NDIC Begins Payment of N16.18bn Liquidation Dividends To Depositors Of Failed Banks

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has announced declaration of N16.18 billion liquidation dividends to depositors, creditors and shareholders of 20 banks in-liquidation.

A statement signed by Bashir Nuhu, Director, Communication and Public Affairs,saud the Corporation has commenced verification and payment of stakeholders covered by the declarations within 30 days, starting from 28th September 2023.

The ongoing payment follows earlier payment of various sums which cumulatively amounted to N45.45bn as liquidation dividends in respect of the 20 banks as at July 2023.

The agency implored relevant stakeholders to visit any of the NDIC’s offices closer to them or go to the claims page on the Corporation’s website, www.ndic.gov.ng to download, complete and submit the verification form with prescribed supporting documents to the dedicated email for the purpose: claimscomplaints@ndic.gov.ng.

The closed banks covered by the exercise are Liberty Bank, City Express Bank, Assurance Bank, Century Bank, Allied Bank, Financial Merchant Bank, Icon Merchant Bank, Progress Bank, Merchant Bank of Africa (MBA), Premier Commercial Bank, North South Bank and Prime Merchant Bank. Others are Commercial Trust Bank, Cooperative and Commerce Bank, Rims Merchant Bank, Pan African Bank, Fortune Bank, All States Trust Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank and Amicable Bank in-liquidation.

Oyetola Woos Investors As Nigerian Ports Begins Full Automation Soon

Mohammed Shosanya

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola,has implored investors to take advantage of the opportunities and partner with the new Ministry to drive development

He said this in Abuja, when he received a renowned entrepreneur and sustainability expert, Prof. Gunter Pauli, who is on a three-day visit to Nigeria.

He noted that the Nigerian water ways have enjoyed adequate security with no single incidence of piracy for the past two years.

He added:”We have sufficient control of our ocean in terms of security and there has been nothing like piracy in our ocean. So, the fear of investors about the safety of their investments is out of it now.”

According to a statement by Henshaw Ogubike, Director, Press and Public Relations,
Oyetola also disclosed that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will soon commence the implementation of full automation and cargo tracking across the various ports in the country to promote Port efficiency and Ease of Doing Business.

He stated that the Federal Government is keen on the diversification of the Nigerian economy away from the oil industry, hence, it was intentional when it created the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

“Again, we are going to be talking of automation of ports to make them more efficient. I would like to tell you that in another two years, it will all change. We are bringing in automation and cargo tracking as we are working on that for implementation”, he said.

He added that the government is interested in partnering with relevant stakeholders under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to maximize and explore the resources of the ocean sector for rapid economic development, improve the livelihood of its people and create jobs as well as preserving the health of the ecosystem.

He said: “Seventy percent of the resources that are available actually comes from the ocean, and we have it in abundance here”.

” I believe in the Public Private Partnership arrangement. The government will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and our concept in dealing with these, is purely in PPP, and I see quite a lot of opportunities there”

Speaking earlier during the visit, Professor Gunter Pauli said his team was in Nigeria to partner with the Ministry on commercial and technological innovations and job creation around the sector. He argued that his partnership with the Ministry will attract foreign and local investments that would create a lot of opportunities for the Nigerian youths.

Feature That ‘ll Detect AI-Generated Contents Underway-Zuckerberg

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chief Executive Officer, CEO and Founder of Meta, a parent body of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled plans to introduce features that will help people to discover easily a content or pictures that were generated by Artificial Intelligence.

He disclosed this while unveling advanced features of AI at the 10th anniversary of Connect, an annual products summit by Meta.

He said: “Images created with restyle and backdrop will indicate the use of AI to help reduce the odds of people mistaking them for human-generated content.

“We’re also experimenting with forms of visible and invisible markers to help people distinguish AI-generated content.”

On how the rise of AI and metaverse technologies are reshaping the way people experience physical and digital worlds, Zuckerberg said: “Today, we unveiled our image generation model. Emu (short for Expressive Media Universe) uses your text prompts to generate high-quality, photorealistic images in just seconds. And thanks to Emu and technology from Llama 2, you can create your own custom AI stickers in chat to liven up conversations on the fly.

