB Group’s net interest income was up by 20% to N90.8 billion for the full year 2020 from N76.0 billion in 2019. Non-interest income equally increased to N37.8 billion, representing a 9% growth, as against N34.8 billion prior year. The Group’s Assets Under Management (AUM) also sustained its growth trajectory by rising to N495.2 billion for the year ended December 2020, up by 23%.
Similarly, capital adequacy ratio remained stable at 17.7% for the retail and commercial banking subsidiary of the Group (that is, First City Monument Bank). The capital adequacy ratio of 17.7% is above the benchmark set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for deposit money Banks in the country. Liquidity ratio of the Bank stood at 34.2% as at the end of the financial year 2020, indicating that the financial institution is in a very healthy position. Non-performing loans to total loans ratio stood at a modest 3.3%.
Analysts have already expressed broadly positive views on FCMB’s 2020 financial results. An analyst described it as, “very encouraging”.
A financial expert stated that, “the 2020 results of the Group is a clear indication that the business is on a stronger pedestal with capacity to deliver more value to shareholders, the market and other stakeholders”.
FCMB Group is a frontline financial services institution in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB has continued to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.
CBN assures exporters of unhindered access to their dollar earnings
The CBN has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.
This is believed to be part of the monetary control measure by the apex bank to ensure more dollar inflow and maintain forex liquidity.
This disclosure was made by the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, during a virtual presentation at Zenith Bank’s 2021 Export Seminar, on Thursday, April 20, 2021.
Emefiele, however, in his statement, urged the exporters to reciprocate the good gestures of the central bank by repatriating their funds back to the country.
He said that supporting greater trade within Africa and the global community is vital to the CBN’s objectives of enabling greater economic growth and creating employment opportunities for the country’s growing population.
Emefiele said there is a strong push for the diversification of the Nigerian economy as the coronavirus outbreak has impacted negatively on global oil prices in 2020, which led to a huge drop in the country’s foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.
The CBN boss was optimistic that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) will provide opportunities for the Nigerian private sector to expand into new markets and seek new export opportunities, particularly in the area of manufacturing, ICT, agriculture and financial services.
He stated that the full implementation of AFCFTA would give Nigerian firms preferential access to markets in Africa with a value of about $504.17 billion in goods and $162 billion in services.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the CBN had introduced several measures to encourage the inflow of forex into the country following the sharp drop in oil revenue.
Some of those measures include the Naira 4 Dollar Scheme, an initiative aimed at giving incentives to senders and recipients of international money transfer in order to attract more diaspora remittances through official channels
The CBN had in January 2021, announced that all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, will be barred from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.
Why this matters
The CBN believes that repatriating these export proceeds via the NAFEX (Investor and Exporter) window will improve liquidity in the official market and perhaps strengthen the naira at the black market.
Most of the exporters sell their forex to the parallel market where it can be exchanged for higher naira value-boosting their gains on foreign currency conversions.
However, it is yet to be seen if exporters will comply with this directive or seek other means of avoiding the hammer on them. Most exporters already find a way to avoid these hammers by opening foreign bank accounts where most of the export proceeds are warehoused and then sold at the black market.
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