Dr. Awele Elumelu, GAVI Champion for Africa and Founder, Avon Medical Practice, joined other global health leaders at a Photo Exhibition organised by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, for increased vaccine coverage in under-immunised nations. The event tagged “Vaccine Heroes” was held on September 10, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Following the announcement made earlier in January 2018 on the sidelines of the global World Economic Forum in Davos, of Dr. Elumelu as GAVI Champion for Immunisation in Africa, the GAVI Photo Exhibition convened GAVI representatives who reiterated their commitment to saving the lives of children around the world.
Speaking at the Gavi event, Dr. Awele Elumelu commended the great efforts and achievements by the Vaccine Heroes, Health Workers and the GAVI team in spreading the message and adoption of immunisation globally. In her words: “Immunisation is one sure way to prevent diseases, save our children and advance our economy. It is an honour to champion the importance of immunisation that saves the lives of children around Africa and the world. I am particularly pleased to be doing so with innovative organisations like the ones that make up the Gavi Alliance,” she said.
Dr. Elumelu further advocated the urgent and important need for the health of children and committed to working with the global Vaccine Alliance to expand the coverage of immunisation across Africa and in her native country, Nigeria.
“In our own capacity, at Avon Medical and Avon HMO, we are working to provide quality, effective and accessible healthcare and insurance to most citizens in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. This is our Group’s way of contributing to the work of GAVI. I look forward to doing more work and bringing about more private and public partnerships to promote immunisation and better coverage for children in and out of Africa”.
In attendance was Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who spoke about the importance of vaccines as the backbone of health systems. According to him: “There is no health for all without vaccines for all”.
Organised by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the event gathered leaders in the global health sector, including Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Clemens Adams, Director, United Nations; and Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practices
Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practice
At a recent function in Abuja, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, delivered a lecture where he revealed that there has been a consistent decline, over the past three years, in the recorded rate of successful fraud incidences, thefts and forgeries in the banking industry. Specifically, Ibrahim said such cases had declined by almost half, 48.12%, of the rate it was in 2015.
In response to how the industry was able to achieve such impressive reductions, Ibrahim, while putting in perspective the key reason for frauds to help buttress his response, explained that poor corporate governance practices in terms of regulatory and supervisory oversight and compliance allow frauds and forgeries to thrive. So all that needed to be done was to ensure a stronger corporate governance practice. He said the reduction is indicative of the strict adherence to sound corporate governance practices by banks, which include compliance with regulations.
Indeed, experts at a recent workshop organized by the National Institute of Compliance (NIC) agreed that compliance is at the heart of sound banking practices and sustainable banking and that the risk of banking industry failure is remoter now than it was some years back due to a higher level of compliance. The nature of the banking industry, with its intermediation functions, is such that failure can have very dire consequences for businesses and the economy. Thus, banks have a responsibility to ensure a stable industry and this can only be achieved by sound corporate governance practices.
In the 90s and early 2000s, regulatory and supervisory oversight was weak and compliance by banks to regulations was mainly in the breach. Then, the industry was an all comers’ affair, mostly populated by charlatans who see the industry as mainly a meal ticket. Banks were being opened at a dizzying pace then, with sometimes three or four opened in a month. Before the recapitalization exercise of 2005, there were close to 200 banks in the country. There was widespread corruption in the industry at the time, which led to billions of naira of depositors’ money and investors’ funds lost or misappropriated. But following the recapitalization exercise and especially after the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate governance became a major issue leading to the introduction of a raft of corporate governance codes.
For a bank like Stanbic IBTC, regulatory compliance comes like second nature. The brand’s penchant for regulatory compliance was validated in 2015 at the maiden edition of the Corporate Affairs Commission’s Corporate Citizens Awards. Stanbic IBTC Bank came first for compliance among Nigerian banks and was awarded the Most Extensive Compliance award. According to CAC, “over 800 companies were nominated for the awards, only 26 companies made the final list, out of which the nine winning companies emerged,” including Stanbic IBTC and three other banks.
Certainly, there is no better validation than a regulator attesting to a company’s good corporate citizenship. And it is no surprise that a bank like Stanbic IBTC was adjudged the first among equals in terms of compliance. Many sometimes view the bank’s processes and policies as cumbersome because of the different layers of regulatory requirements it insists must be met before a transaction can be consummated. But then on the flip side is that Stanbic IBTC Bank is one of the most secure, transparent and trusted financial institutions in the country today. These qualities continue to translate into very strong financial performances in its operations and a bullish outlook for the stock at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In its 2018 financial report, Stanbic IBTC Bank posted an impressive 54% growth in PAT. Balance sheet grew by 20% to N1.6 trillion, driven mainly by deposit growth of 7%. And most importantly, was able to improve its asset quality as ratio of non-performing loans to total loans improved to 3.9%.
Financial institutions, particularly Stanbic IBTC, fully appreciate and understand that their survival depend on how well they are able to manage the relationships amongst their stakeholders, which require them to establish and maintain harmony between parties whose interests sometimes conflict. It is the management of such relationships that corporate governance code embodies. It is this realisation that led banks to self-regulate when in 2003 the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria was established by the Bankers’ Committee and CIBN.
