Licence revocation: NAMB begins recapitalisation appraisal of MFBs

The National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) has directed all licensed Microfinance Banks (MFBs) nationwide to update it on their recapitalization status for assessment and follow-up actions with the regulatory authorities.

The Executive Secretary of the NAMB, Mr Shikir Caleb, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

The decision is coming barely a week after the revocation of 179 MFBs licences by the monetary authorities and the negative implications for its financial inclusion drive.

Caleb said that the decision was taken in Abuja at an emergency meeting of the leaders of the NAMB after vigorous deliberations on the latest licence revocation action of many MFBs by the CBN.

According to him, the meeting had in attendance the Board of Trustees, the Past Presidents and members of the National Working Committee.

He said that the meeting had its main agenda the revocation of the licences of the affected MFBs and how to proactively forestall future negative occurrence in the MFB sub-sector of the financial system.

“Following the review and deliberations on the licence revocation matter, the top leaders of the NAMB directed that the various state chapters should categorize the affected micro lenders into MFBs that have fully re-capitalised but yet to be approved by CBN.

“MFBs that have not been fully re-capitalised but had ongoing discussions for funding; MFBs that were yet to re-capitalise; and MFBs that have long closed shop”.

According to Caleb, the leaders further advised any MFB that had fully re-capitalised but yet to be approved by CBN to present its submissions to the Secretariat with a summary of its recapitalization status as at date.

He stated that thereafter, the leaders also agreed that the association would review the submissions and have a meeting with all MFBs this Thursday in Abuja “with a view to collating all submissions for engagement with the management of CBN.”

Commenting on the licence revocation the NAMB National President, Mr Joshua Ukute, rued the ugly development and promised that the “leadership of the association will continue to intensify its self-regulation activities in all MfBs nationwide to forestall this type of occurrence.

“We have also mandated the Secretariat of the NAMB to do more by enlightening the public, especially all stakeholders in the association’s financial inclusion drive value-chain with the aim of building confidence in the MfB sub-sector of the financial system.

“As you all know, the MFBs have over the years remained at the forefront of the financial inclusion strategy agenda’s implementation and they will continue to do their best to deepen financial services, especially in remote communities that the big players are not ready to go,” the banker added

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Tinubu commissions NASS Central Mosque, urges Muslims on humility

President Bola Tinubu on Friday, commissioned the National Assembly Central Mosque urging the Muslim Faithful to exhibit humility in their daily living.

Tinubu who was represented by Vice-President Kashim Shettima while noting the vanity of life, called on the Ummah to “walk the earth with humility.

“Fifty years from now, half of the Assembly members will not be around and very few people will know that we existed. So we should work the earth with humility.

“As much as possible, let us strive to be humble and as much as possible let us strive to be kind to each other.

“Power, wealth are gift from Allah to humanity. May Allah make our contributions toward the construction of this mosque a blessing.

“Even if we are gone, reward from the construction of this mosque will follow us,” he said.

He felicitated with the Muslim Ummah in the National Assembly for contributing resources in building the edifice.

The president recognised the crucial role played by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in the construction of the mosque.

“I recognise their contributions without whose consent not a single erection plan would have been effected for the construction of the mosque.”

Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto and President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Sa’ad Abubakar III,

felicitated with the Muslims on the realisation of the construction of the mosque.

The Sultan who was represented by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero thanked the leaders, the senators and members of the house of representatives for the contributions made to the success of the edifice.

“Certainly it is Allah’s will that the 9th National Assembly did this great work.

“We thank Allah for giving them the opportunity to build the mosque. We pray Allah will reward them with what he has promised to whoever contributes to the building of a mosque.

“We pray Allah will continue to guide and bless the national assembly so that they will continue to work for the betterment of humanity.”

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said that “We consider ourselves very lucky that God has chosen us for this mosque to be a reality.

“This is one investment that will continue to yield dividends even after we depart this world.

