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NEXIM Bank issues rebuttal following explosive N50 billion fraud allegation

NEXIM Bank was established in 1991 and is devoted to diversifying Nigeria’s non-oil export base.

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Nexim Bank

Following numerous claims accusing Abba Bello, the Managing Director of Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) of diverting the whopping sum of N50 billion, the organisation finally issued a rebuttal yesterday in an attempt to clear its name.

A detailed statement that was signed by NEXIM Bank’s Corporate Communications Department described the accusations as false. The statement also noted that ‘a faceless organisation’ known as Citizens Committee for Corruption Free Nigeria (CCCN) had been the one behind the fraud claims.

The statement further noted that Nexim Bank initially ignored the accusations, but felt the need to respond after those leveling accusations against the organisation showed no sign of stopping.

READ MORE: NEXIM Bank set to disburse ₦25bn loan to non-oil exporters

The intrigues: In an obvious attempt to absolve the Abba Bello-led management of these fraud allegations, the statement had attacked NEXIM Bank’s immediate past management team. The erstwhile management was dissolved in 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari due to gross incompetence. Apparently, Abba Bello was brought on board to help rescue Nexim Bank from its huge non-performing loan problem which was worsened by what the statement described as “reckless abuse of process” which led to insider related loans and an absolute breakdown of professionalism in bank’s loan administration processes.

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The statement then praised Bello for successfully re-tooling NEXIM Bank and bringing it back from the brink of failure within the 3-year period he had been in charge. The statement also noted that NEXIM Bank reported profits of N2.03 billion and N1.09 billion in full-year 2019 and 2018 respectively, as against losses of N569 million and N8.03 billion in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

“We have noted recent incessant attacks on the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) and its management in a section of the media, predominantly the social media. Most recently, a report has been trending on the social media claiming that a petition has been forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling for a probe of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Nexim Bank, Mr Abba Bello, over alleged corruption and mismanagement of the N50 billion Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility (RRF), provided by the Federal Government…

READ MORE: Buhari orders probe of past administrations over $9 billion U.K judgment

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“The current management of the bank, led by Mr Abba Bello, resumed office in April 2017 to replace the erstwhile government, which was removed by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, over issues relating to gross incompetence, which had made the bank almost insolvent, with huge non-performing loans, exacerbated by reckless abuse of process, insider related loans and lack of professionalism in loans administration, amongst other issues,” some parts of the statement said.

More details: Citizens Committee for Corruption Free Nigeria (CCCN) had started a petition with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling for Bello’s probe over the alleged diversion of N50 billion from Nexim Bank’s coffers. Specifically, the petition had accused Abba Bello of diverting and mismanaging the N50 billion Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility which was availed by the Federal Government to assist commercial and merchant banks to provide short-term finance in support of exports.

NEXIM Bank also clarified on the N50 billion Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility, noting that the money has been used to fund about 60 projects since it was released by the Federal Government in 2018. The bank said the track records of the fund’s beneficiaries are verifiable, and that the loans were adequately secured.

Note that NEXIM Bank was established in 1991 and is devoted to diversifying Nigeria’s non-oil export base through the provision of adequate financing.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Financial Services

Conventional insurance firms can now set up their Microinsurance department – NAICOM

NAICOM has issued a circular allowing conventional insurance companies in Nigeria to exploit the huge opportunities in the Microinsurance window.

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NAICOM

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has issued a circular (NAICOM/DPR/CIR/32/2020) allowing conventional insurance companies in Nigeria to exploit the huge opportunities in the Microinsurance window.

The circular was signed by Akah L M, Director (Policy & Regulations), and disclosed that the requirements for the conventional insurance firms to be granted approval for the window operation includes:

  • The insurer shall seek and obtain approval of the Commission to transact microinsurance business.
  • Board resolution approving the establishment of a microinsurance department.
  • Applicant shall apply for window microinsurance national operation licence.
  • The department shall be headed by an experienced Insurance Officer, not below the rank of an AGM.
  • The Insurance Officer must possess a minimum of 7 years post Associate of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria qualification or a minimum of 10 years working experience in a technical department of an insurance institution.
  • Any window operator shall segregate the financial records of its microinsurance business from that of the conventional business.
  • Appropriate reinsurance arrangement shall be put in place.

(READ MORE: NAICOM gives insurance companies additional one year to recapitalise)

What this means

  • The microinsurance window presents a gold mine waiting to be tapped by the conventional insurance firms in Nigeria, helping them to achieve critical mass in the market.
  • This would afford opportunities for those in informal sectors, as well as low-income people and households to enjoy insurance products and services that will protect them against unexpected events, that could threaten their livelihood and businesses.