“We also introduced restyle and backdrop, two new features coming soon to Instagram that use the technology from Emu to let you transform your photos or even co-create AI-generated images with friends.

“Restyle lets you reimagine your images by applying the visual styles you describe (you might type out “watercolor” or “collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges,” for example), while backdrop leverages learnings from our Segment Anything Model so you can change your image’s scene or background.

“Prompts like “put me in front of a sublime aurora borealis” or “surrounded by puppies” will keep your subject in the foreground while creating the background you have described.”

He also disclosed that Meta smart glasses collection, Ray-Ban, stating that for the first time, people will be able to livestream directly from their smart glasses to friends and followers on Facebook and Instagram.

He said: “These are also the first smart glasses to ship with Meta AI built in. Starting in the US in beta, you’ll get our state-of-the-art AI hands-free, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, in real time.

“And next year we’ll roll out a free update so your smart glasses will be able to understand what you’re looking at and help you out. If you want to know what building you’re standing in front of or get a translation of a sign on the fly, your Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses will have the answer.

“Smart glasses will be an important platform in the future not only because they’re a natural way to see digital holograms in the physical world, but also because soon you’ll be able to let your AI see what you see and hear what you hear, which will make your smart glasses more useful over time,” Zuckerberg added.

Moniepoint, Nithub UNILAG Produce Graduates From HatchDev Programme

Mohammed Shosanya

Nithub University of Lagosi n partnership with Moniepoint Inc,Africa’s digital financial services provider, has announced the graduation of the pioneer cohort from its HatchDev programme.

The nine-month specialized training, sponsored by Moniepoint, is designed to produce hundreds of market-ready software engineers every year.

In Nigeria, where the digital economy is rapidly expanding, there is a pressing need for skilled tech talent. According to estimates,there are only around 115,000 developers in Nigeria,highlighting a significant talent shortage that hampers the growth of the tech sector.

Recognizing this challenge,Moniepoint in partnership with Nithub is taking proactive steps to bridge the gap and empower the youth with valuable skills for a brighter future.

The competitive programme with a strict recruitment policy, which began in October 2022, aspires to yearly shape 300 junior software engineers, 100 intelligent systems developers, and 100 IoT/embedded systems engineers.

These professionals, upon completion of the course, will be readily absorbed into a market eager for their expertise. The programme’s structure is such that it starts with nine months of classroom-based training, culminating in a three-month industry-specific internship.

NItHub envisions a transformative approach to the use and creation of digital technology in Nigeria. This vision encompasses upskilling, startup incubation, product development, all aimed at setting new benchmarks for digital proficiency and innovation in Nigeria.

Besides Moniepoint,with its extensive reach and influence, plays a pivotal role in this digital revolution and financial inclusion. Currently, 1.6 million businesses across Nigeria rely on Moniepoint’s suite of payment, credit, and business management tools to achieve socioeconomic growth and stability.

The platform facilitates an average monthly transaction value of $12 billion, demonstrating its profound impact on businesses and the economy at large.

Speaking on the success of the initiative, Chukwudum Ekwueme, VP Engineering, Moniepoint,said:”Nigeria is a booming economy and with the innovative contributions of tech businesses, like Moniepoint, that are solving some of society’s critical issues, it is very gratifying to be a significant part of those giving local talent the training and tools they need to compete on a global stage. Also, this initiative aligns perfectly with our vision of empowering the next generation of tech leaders. We believe that by investing in talent development, we can accelerate Nigeria’s growth in the digital economy and contribute to the overall prosperity of our great nation.”

Africa’s Internet economy is revolutionizing development on the continent by creating job opportunities, stimulating economic growth, and offering innovative solutions to complex challenges, including access to healthcare, education, and finance. This transformation is driven by factors such as increased access to high-quality Internet connectivity, a burgeoning urban population, a growing pool of tech talent, and a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Dr. Victor Odumuyiwa, NitHub Director and HatchDev project lead, said: “Nigeria is at a critical inflection point at the moment as we continue to grow and develop our economy. As a new wave of technology companies emerge, and with increased digitalisation in every aspect of life, it’s vital that we have the local talent available here to ensure homegrown businesses can reach their full potential. That’s why courses like HatchDev are so valuable – we’re training Nigeria’s top future talent. We’re delighted to be working with Moniepoint to help bring this vision to life.`

Some industry analysts said that the initiative between Moniepoint and NitHub, University of Lagos, is poised to be a game-changer in the tech industry. By equipping young Nigerians with cutting-edge skills through the HatchDev programme, they are opening doors to limitless possibilities and helping Nigeria tap into its full potential in the digital era.