“May Allah continue to give us the opportunity to serve him and serve humanity.”

He said that the mosque provided not only environment for them to pray the Jumma’t and other prayers “it could even enhance the productivity of staff because they may not need to go far away from here for prayers.

“Maintenance should be our business; that is by those who made the contribution; 400,000 per month for a senator and 250, 000 per member of the house of representatives of the 9th assembly.

“We have our brothers and sisters in the 10th national assembly. I believe that the next assembly, that the maintenance of the mosque should be our business as well.”

Chairman, Mosque Construction Committee, Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau (PDP-Kano) said that the idea for the construction of the new National Assembly Mosque began in 2021.

This, he said was when the joint leadership of the two legislative chambers set up the National Assembly Mosque Project Management Committee.

“It comprised of four senators, 10 members of the House of Representatives and three members from national assembly management.

“It was to look into the possibility of providing a permanent and more befitting mosque to replace the makeshift mosque which proved to be very inadequate.

“All 227 of us agreed to bear the brunt of the project, and within eight months of this agreement, we had contributed well over N570 million.

“Apart from earning Allah’s pleasure, these lawmakers have set the pace and made history by providing what is long overdue to the Muslim members of this huge legislative community.

“Arguably, this is the first Mosque built in the 42-year existence of the National Assembly,” Shekarau said.

Also speaking, Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Tambuwal said that the desire for a Jumm’at mosque became necessary due to the demanding nature of legislative work.

“This is as it relates to parliamentarians and legislative staff which makes it tasking to attend Jumma’t mosque by worshiping outside the assembly.

“The mosque is now a great relieve,’ Tambuwal said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Sultan tasks media firm on professionalism

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto has tasked Qausain TV on professionalism in the provision of its services to the public.

Abubakar, the President General Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), made the call when the Qausain group’s President, Nasir Musa and his management team paid him a courtesy visit in Sokoto on Friday.

The Sultan also charged the media firm to redouble its effort toward ensuring that all reports given out to the public were properly checked in order not to mislead the society.

“As the managers of information, who inform the society, I urge you to make more efforts in providing efficient services.

“This is to ensure that all your services are thoroughly monitored in order to give out the best information that will support societal needs,” Abubakar said.

Earlier, the Qausain group president said the visit was to seek the royal father’s blessings and appreciate him for his fatherly engagement towards ensuring a more peaceful Nigeria.

“We are all here to seek for your blessings and support toward our services to the public,” he said.

Musa added that Qausain TV would continue to act on the fatherly advice from the sultan and do the needful in serving the society as requested.

The team presented an award of exceptional excellence and leadership to the sultan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Qausain TV, a private media firm is one of the popular television stations that operates in three major languages, English, Hausa and Arabic.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Akume was appointed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), while Gbajabiamila was appointed as Chief of Staff (COS) to the President.

Mr Tein Jack-Rich, a frontline APC presidential aspirant has congratulated Sen. George Akume and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, on their appointments by President Bola Tinubu.

Akume was appointed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), while Gbajabiamila was appointed as Chief of Staff (COS) to the President.

Their appointments were announced in a statement on Friday by Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director of Information, State House.

Jack-Rich described the SGF and COS’ appointments as well deserved, stating that the duo were no doubt round pegs in round holes.

The President/Founder of Belema Aid Foundation, expressed optimism that the former Benue governor and ex-speaker’s antecedents as seasoned administrators, legislators and leaders, would come to play in the discharge of their duties.

“Your hard work and dedication to duties have paid off.

“I am confident in your abilities to discharge any mandate and overcome any challenges because your patriotism to the Nigerian project is unparalleled,” Jack-Rich said.

Until his appointment as SGF, Akume was the immediate past minister of special duties in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, while Gbajabiamila was the speaker of the ninth house of representatives.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ECOWAS is working with four areas to industrialize-Dr Ojoku

To industrialize and strengthen intra-African trade, Economic Community for West African States(ECOWAS) is working around four thematic areas, Dr Kenji Ojoku, has announced.

