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CGC Raises Concerns, as Customs Intercepts Cannabis, Codeine Worth N4.1b

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has warned of the severe and devastating effects of the growing misuse and abuse of drugs on the youth and the society at large, as the agency intercepted cannabis indica and codeine worth N4.

1 billion.

Adeniyi spoke in Lagos over the weekend while showcasing the unwholesome imports comprising 1x40ft container of regulated, unregistered pharmaceuticals and another 1x40ft container of illicit psychotropic substances intercepted by the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He disclosed that one of the 1x40ft containers No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada, with approximate street value of N3.

216 billion, concealed three plastic drums with several packets of cannabis indica and 46bags of 2,144 packets of cannabis indica – all weighing 1,072kg.

The other contained 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine (200 bottles of 100ml per carton), and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets (600 packs per carton) from India. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964.340 million.

According to him, the agency has made concerted efforts to prevent illegal entry and exit through diverse routes and means of conveyances, leading to a number of successfully executed interceptions and seizures of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, illegal wildlife and petroleum products at various locations in recent months.

However, “these interceptions have brought to light a concerning trend wherein criminal networks engage in collaborative attempts to subvert the competency of the agencies tasked with mitigating the trafficking of such illicit substances,” he noted.

 “The misuse and abuse of drugs, particularly cannabis indica and codeine, pose severe dangers to our society. Codeine, a restricted drug in Nigeria, has been widely abused, leading to devastating effects on our youth.

 “This substance not only impairs the health and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the rise in criminal activities.  Cannabis indica, similarly, has become a significant concern, with its abuse leading to mental health issues, addiction, and social problems.

 “Unchecked activities involving restricted items serve multiple purposes for criminal elements. These drugs, for instance, are used as stimulants by criminals, further fueling societal unrest and instability.

 “Additionally, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade are often used to finance disruptions by non-state actors, posing a significant threat to our national security and economic stability.”

Nevertheless, Adeniyi noted that within its mandate of obstructing harmful and illegal substances from Nigerian communities, the NCS “will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.

He disclosed that investigations were ongoing to bring perpetrators to book, while warning those engaging in illicit activities of the NCS’ unwavering vigilance and dedication to protecting the society and ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from a stable and prosperous economy.

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AMCON Records Over N108bn in 2023 Financial Year

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

Amidst challenging macroeconomic conditions coupled with economic headwinds, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) achieved a remarkable triple-digit growth of 202% from NGN34.730 billion in the previous year to NGN108.433 billion in 2023.

 

This was contained in the a statement made available by Jude Nwauzor, Head of Corporate Affairs Department in Abuja on Wednesday.

 

A breakdown of this impressive achievement showed that AMCON, which is currently led by Gbenga Alade as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer achieved a Year-on-Year (YoY) growth in profit of 212% from N34.730 billion in the financial year, which ended on December 31, 2022, to N108.

433 billion in the period ended December 31, 2023.

The report disclosed that fair valuation gains on Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) increased to N40.9 billion in 2023 from a loss of N187.9 billion in 2022. Equity portfolio recorded 82% growth in 2023 amounting to N43 billion as compared with N7.9 billion in 2022. The significant trading gains is as result of an improved performance in the stock market.

The Corporation achieved a favourable reduction in total liabilities, from N6.282 trillion in 2022 to N5.739 trillion in 2023, primarily due to repayments of the N500 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan. It also recorded 89% achievement of its revenue budget in 2023 as the total recovery in 2023 stood at N125.2 billion.

A breakdown of the recovery showed that AMCON achieved N81.65 billion in collections from various obligors, N17.8 billion from share sales, N15.5billion reinvestment income, N6 billion as proceed from sale of properties, N3.8 billion dividend income and N0.5 billion from rental income despite the country’s challenging economic environment, occasioned by the removal of subsidy and floatation of the naira.

The executive management said AMCON is strategically positioned to continue with the positive trajectory achieved in the year 2023, with special emphasis on improved recoveries and efficient realization of value from disposal of forfeited assets in furtherance of the Corporation’s mandate.

 The summary of the AMCON’s Financial highlight is presented below:

*Profit for the year Dec 31, 2022 – N34,730bn

*Profit for the year Dec 31, 2023 – N108,433bn

*Total comprehensive income for the year, net of tax – (2023) N106,385bn

N30,963bn (2022)

Total Assets

N1,076,144bn (2023)

N1,513,304bn (2022).

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Recapitalization ‘ll Create Stronger, more Resilient Banks – Cardoso 

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, has said that the Bank will continue to collaborate with relevant financial institutions, the fiscal authorities and the National Assembly to ensure a successful recapitalisation exercise, including providing adequate protection of property rights and interests of minority shareholders.

Mr. Cardoso made the pledge in London on  while speaking to stakeholders on “The Impact of the Recapitalization of Nigerian Banks” at the UK-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce.

 

The Governor, represented by the Bank’s Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Mr. Phillip Ikeazor, emphasised the event’s significance and restated the CBN’s commitment to fostering stronger, healthier, and more resilient banks capable of withstanding economic shocks and supporting the Government’s goal of achieving a GDP of US$1 trillion by 2030.

According to him, the anticipated impact of the recapitalisation programme will include an increase in banks’ lending capacity, a boost in the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI), and an increase in foreign exchange liquidity.

He said the exercise would also contribute to GDP growth, better risk management, improved credit ratings, a diversified ownership base, better governance and strategic decisions, and increased market volume and value, leading to a more vibrant equity market.