Sahara Energy Geneva Assesses Impact Of Shippers On Africa’s Development

Mohammed Shosanya

Sahara Group has said the dedication and contribution of energy traders and shippers to the medical interventions of Mercy Ships in Africa would help enhance access to quality healthcare and promote sustainable development on the continent.

David Walker, Head of Chartering at Sahara Energy International Geneva (a Sahara Group Company) said traders and shippers in Geneva had over the years demonstrated unwavering commitment to the cause of bringing quality healthcare to thousands of beneficiaries in Africa.

Walker who recently became Chairman of the Mercy Ships Cargo Day Committee in Geneva, noted that similar collaborative fund-raising interventions by businesses across the globe would provide more life-changing surgery, medical training and infrastructure renovations to support the local health care systems in Africa.

He said his tenure would focus on consolidating current success stories and exploring other avenues for more positive impact. “We believe this opportunity to contribute to the remarkable work Mercy Ships is treasured by the shipping and trading community here in Geneva. For Sahara Group, being part of Mercy Ships aligns perfectly with our commitment to Making a Difference, responsibly,” he said.

Speaking on Walker’s appointment, Kola Motajo, Director, Sahara Group, said: “This marks another milestone in Sahara Group’s ongoing efforts to collaborate with organizations dedicated to transforming lives. We believe that sustainable change comes through strategic partnerships, and our association with Mercy Ships is a testament to our commitment to creating a better future for all, leaving no one behind.”

He said Sahara Energy Geneva would continue to spearhead interventions that promote sustainability through collaboration with like-minded organizations and investment in projects that will “bring energy to life responsibly “. He added that Sahara Energy Geneva is embarking on a 5-year tree planting exercise across several countries in Africa as part of its contribution to combating climate change and deforestation on the continent.

Sahara Energy Geneva has been unwavering in its support for the Mercy Ships Cargo Day initiative, a medical outreach that has been saving lives and bringing smiles to beneficiaries since its inception in 2016. Mercy Ships cargo day has raised over 7millions USD in the last 7 years.

Mercy Ships operates hospital ships that deliver free surgeries and other healthcare services to those with little access to safe medical care. An international faith-based organization, Mercy Ships has focused entirely on partnering with African nations for the past three decades. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 countries, providing services valued at more than £1.3 billion.

GTB Partners Infosys Finacle On Digital Banking Transformation

Mohammed Shosanya

Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank has partnered with Infosys Finacle to use the latter’s services for its multi-country digital banking transformation program.

Guaranty Trust Bank will select the Finacle Digital Banking Suite in order to improve its overall digital transformation program. The GTBank will also leverage Finacle’s suite of solutions and capabilities across markets such as retail, corporate banking, and wealth on account of the partnership,a statement said.

Besides,the will be given the possibility to optimize its development process across its home operations in the region of Nigeria, as well as in other 10 markets across Africa and Europe.

Infosys Finacle’s cloud-native and open API-driven platform is set to provide GTBank with the needed solutions to become a more transparent, open, and secure financial institution, while also being prepared to integrate with its ecosystem collaborators and to benefit from modern digital offerings.

According to the statement,Guaranty Trust Bank aims to meet the needs, preferences, and demands of its customers, while Finacle will prioritise the process of ensuring a significantly lower total cost of operations and services, due to the bank-wide digitalisation and automation procedures.

Besides,the financial institution will also focus on optimising its overall client experience, by delivering a secure, convenient, and efficient banking system.

UBA Simplifies Payment For Goods,Services With NQR

Mohammed Shosanya
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has launched innovative payment method, NQR, an indigenous QR-code-based payments and collections solution to enhance customers’ experience for merchants and buyers.

The NQR payment system will enable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria to receive instant payments from their customers by simply scanning the codes,the bank said in a statement.