He said the 40-year plan, which began in 2010 to 2030 is also geared towards reducing importation of goods outside the sub-region.

Dr Ojoku who stated this in a two-day seventh Ghana International Trade and Finance conference(GITFiC) in Senchi in the Eastern Region on zoom said the plan if well executed could reduce import bills of member countries.

The conference among other things held panel and consultative discussions and had media engagements on some pertinent issues in the African continent.

It was attended by patrons from at least 10 African countries.

Speaking on Trade and healthy investment on the theme: ‘Actualising Africa’s Industrialization agenda in the era of AfCFTA: The role of Africa’s Small and Medium scale enterprises:The ECOWAS perspective, Dr Ojoku named the four areas as: Agro-Industry and Agro-business, Constructional Industry, Automotive Industry and ICT.

On Agro-business and Agro-Industry, he said ECOWAS was working with the European Union for the food value chain while liaising with member states to upscale their areas of specialization and where they had comparative advantage.

He said textiles and garments were areas that ECOWAS countries could take advantage of to earn adequate foreign exchange.

Dr Ojoku said ECOWAS was also working with the African Development Bank(AfDB) to uplift the production levels of Pharmaceutical Companies and also liaising with West African Health Organisation to build the capacities of health organisations and Pharmaceutical Companies especially after experiencing Ebola and COVID-19 in the sub-region.

Dr Ojoku said ECOWAS was also discussing with the World Bank to support member states to increase the production of cement, iron roads and other important construction materials to avoid importing them from Europe and Asia.

Mr Asser Nashikaku, Chief Trade Negotiator from Namibia called on member states to back their Industrialization agenda with adequate budgetary allocations to be able to execute.

In doing so, he said there should be adequate infrastructure to support Industrialization.

Mr Nashikaku advised that for them to move beyond the confines of the continent in terms exporting their products, there was the need to keep to international standards.

He called for serious investment in the raw materials to gain more income rather than exporting in their raw state

He commended the GITFiC for bringing together major industry players to deliberate on pertinent issues concerning trade and industry as that could serve as a springboard for regional integration.

Odeheno Kwafo III, Paramount Chief of the AKwamu Traditional Area during the opening ceremony commended the GITFiC for the programme and promised to support it into fruition for posterity.

He said although there were hardships, there was the need for a public and private partnership to harness the development potential of the country.

Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive officer of GITFiC said at the end of the conference a consensus on a single currency was arrived at and hoped that would spiral trade and industrialization.

Some of the important issues discussed included Prospects on Africa’s single currency, Actualising Africa’s industrialization agenda in the era of AfCFTA: The role of Africa’s Small and Medium scale enterprises – The ECOWAS perspective, sovereign economic vulnerabilities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

SWAN empowers women, sinks borehole, provides free medical services in FCT

The Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN), Abuja Chapter, has distributed sewing machines, hair dryers and baking materials to empower some women in the FCT.

The outgoing Chairperson of the group, Queen Mbang Esu, said this at the 2023 Biennial General Meeting and Account of Stewardship of the association, in Abuja on Sunday, May 28.

Esu said that SWAN also educated the 32 beneficiaries on financial literacy to enable them to operate successful businesses with the items.

According to her, the aim of the programme is to celebrate and empower Nigerian Women folk, focusing on gender equity and inclusion to help forge an equal world.

She said that the beneficiaries were carefully selected from different communities within the FCT and environs, adding that every one of them truly deserved the gifts.

She said that the association was in partnership with public spirited individuals to sunk borehole for Priesthood Orphanage in Abuja.

According to her, the chapter was able to reach out to over 500 persons in the orphanages/rehabilitation homes during the period under review.

Esu said that the chapter visited three orphanages and rehabilitation homes, where basic essential items such as foodstuff, beverages, confectioneries and other items were presented.