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Financial Services

CBN introduces “Special Bills” as part of efforts to control money supply in the economy

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced the introduction of a Special Bill with unique features.

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CBN Gov Godiwn Emefiele

Nigeria central bank has announced the introduction of what it calls the “Nigeria Special Bills” in what it claims is an effort to deepen the financial markets.

The apex bank also claims the instrument avails it with an additional liquidity management tool for Nigeria’s financial system.

In a disclosure, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision of CBN, Bello Hassan, and seen by Nairametrics, it said the Special Bills contained the following features

READ: CBN Governor alleges parallel market used for bribes and corruption

  1. It has a Tenor of 90 days
  2. It comes with Zero coupon, as the applicable yield at issuance will be determined by the CBN.
  3. The instrument will be tradable amongst banks, retail and institutional investors.
  4. The instrument shall not be accepted for repurchase agreement transactions with the CBN and shall not be discountable at the CBN window.
  5. The instrument will qualify as liquid assets in the computation of liquidity ratio for deposit money banks.

The central bank, yanked off retail and instituional investors from accessing the highly lucrative Open Market Operations bills where yields were previously high. It is unclear if this bills will replace the OMO bills or is permamnent.

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READ: Frantic CBN allows diaspora remittances to be withdrawn in dollars and sold anywhere including black market

What this means: With the introduction of the new Special Bills, the CBN aims to securitize the excess Cash Reserve Requirement balances of local banks by offering them short-dated zero-coupon special bills.

  • Since May 2020, the central bank has sequestered over N6 trillion as part of its CRR debits of the accounts of deposit banks.
  • Nigeria’s central bank expects commercial banks to maintain a loan to deposit ratio of 65% and thus debits the accounts of commercial banks who do not meet this target for excess deposits.
  • According to Nairametrica analysts, this new bill provides the banks with an instrument which they can offer to investors in exchange for a return. For example, the banks can sell the “Special Bills” to investors who need fixed income instrument.

Why it matters: The claims the Special Bills is in line with the “CBN’s goal of ensuring optimal regulation of systemic liquidity and promoting efficient financial markets in support of economic recovery and sustained growth,” however Nairametrics undertands there could be more to this.

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However, Nairametrics believes pressure from the banks who have complained about the frequent debits may have resulted in this new Special Bills. In some of the earnings calls listened into by Nairametrics, banks have often cited the drop in their interest income and margins.

READ: Bankers’ Committee embarks on cybersecurity & fraud awareness initiative, launches Moni Sense campaign

What they are saying: A part of the recent CBN disclosure read thus: “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hereby announces the introduction of Special Bills as part of efforts to deepen the financial markets and avail the monetary authority with an additional liquidity management tool.”

What to expect: The CBN is expected to further clarify the issue and pricing of the recent instrument in coming days.

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Financial Services

Fidelity Bank MD/CEO purchases 5 million additional shares worth N12.97 million

The MD/CEO Designate of Fidelity Bank Nigeria Plc has purchased an additional five million units of the bank’s shares.

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Fidelity Bank M.D purchases 5 million additional shares worth N12.97 million

The Managing Director/CEO Designate of Fidelity Bank Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe has purchased an additional five million units of the bank’s shares totalling N12.97million.

This is according to a notification, signed by the bank’s Secretary, Mr. Ezinwa Unuigboje, and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market yesterday, as seen by Nairametrics.

What you should know

The breakdown of the disclosure showed that the transaction took place in five tranches with an average share price of N2.56.

  • First tranche: 260,190 units of the bank’s share were bought at N2.52 each, amounting to N655,678.8
  • Second tranche: 400,000 units of the bank’s share were bought at N2.55 each, amounting to N1.02million.
  • Third tranche: 130,000 units of the bank’s share were bought at N2.58 each, amounting to N335,400.
  • Fourth tranche: 2,870,000 units of the bank’s share were bought at N2.60, amounting to N7.46million.
  • Fifth tranche: 1,339,810 units of the bank’s share were bought at N2.56, amounting to N3.43million.

(READ MORE: Fidelity Bank slashes growth forecast, readies Eurobond coupon ahead of due date)

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In summary, the total transactions incurred by the MD in buying 5 million additional shares grossed N12.97million.

What this means

The recent corporate action indicates growing optimism in the bank’s future and potentials, which could be a pull factor to other investors.

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