It said:“The key element of the NQR is embedded in the UBA mobile banking app. Powered by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), NQR code provides a consistent user experience and aim to accelerate the adoption of digital technology across the nation. It provides a fast, easy, secure, reliable, contactless, and account-based option to receive and pay for goods and services”

Head, Digital Banking, Olukayode Olubiyi, said: “Our customers are at the heart of our business, that’s why we keep going the extra mile to constantly innovate in a bid to satisfy them. As we very well know Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute significantly to the economy but remain heavily dependent on cash to run their businesses; however, consumers are demanding safer and more convenient ways to pay.

“That is why we have partnered with NIBSS to introduce the NQR (NIBSS QR), which is a safe, contactless payment platform for merchants and customers to receive and make QR code-based payments for goods and services.

“This payment method is a contactless solution, poised to give customers a unique experience as it is seamless, fast, easy, secure, reliable, and account-based option dedicated to receive and pay for goods and services at their convenience.”

He explained that the NQR is loaded with enormous benefits, including the fact that payments are instant, can be made without using a debit card, customers are only require to scan the code to pay; and each NQR payment can be integrated into the merchant’s cash register to make book balancing seamless which means manual book keeping is not needed.

“Also, when payments are made, there is the presence of Instant value and verification of all payments as merchants receive notification immediately after a transaction has been completed by a buyer, ”Olubiyi added.

Cardoso Assumes Duty As Acting CBN Boss

Mohammed Shosanya

Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso, Friday formally assumed duty, in an acting capacity, as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), pending his confirmation by the Senate.

His action follows the recent resignation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a statement signed by Isa AbdulMumin, Director, Corporate Communications of the apex bank,said.

Besides,the Deputy-Governors Designate have also assumed duty, in acting capacities, sequel to the formal resignation of Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu, and Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governors of the CBN.

Dr. Cardoso and his colleagues subscribed to the relevant oaths of office at a brief ceremony held at the Bank’s Head Office in Abuja, on Friday, September 2023, and have since settled down to the task of administering monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government.

An Economic and Development Policy Advisor, Financial Sector Leader, former Chairman Citi Nigeria and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos, Cardoso brings over three decades of managerial experience on board.

He is an alumnus of Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom, where he studied managerial and administrative studies. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, United States of America.

Dr. Cardoso and his colleagues were appointed to their respective positions at the Bank on September 15, 2023, subject to their confirmation by the Senate.

AfDB Partners Google On Digital Transformation In Africa

Mohammed Shosanya

The African Development Bank and Google have formalized cooperation aimed at advancing digital transformation in Africa.

The parties signed a Letter of Intent during the Global Africa Business Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly in New York,a statement said on Thursday.

The partnership underscores a shared commitment to harness emerging technologies, extend and improve infrastructure, and refine talent and skills in the continent.

Both parties have a history of fostering digital evolution. Over the past decade, the African Development Bank has invested $1.9 billion in projects emphasizing the development of broadband infrastructure, conducive policy and regulatory environments, digital skills, and innovative technology startups.

“Our journey from a 2% telephony penetration in 1998 to today’s era of 4G, 5G, and AI signifies immense progress. With 70% of sub-Saharan Africans under 30, our focus is on catalyzing businesses to create jobs and offer innovative solutions,” said Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

Google has been a longtime partner in Africa’s economic growth and digital transformation. In 2005 Google invested in a major submarine telecommunications cable – the Seacom cable. Since then, Google has been committed to digital transformation by supporting talent development, innovation, infrastructure, and regulatory advancements across the continent.

Dr. James Manyika, Google’s Senior Vice President of Research, Technology & Society, said: “With advanced technologies like AI, the most profound transformation is yet to come.

“Collaboration will be essential if Africa is to realize this opportunity, building for everyone and ensuring no-one is left behind. We are excited to collaborate with the African Development Bank to work towards this shared commitment.”

Customs Deepens War Against Smuggling

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Customs Service will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy,Acting Comptroller-General Adewale Adeniyi,has said

The Service would cripple the illegitimate business of smuggling in the country also declared this when he received Ambassadors of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat, led by Dr. Raymond Edoh, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja.

“On behalf of the entire management team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely,”he told his visitors.

He also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service had already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.

He appreciated the partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

He said:“What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also acknowleged their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through technological approach.

He underscored the import of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

The Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

They visited the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service,he said.

He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.