“The chapter with the period quarterly visit selected government hospitals to donate medical items to patients and hospital management.

“Medical bills of some indigents patients were settled and some cases procurement of blood and essential medicine/drugs.

“The chapter in partnership with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) offered voluntary medical services to over 600 persons.

“This includes free consultation, laboratory investigation, free medication/drugs, free dental services, free eye examinations and free recommended eye glasses to beneficiaries,” she said.

According to her, over 10,000 students have been impacted under the catch them young programme of the association.

She said that students from secondary and tertiary institutions in FCT and environs, were engaged in different activities to enhance their academic performances.

“The fora were used to sensitise the students to the ethical values, integrity and shunning corruption, corrupt practices and other social vices,” she said.

Esu explained that SWAN was an arm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

She said the membership was open to female members of the Institute to create opportunities, and an enabling environment for the promotion of the socio-economic development of women.

“The SWAN Abuja Chapter has been involved in a number of activities in the last 14 years of its existence from 2008.

“The activities are aimed at promoting the ideals and mandate of ICAN as well as carrying out projects, that impact greatly and positively on members of the society and the public.

“These life-changing projects undertaken by the chapter were majorly funded by members and some good spirited individuals and organisations, who partnered with the Society to see to their actualisation,” she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Doctors, staff of Ho Teaching Hospital sensitise public on newborn jaundice

Doctors, nurses and staff of the Ho Teaching Hospital, on Saturday, took to the streets of the Regional Capital to educate the public on newborn jaundice.

The Teaching Hospital is undertaking sensitisation and stakeholder engagements during the month, which had been designated a jaundice awareness month worldwide.

Several doctors and paediatrics specialists at the facility joined the exercise which was organised in collaboration with the Paediatric Society of Ghana, and there were also nurses, health officers and staff.

Fifth year medical students at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, the Hospital’s partner institution, and those who were undergoing clinical apprenticeships, were also in on the campaign.

The principal streets of Ho witnessed the procession blasting music and messages on newborn jaundice and bearing placards with various educative messages on the condition.

The health professional shared flyers and took pains to offer spot education on the disease, which is becoming a dilemma for all newborns, with the Volta Region recording 1238 cases in 2022.

Using various languages including the local dialects, mothers, caregivers and the entire community were educated on the disease, caused by the buildup of bilirubin in the bloodstream of the infant.

The public was educated to look out for yellowish discolouration of the eyes and skin, which were surest visible signs of the disease, and asked to seek prompt care at the hospital to prevent further complications including disability, brain damage and death.

The health campaign received a lot of patronage, as members of the public showed interest in the subject, a condition which threatened every home, dimming the joy of childbirth.

Stakeholders in the Region had been called to act on the increasing prevalence of neonatal jaundice at the launch of the Newborn Jaundice Awareness Month celebration, where it was made known that all health facilities in the region were faced with increasing frequencies of the newborn condition, and that the top ten amongst them that referred to the teaching hospital should become focus for interventions.

The road campaign called on mothers and caregivers to check for abnormal eye color within the first eight days of a newborn, while ensuring timely breastfeeding preferably every hour or two.

Caregivers were cautioned against all forms of self-medication including sunbathing, and the application of breastmilk on the yellowing eyeballs.

The use of naphthalene balls was also cautioned against, as they have been discovered to be a major cause of the disease.

The public in general were asked to be vigilant in their homes and among family members and should become advocates of the fight against the disease.

Dr. Richard Danyoh, Acting Head of Paediatrics and Allied Health at the Ho Teaching Hospital, told the GNA at the end of the public campaign that the exercise had been successful, and that the response from the public had been very encouraging.

He said the campaign distributed 1,000 flyers which had been produced on sticker materials, should be posted in homes, and public places to sustain the education.