“With the recapitalisation programme, our goal is to trigger the emergence of stronger, healthier and more resilient banks,” he added.

He noted that several factors influenced the new minimum capital requirements, including macroeconomic conditions, stress test outcomes, and the need for improved risk management.  

“We will rigorously enforce our “fit and proper criteria” for prospective new shareholders, senior management, and board members of banks, and proactively monitor the integrity of financial statements, adequacy of financial resources, and fair valuation of banks’ post-merger balance sheets,” Cardoso assured.

He noted the significant opportunity it presents to engage investors, policymakers, and technocrats on the critical issue of bank recapitalisation in Nigeria. 

Mr Cardoso explained that since assuming of office in October 2023, his priorities at the CBN have included achieving monetary and price stability, maintaining a stable exchange rate, controlling inflation, and creating an enabling environment for businesses. 

He explained that the recapitalisation directive excluded retained earnings from the minimum capital requirement to simplify capital calculations and enhance transparency. He explained that the decision, rooted in the BOFIA Act 2020, aligns with international standards like Basel III and emphasises core capital elements to improve financial stability.

Reflecting on the successful 2004/5 Banking Sector Reforms, which consolidated the industry, increased capital bases, and boosted resilience against the global financial crisis, the Governor assured that the current recapitalisation initiative aims to build on these achievements. 

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NAIC Provides ₦1.014trn Insurance Cover for Agricultural Projects in Five years 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) provided insurance cover worth ₦1.014 trillion for agricultural projects across the country in the past five years.

The Managing Director of the Corporation, Mrs Folashade Joseph, who disclosed this in Abuja on Monday during a meeting with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said about 1.

25 million farmers were provided insurance coverage, while about ₦8.
56 billion was generated in insurance premiums over the period.

The MD said the Corporation also incurred claims totaling N3.88billion, while it settled about N3.08 billion in claims, in addition to reaching over 516,000 farming communities with its sensitization programmes for 129,000 agricultural value chain actors across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

She said that the comprehensive approach to the administration of agricultural insurance win the country has recorded a multiplier effects in the country’s economy, as farmers and value chain actors who received training during the sensitization programmes have gone ahead to train others, resulting in improved agricultural productivity.

“The Corporation therefore remains committed to its mission of enhancing agricultural productivity, thereby achieving food security and contributing to the overall growth and development of Nigeria,” she said.

The activities and programmes of the Corporation, the MD explained, were in alignment with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration aimed at achieving food security, economic growth and job creation, poverty eradication, inclusivity, security, access to capital across all segments, and anti-corruption goals.

In recognition of the significant impact of the Corporation on the lives of farmers in the country, Joseph said his management was ready to explore viable opportunities to collaborate with progressive agencies and organisations to consolidate on the gains.   

“It is imperative to emphasize that the Corporation is dedicated to continuously reducing the risks associated with agricultural investments in the country,” she said, adding that over the last 37 years of the nation’s independence, Nigeria has continued to effectively manage this objective.

While recognizing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its remarkable accomplishments in the agricultural sector, she said the Corporation was ready to partner with them, particularly in the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and innovative farming methods like hydroponics, vertical farming, and controlled environment agriculture.

She said these advancements have not only revolutionized the agriculture industry in the UAE, but have also enabled farmers to cultivate a variety of crops in a more sustainable and efficient manner as well as played a pivotal role in enhancing food security, promoting sustainable development, and diversifying the country’s economy.

The MD assured her visitors that the Corporation in particular and Nigeria at large was open to partnership with UAE in all of these areas to produce enough for Nigeria and exports.

Assuring that the investments by foreigners in Nigeria were safe with the Corporation as Nigeria’s leading agricultural insurer, she said NAIC would continue to play a pivotal role in providing risk management solutions to farmers, agribusinesses, and other stakeholders across the agricultural value chain.

“Our comprehensive range of insurance products and services are designed to mitigate the impact of various risks, including crop failure, livestock mortality, and property damage, thereby safeguarding the livelihoods and investments of our clients.

“The Corporation is therefore fully committed to supporting initiatives that promote agricultural development, enhance food security, and strengthen the resilience of farmers, especially the smallholders in Nigeria.

“The Corporation is ready to engage in fruitful discussions to identify concrete opportunities for partnership with the UAE, believing that by joining forces and pooling our collective strengths, we can achieve greater impact and make significant strides towards advancing agricultural development and food security objectives in both our countries,” she said.

“The challenge of food security is indeed a significant one, but I am filled with hope and optimism that together, through our collective commitment, innovative thinking, and strategic collaboration, we can overcome and ensure that safe and nutritious food is readily available to our citizens,” the MD said.

 She acknowledged the potential for collaboration between Nigeria and the UAE, and said the Corporation was committed to collaborate and explore opportunities toward mutually beneficial partnerships between the two countries to leverage their respective expertise, resources, and networks.

The leaders of the UAE delegation who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Vice President’s Office for Political Affairs in the kingdom of the UAE, Khalid Al Mannaei, said they were in Nigeria to hold discussions and explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration with key players in strategic sectors of the country’s economy, including the agricultural sector.

He said the meetings and consultations would culminate in a series of bilateral relations agreements aimed at fostering mutually beneficial cooperation and partnerships affecting the economies of the two countries, particularly on agricultural production and food security initiatives.

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