Stanbic IBTC’s strong corporate governance practices is critical to the financial institution’s continued growth trajectory. The seamlessness of its change of leadership last year was quite impressive and such practices will no doubt give it the desired stability to further increase its market share and to post impressive financial results, going forward.
With the 2003 code, the 2014 CBN code and a spate of regulations by the apex bank as situation demands, which makes for a stronger regulatory oversight, one can almost argue that the possibility of a banking industry failure is remoter than constant uninterrupted power supply in the country. Despite the cost of compliance, which can sometimes be huge and burdensome in terms of time and direct cost, and the risk of managements of banks becoming particularly focused on compliance at the expense of doing business, financial institutions remain resolute in ensuring a strong and viable industry. And this is beginning to produce dividends as shown by the recent NDIC figures and the industry’s financial scorecards.
Today, banks sometimes face the wrath of stakeholders as they strive to comply with regulatory directives. A case in point was the directive by the CBN that banks publish the names of delinquent debtors on its books, which did not go down well with some customers. Another was the foreign exchange utilization position, mandated to be published weekly, and the various restrictions to dollar disbursements to bank customers. Treasury Single Account(TSA), which required all agencies of government to each maintain a single account with the CBN, leading to the withdrawal of trillions of naira from commercial banks, was another policy that banks would have gladly avoided but nonetheless diligently complied with. And most recently is the ‘appointment’ of banks by the Federal Inland Revenue Service as tax collecting agents, which pitched the banks directly against some of their customers and trade partners.
There is no doubt that there is a new compliance orientation in the banking industry. And as banks like Stanbic IBTC, Zenith Bank, Access Bank and UBA continue to lead the financial services industry towards improved compliance levels, it will not only check corruption in the banking industry and risk of possible collapse, it will, due to banks’ pivotal role in the economy, help sanitize business practices and thereby attract investors and boost the economy.
Dangote refinery awards $368m worth of contracts to local contractors
Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical has so far awarded $368 million to 120 local contractors at the site as part of its contribution to Nigeria content development initiative.
The Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, who made this disclosure during the tour of the Dangote Refinery by members of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), yesterday in Lagos, said there are several Nigerian content opportunities in the company’s refinery and petrochemical project.
He noted that the Refinery would lead to significant skills transfer and technology acquisition opportunities in the country.
He said the Group has embarked on a landmark integrated Refinery and Petrochemical project, regarded as the largest industrial complex in the history of Africa, which is expected to take Nigeria to new heights through the transformation of the economy.
According to him, the company is already partnering with the Lagos State government and Siemens in the skills development of the local community for employment at the construction site. “We have already trained and employed 250 artisans,” he added.
He disclosed the company’s intention to train 900 Nigerian engineers in India. “The company has completed the overseas training of first and Second batches of Nigerian engineers and are being acclimatized at site. The third batch left for India
classroom training for one month, on the job training for one year and working in real time with experts in the industry every day”, he added.
He said that company has so far employed 3580 Nigerian personnel on site. “This excludes employment by the various contractors and subcontractors at the site”, he said.
Edwin disclosed that the company, in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), kicked-off of training for 200 youths in its host communities, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
He disclosed that the programme is meant to prepare the selected youth with vocational skills that will make them employable or self-employed.
According to the company, the youth are currently be trained in areas of plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works because of the instant value addition to their lives and communities.
Speaking on the progress made so far on the refinery project, Edwin disclosed that the company has imported world’s largest Reactor Regenerator and well as a
Crude Column, which is equivalent to 30-storied building weighing about 100 fully loaded trucks.
He said that the Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products, such as Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene & Aviation Jet and also would have surplus of each of these products for export.
According to him, the Refinery will ensure that the security of local supply of petroleum products is guaranteed as well as the availability of petrochemical feedstock (Poly-propylene & Polyethylene), which will be enough for the Nigerian market as well as the neighboring countries.
With a fast-growing population and poor infrastructure, he said the refinery would also reposition Nigeria as an attractive investment destination and a major industrial hub in Africa.
Edwin added that the company also possess strategically located marine infrastructure for crude receipts and product trade when the refinery is fully completed.
He noted that the 650,000 barrels per day refinery has been designed to process a variety of light and medium grades of crude and produce extremely clean fuels that meet Euro V specification.
He said that company has invested in most advanced units to produce Euro V fuel due to help Nigeria meet the European Standard of gasoline.
Edwin said in addition to the refinery plant, the company is constructing the largest fertilizer Plant in West Africa. “Current consumption of Urea in Nigeria is 700,000 tonnes. There is very poor per hectare usage of fertilizer leading to very poor crop yield. By 2020, Nigerian population, which is around 207 million, would lead to increased food consumption.
“Estimates point out that around five million tonnes of fertilizers are required per year in Nigeria in next five to seven years bifurcated into 3.5 Million tonnes of Urea.
“Dangote Fertilizer Project is the largest Granulated Urea Fertilizer complex coming up in the entire fertilizer industry history in the World, with an investment of $2.0 Billion capacity of 3 Million tonnes per annum. The Dangote Fertilizer complex consists of Ammonia and Urea plants with associated facilities and infrastructure, to produce 3 MMTPA Urea,” he stated.
President/Chairman of council Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (NIPR) Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, commended the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote for his investment in the Nigeria’s petroleum sector.
Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Lagos State Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, thanked the company for giving the union opportunity to embark on the tour of the refinery project.
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