‘The public response was good. Lots of market women asked questions and we explained things to them. Some asked questions pertaining to whether witches were involved, and we helped them understand some of the causes of jaundice’

The month of May is a jaundice awareness month, and the Paediatrics and Child Health Sub-BMC lined up series of activities, and which was climaxed with a ceremony on the 31st of the May to the memory of children who died or have been disabled by the disease.

Dr. Danyoh said an appeal had been made to the Office of the First Lady of the Republic to help the facility provide more radiotherapy machines which were in short supply, and also acquire its first TCB device for detecting the disease in newborns.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Zelensky hopes for ‘a significant number’ of Western fighter jets

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, voiced optimism on Thursday that his European allies will follow his call to supply Kiev with modern fighter jets.

‘Today I’ve heard powerful support from many countries,’ Zelensky said after a summit of almost 50 European leaders in Moldova, according to the English translation of his remarks provided by the organization.

He heard about ‘a significant number’ of fighter aircrafts, the Ukrainian president said.

Zelensky stressed that the planes were needed primarily for the protection of the Ukrainian population from Russian air attacks, and not for a counteroffensive.

Kiev has already received air defence systems and some Soviet-made fighter jets, and some European countries agreed to train Ukrainian pilots on modern jets.

Until Ukraine received more aircrafts, Kiev will need more Patriot air defence systems, Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president urged his European allies to support Ukraine with modern fighter jets and Patriot systems, when addressing fellow leaders at a summit held in the town of Bulboaca, some 20 kilometres away from the Ukrainian border.

‘A coalition of Patriots that will put an end to Russian blackmail by ballistic missiles, and a coalition of modern fighter jets that will prove that terror against our citizens has no chance’ are ‘decisive components,’ Zelensky told his counterparts.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed the importance of air defence systems already provided by Berlin, arriving at the meeting.

This was particularly visible now where ‘there are so many attacks on the part of the Russian Federation with missiles, with aircrafts, with cruise missiles,’ he said.

Scholz did not rule out the delivery of further air defence systems to Ukraine after the summit.

Most recently, a Russian missile barrage on Kiev early on Thursday killed at least three people, including two children, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country is supplying Patriot systems and has agreed to train pilots on US-made F16 jets, expressed support for Zelensky’s call.

More countries who own Patriot systems need to get involved and supply those to Kiev, Rutte said, adding that he wants to try to convince other countries.

‘I don’t need to tell you how much is at stake,’ he added.

Zelensky also stressed Ukraine’s willingness to join the European Union and NATO during the summit.

‘We need just peace. That is why every European country that borders Russia, and that does not want Russia to tear them apart, should be a full member of the EU and NATO,’ he said.

Russia is afraid of NATO and tries to swallow only those who are outside of the common security space, he added.

Speaking after the meeting, Scholz left open whether Ukraine could join NATO immediately after the end of the war.

Close to 50 European leaders met on Thursday in Moldova, with topics including the continent’s security, connectivity and energy issues on the agenda.

The meeting, to which Russia and Belarus were not invited, follows up on last year’s French-led initiative to gather leaders of European Union and non-member countries in Prague to discuss current political challenges.

The location of the summit is highly symbolic as Bulboaca, is in the immediate vicinity of the border with war-torn Ukraine and Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, where Russian soldiers have been stationed since the 1990s.

International observers have repeatedly warned that Moscow could use unrest in the region caused by the invasion of Ukraine as an excuse to escalate the situation.

A top Russian intelligence official expressed annoyance at the meeting.

‘The West is actively pushing Moldova to take part in the Ukrainian conflict,’ Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), said on Thursday, according to state news agency TASS.

The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, however, said on Thursday that he hopes the summit will send ‘a strong message’ to Russia, as it should demonstrate that Europe is united in defending the international order.

‘It’s important that this message reaches Russia,’ Borrell said.

Russia is not there, not because the organizers did not want to invite Russia, but because Russian President Vladimir Putin excluded his country from the European community by launching an unjustified war against Ukraine, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency