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Kenya Offers Citizenship in Investor Push

Kenya is mulling giving citizenship to wealthy investors in a new push to enhance direct foreign investment (FDI) flows, the country’s investment promotion agency said on Wednesday.

High net worth investors, whose enterprises are appraised to have high impact on new jobs and exports earnings, will be allowed to automatically apply for citizenship, under the new proposals.

Immigration laws presently require a foreigner to continuously live in the country for at least seven years to qualify for citizenship by registration.

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) said the plan is to gift such investors with a permanent residence status after vetting, an equivalent of the Green Card in the US.

Moses Ikiara, KenInvest managing director, said the agency held “positive discussions” with Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i with a view to developing a framework to ensure the vetting is watertight and free from abuse.

“If somebody has created impact and you can see the jobs created why don’t we extend an incentive to them and say we invite to be our citizen in three, two years,” Dr Ikiara said. “Giving incentives to those people with a lot of money could be among the non-monetary incentives.”

The proposal is part of targeted interventions the country intends to implement under its first ever investment policy, unveiled Wednesday, nearly five years since its formulation started.

Officials said the Kenya Investment Policy seeks to guide attraction, facilitation, retention, monitoring and evaluation of the impact of private investments at national and county levels.

Under the new framework, investors will be offered conditional incentives tailored at unique needs of their respective sectors, including land banks in partnership with the county governments.

This will be guided by the proposed National Investment Council to be chaired by the with representation from the private sector.

“This is the key document that contains the policy that brings certainty and stability in terms of investment environment,” Industry and Trade Secretary Peter Munya said.

Source: businessdailyafrica

How Microfinance Banks Are Shoring Up Capital To Meet CBN’s Deadline

Efforts are on-going among Microfinance Banks (MFBs) in the country to shore up their capital following the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN on March 18, 2018, reviewed the minimum capital requirements for microfinance banks, allowing for instalment payment and categorisation of Unit Microfinance into two of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capitals.

Consequently, tier 1 MFBs are to pay N200 million as minimum capital requirement, while tier 2 are expected to pay N50 million.

In compliance with the directive, some of the microfinance banks are partnering with foreign investors in this regard as seen with Lagos based Fina Trust Microfinance Bank Limited, a State licenced MFB, which last week announced completion of equity investment worth of N2 billion in the Bank by the LOLC GROUP from Sri Lanka.

By this investment, Fina Trust Microfinance Bank is adequately capitalised to meet the new capital requirement regulation of the Central Bank ahead of the April 2020 deadline.

In a circular signed by Kevin Amugo, director, financial policy and regulation department, the CBN explained that Unit Microfinance Banks shall operate in the urban and high-density banked areas of the society; and tier 2 Unit Microfinance Banks shall operate only in the rural, unbanked or underbanked areas.

To aid the process of recapitalization, the CBN had directed that all Tier 1 unit microfinance banks shall meet a N100 million capital threshold by April 2020 and N 200 million by April 2021; Tier 2 unit microfinance banks shall meet a N 35 million capital threshold by April 2020 and N 50 million by April 2021;  A state microfinance bank shall increase its capital to N500 million by April 2020 and N1 billion by April 2021; and A national microfinance bank shall hold a capital of 3.5 billion by April 2020 and N5 billion by April 2021.

Ashan Nissanka, country director of LOLC Group; a foremost Asian micro finance and leasing trailblazer, said that the Group is excited to invest in Nigeria as the investment is an access into sub Saharan Africa through the largest market in the region. LOLC Group has presence in more than 15 countries across Asia, MENA region. As part of the investment, LOLC Group is supporting the bank with strong micro finance skills and expertise that have been tested in the Asian market.

According to Deji Popoola, managing director/CEO of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank, this investment comes with a competitive edge for the bank through a funding costs efficiency, competitive process, system and technology, as well as innovative microfinance product offering. Deji is particularly appreciative of the LOLC family and the advisers who birthed the transaction.

The advisers to the transaction include Nolton Bravos/Sthenic Finance, Suits & Advisors, Banwo & Ighodalo and G. Elias & Co.

Ituah Ighodalo, Chairman of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank said, “Fina Trust Microfinance bank has been in business for the past 10 years. The Nigerian market is very big, very wide and we have reached a little bit of the capital that we have invested in the company and we needed to look for partners to do three things for us”.

One of such things he said is to bring in a bit more money to grow the business and expand it into a national business, which was the bank’s vision from the beginning.

Other things are to bring in technology and a bit of expertise into the business and to share with us the experiences they have had with other countries. “In looking for a partner, those were critical points for us,”Ighodalo said.

The chairman told BusinessDay that “LOLC thick these boxes. They brought in a considerable amount of investment into the company, a little bit of which we will use to buy off shareholders but most of it will be used to grow the business into a national business and a business that will also have footprint across Africa especially West Africa and that is what we are doing”.

Speaking further, he said, “I see us traversing the length and breadth of Nigeria, working together to infiltrate other parts of Africa and I see a big conglomerate being born. I am very excited. I am very optimistic. I have always been a believer that what Nigeria needs is technology and money. The market is there but what we lack is enough investible money in Nigeria because the economy has been stifled by inadequate government policies in the past. But now if money, technology comes in then the economy is ready to explode especially in the areas of agric, and small businesses”.

In July 2019, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc announced plans to do a public offer with a view to raising more funds from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to shore up its working capital.

The regulator carried out examination of 490 microfinance banks in the last six months of 2018, which included the routine examination of 258 MFBs, special examination of 224 MFBs and income audit of eight MFBs designated as Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs).

The examination according to the Financial Stability Report (FSR) for December 2018, revealed some shortcomings such as high incidence of non-performing credits (above PAR of 5%); inadequate capitalization; absence of Capital Management Plans and weak strategic objectives; high operating costs; weak risk management practices; and poor corporate governance.

Source: businessday

The Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance: Principle 24 – Business Conduct and Ethics

Corporate governance is an encompassing concept that defines the way a company or organisation is managed and controlled. It prescribes a set of rules which help companies imbibe and work towards transparency, accountability, honesty and openness. Good corporate governance provides proper incentives for the board and Management to pursue objectives that best serve the interest of the company and its stakeholders whilst also facilitating effective monitoring. It is now established that the adoption of good governance best practices largely determines the sustainability of corporations.

Analysing the importance of ethical compliance mechanisms, Surendra Arjoon, (a Professor of Business and Professional Ethics at the University of West Indies) made a distinction between the use of legal compliance and ethical mechanisms as tools for ensuring good governance. According to him, when legal mechanisms are introduced for the purpose of discipline, it can only promote a freedom of indifference to the letter of the law and may not necessarily inspire or instil excellence. Conversely, ethical compliance mechanisms promote a freedom for excellence which corresponds to the spirit of the law. Legal compliance mechanisms may not necessarily address the real and fundamental issues that inspire ethical behaviour.

Infusing good corporate governance practices into business operations entails establishing processes and policies that will ensure that the expectations of all stakeholders are met in a sustainable manner. Principle 24 of the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG, 2018) sets out certain standards and best practices on business conduct and ethics. The code suggests content for a standard Code of Business & Ethical Conduct (COBEC).

Typically, a COBEC seeks to promote a culture of ethics and compliance within the organisation and defines the way and manner in which the company conducts its business guided by its core values.  Whereas “engaging in business” speaks to activity, “business conduct” refers to the method by which such business should be conducted, and “ethics” refer to the principles and standards that guide the organisation’s business practices. Whilst providing Management with the flexibility to take on various business opportunities, defining professional business and ethical standards builds and safeguards corporate reputation and instils investor confidence.

The board of directors is expected to ensure compliance with the COBEC and that breaches are effectively sanctioned. This responsibility may be delegated to the nominations and governance committee.

“The establishment of professional business and ethical standards underscores the values for the protection and enhancement of the reputation of the company while promoting good conduct and investor confidence.”

A code of business and ethical conduct may be defined as a set of principles designed to guide stakeholders towards conducting business with integrity and in line with agreed rules defined by the organisation’s leadership. Investopedia notes that whilst many laws exist to set basic ethical standards within the business community, it is largely dependent upon a business’ leadership to develop a code of ethics for the organisation.

The NCCG code recommends that the COBEC should assert the importance of directors and senior management acting in good faith and in the best interest of the company within legal and defined ethical boundaries. The COBEC is expected to remind directors that whilst acting in their official capacity and exercising the powers attached to their office, they owe a fiduciary duty to the company and as such must conduct diligent analysis of all proposals before the board.

Directors are also expected to be guided in the appropriate use of confidential information and not take advantage of their position for personal gain or competition with the company. The COBEC must highlight the importance of reporting unlawful and unethical behaviour and the protection of those who report violations in good faith.

The COBEC should also be sufficiently detailed to provide clarity for its users and must be formally communicated to all internal and external stakeholders. To be effective and relevant, the COBEC should be reviewed regularly to incorporate new principles and fade out obsolete ones.

Housing Development

Companies are the most significant nucleus of modern economic activity. Whilst the ultimate objective is sustainable growth – reflected by profitability, these entities have a responsibility to ensure that they pursue and achieve this objective in an ethical manner. This responsibility requires a moral commitment driven by the board of directors which has the responsibility for the ethics and integrity standards that underpins how the company conducts its business.

The determination of what is right or wrong is universal and not subject to cultural and individual relativism and thus the test cannot be a subjective one. It has been argued that what is considered ethical is a product of an individual’s moral perspective. However, the collapse of organisations in recent times indicate that, irrespective of our relative perception of morality and ethics, failure to adopt appropriate business ethics in undertaking economic activities will not serve the interest of all stakeholders.

Source: Businessdayng

Agusto Assigns ‘4 Star’ Ratings to Two Nigerian Banks

Two financial institutions in Nigeria have been assigned ‘4 Star’ ratings by Agusto & Co Limited, the leading Pan African credit rating agency in the country for over 26 years.

The ratings were given after the conclusion of the 2019 Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction Index report of the agency, which highlights customer’s preferences and attitude towards digital banking platforms provided by banks in Nigeria.

This Index in its second year was carried out following an extensive online and offline consumer survey carried out by Agusto and Co. Limited across various geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

The survey was designed to gain an insight into the behavioural patterns of the respondents, these respondents were selected from both the formal and the informal sector.

The output of the Index is based on information provided by respondents on the top eight banks in Nigeria by total assets as at 31 December 2018.

According to a statement from the company, one of the two banks given a ‘4 Star’ rating for Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction is Zenith Bank Plc. The lender received this because it scored the highest points and emerged as the ‘Best Digital Bank in Nigeria’.

Agusto said the ‘4 Star’ rating assigned to Zenith Bank Plc reflects transaction success rates, ease of use, perceived security and good troubleshooting & IT resolution on its different digital platforms.

It noted that the Index revealed that Zenith Bank Plc has the highest transaction success rates on the bank’s digital banking platforms such as mobile app, USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) or web; the bank’s respondents experienced the most ease in navigating through the digital platforms, the bank has one of the highest number of customers who felt it has excellent rating on IT issue resolution.

However, the Index indicated areas where the respondents requires an improvement on the services enjoyed on the various banks’ digital platforms. These areas include improvement on the interface of the various platforms, improvement on the success rate of transactions, enhanced security measures on the digital platforms and reduction in charges for frequently used services such as airtime and data top-up.

According to Agusto & Co, the objective of this Index is to create an independent appraisal of the ease of using digital banking platforms by the Nigerian populace following increased competition by banks on digital platforms as well as the growing quest for financial inclusion using digital means.

“As a research and credit rating agency, we seek to provide banks with credible information on how best services can be improved for customers. We believe the findings from this survey will provide banks in Nigeria insights and suggestions on ways to enhance customer experiences on digital banking platforms,” it stated.

For over two decades, Agusto & Co. has provided investors with invaluable information and sound financial analysis, promoting transparency and best practices. Its clientele base spans major international corporations as well as key domestic operators.

Source: businesspostng

AfDB Raises Capital by $115bn to $2018bn

Shareholders of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have approved the raising of the bank’s capital by additional $115 billion in a bid to stimulate growth and development on the continent. The approval was done at the lender’s shareholders’ meeting held in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, last Thursday.

In a statement released after the meeting, it was disclosed that the capital increase was the largest in the history of the bank following its establishment in 1964.

“With the approved increase, the capital of the bank would more than double from 93 billion dollars to 208 billion dollars.

“This solidifies the bank’s leadership on development financing for the continent.

“The boost in capital ensures that the bank will continue to maintain a sterling AAA rating, all stable from the top rating agencies,” the statement read in parts.

Business Post understands that discussions on the request for a general capital increase started in 2017. According to shareholders, this would help fast-track the delivery of its High 5 development strategies, the sustainable development goals and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the bank, said that its responsibility is to help improve the quality of life for the people of Africa and with the new development, this would go a long way.

“This general capital increase represents a very strong commitment of all our shareholders to see better quality projects that will significantly have an impact on the lives of the people in Africa.

“With the new general capital increase, the bank plans to do more with the following expected results, 105 million people will have access to new or improved electricity connections.

“About 244 million people will benefit from improvements in agriculture, 15 million people will benefit from investee projects and 252 million people to benefit from improved access to transport.

“Also, 128 million people are to benefit from improved access to water and sanitation,’ he said.

Mr Adesina added that AfDB would continue its leadership role on infrastructure development, strengthening regional integration and help to realise the ambitions of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He noted that it would support fragile states to build resilience, ensure sustainable debt management, address climate change and boost private sector investments.

On his part, the host president, Mr Alassane Quattara of Ivory Coast, said that the integration of the continent’s priorities into the High 5s indicated that AfDB was a strategic partner for African governments.

“In the past four years, the bank’s High 5 priorities have delivered impressive results on the ground.

“This includes helping to connect 16 million people to electricity, 70 million people provided with agricultural technologies to boost food security and nine million people given access to finance through private sector investee companies.

“Also, 55 million people were provided improved access to transport services and 31 million people with access to water and sanitation,” he noted.

Source: businesspost

Odu’a investment Profit Soars by 22% in 2018 …Pays N292m Dividend To Six Owner States

The Odu’a Investment Company Limited has earned the sum of N849m as profit before tax for 2018 financial year ended December 2018.

This is an increase of 22 percent increase in profit from N698million in 2007 to N849million in 2018.

The conglomerate is owned by Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos states

Olusola Akinwunmi, the group chairman, in his address at the 37th annual general meeting of the company stated that the board approved the payment of cash dividend of N292million to shareholders.

According to him, the total sum of N1.208billion has been paid to the shareholders in the last five years, stressing that the group had resolved to make the investment the engine room for the economic development of the region.

Akinwunmi reiterated that the positive result was as a result of the concerted effort by both board and management to reposition the organisation.

He assured shareholders, including Lagos state attending the AGM of the company for the first time of the company’s commitment to strict adherence to highest standards of corporate governance and ethical leadership.

On his part, the group managing director, Adewale Raji said that improvement in its financial results were driven by disciplinary operational performance and focused efforts to transform its business models to one in which all constituent units are operating and contributing as a proper going concern that is responsible and discharging to the expectation of shareholders and stakeholders alike.

Raji said further that measures have been taken to improve the company’s business process, adding that an enterprise risk management framework has been adopted to insulate the group’s businesses against environmental and technological threats.

The GMD further said the company would continue to forge ahead in assimilating more private sector principles in organisational structure, benchmarks and performance measurements and develop more business models that leverage on the socio-economic competitiveness and comparative advantages of all southwestern states.

The Odu’a boss who also spoke on the developments within the group which includes emphasis on organic growth of two subsidiary firms,Wemabod Estates Limited and Glanvill Enthoven Insurance  Brokers and Pension consultants, noted the companies are already taking shape.

He mentioned also the 124-household medium density and mixed luxury Westlink Iconic Villa, Alakia, Ibadan, a joint venture development with Iconic City (UK) Ltd which is billed for completion in the next 30 months.
The conglomerate is likewise looking into concluding on “project rebirth” to reposition its hospitality business-Lafia, Premier and Lagos Airport Hotels to bring major transformation and make them world class hotels.

On future outlook, Raji assured that the group would increase its involvement in agriculture and agribusiness to achieve growth, profitability and sustainability targets on an inclusive basis with economic and social outcomes.

Source: Businessdayng

Union Bank Recovers N8.4bn Debt as Loan to Deposit Ratio Hits 63.4%

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc recorded a mixed performance in the first nine months of this year, with the gross earnings going down by 4 percent to N117.2 billion from N122.2 billion as a result of decline in average earning asset.

However, the profit before tax rose by 5 percent to N15.6 billion from N14.9 billion, while the profit after tax increased by 4 percent to N15.2 billion over N14.7 billion in the same time of last year.

In the period under review, the lender recovered N8.4 billion debts from its customers as a result of its debt recovery drive. This brought about the drop in the bank’s non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio to 8.0 percent from 8.7 percent at year-end 2018.

Union Bank also increased its loan book by 9 percent to N565.5 billion from N519.7 billion at year-end 2018 as part of its efforts to grow its asset book by creating quality risk assets in targeted sectors of the economy.

This helped the bank to push its loan to deposit ratio to 63.4 percent from 60.6 percent as at the end of last year. The bank is on course to meeting the 65 percent December 2019 target set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for commercial banks in the country.

In addition, the customer deposits improved during the period by 4 percent to N892.9 billion from N857.6 billion as at December 2018, reflecting the company’s continuing acquisition of low-cost deposits driven by strengthened brand affinity.

But despite these, the interest income of Union Bank went down by 2 percent to N90.0 billion from N91.5 billion, while the non-interest income depreciated by 12 percent to N27.1 billion from N30.7 billion as a result of reduced market volatility in the year, which had an impact on trading income.

Furthermore, the net operating income reduced by 2 percent to N71.4 billion from N72.7 billion, while the financial institution’s sustained cost optimisation scheme led to the 3 percent drop in operating expenses to N56.2 billion from N58.0 billion.

CEO of Union Bank, Mr Emeka Emuwa, while commenting on the results, said, “Our continued focus on consumer centric service and product propositions is yielding solid results, contributing to a 28 percent growth in our electronic channels fee income which is at N5.6 billion for the period. Our debt recovery drive continues to record successes with N8.4 billion of recoveries year-to-date.

“In line with our stated business objectives, we are continuing to grow our asset book by creating quality risk assets in targeted sectors. This has led to a 9 percent growth in our loan portfolio to N566.5 billion compared with N519.7 billion at year-end 2018.”

“Going into the rest of the year, our ambition remains to deliver superior customer experience across all customer touchpoints,” the bank executive said further.

On his part, Chief Financial Officer of Union Bank, Mr Joe Mbulu, stated that, “While we had a slight decline in gross earnings for the group from N122.2 billion in 2018 to N117.2 billion, our efficiency initiatives including the deployment of Robotics Process Automation as well as our cost optimisation programme ensured we delivered 4 percent growth in profit after tax, recording N15.2 billion compared with N14.7 billion in the prior year period.

“Our operating expenses reduced by 3 percent to N56.2 billion from N58.0 billion in 9M 2018 and the bank’s customer-related non-interest revenue drivers remained strong with net fee and commission income growing 10 percent to N9.5 billion from N8.7 billion for the corresponding period in 2018.

“We continue to maintain adequate levels of capital with our Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 17.8 percent which is above the regulatory threshold. Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) declined to 8.0 percent from 8.7 percent as at year-end 2018.”

Source: businesspost

44 Of 54 Insurance Companies Get Approval For Recapitalisation

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) says it has approved the recapitalisation plans of 44 out of the 54 insurance companies in Nigeria.

Agboola Pius, NAICOM’s director for policy and regulation, gave this update on Tuesday at an interactive session with shareholders.

He said the commission rejected the recapitalisation plans of six insurance companies and directed them to make amendments while those of two are under review and the remaining two have not submitted any plans.

Pius said that the commission saw the need for the recapitalisation to increase the retention capacity and conservation of foreign exchange earning of insurance companies.

The director said that the commission had also given a guideline on the capital restructuring of the insurance firms, which refers to the option the firms choose to finance their assets and investment, except borrowing.

He listed the options to include initial public offering (IPO), rights issue, capitalisation of retained earnings, private placement, merger or acquisition.

According to him, while the intention of the recapitalisation directive by NAICOM is not for companies to merge, if the option would be to the benefit of the shareholders, then so be it.

“In 2005/2007 recapitalisation, about four companies merged to become Custodian Vantas Kapital, two companies merged to become LASACO, two companies merged to become Linkage,” he said.

“Three companies merged to become NEM, and two companies merged to become Consolidated Hallmark, among others.

“These companies are not doing badly, but can still do better, so consolidation is done to make companies better and not to destroy them.”

The NAICOM director assured the shareholders that the commission had developed an appropriate framework to ensure that their investments were secured during the exercise.

He said that the measures put in place include a directive to the insurance companies to deposit the recapitalisation fund in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) escrow account, which cannot be withdrawn without NAICOM directive.

Pius highlighted some of the benefits of the recapitalisation to include high-value creation to limit borrowing, enabling better strategic planning and reduction in the cost of capital with proper oversight.

He said it would also lead to an increase in liquidity and investment funds, hedge against risk arising from macro-economic environment, among others.

NAICOM had, on May 20, reviewed the minimum paid-up share capital requirement for all classes of insurers.

The minimum paid-up capital share for life insurers business was raised from N2 billion to N8 billion.

That of general insurance businesses was raised from N3 billion to N10 billion, composite businesses, raised from N5 billion to N18 billion and reinsurance business was raised from N10billion to 20 billion.

The new paid-up share capital requirement takes immediate effect for new applications made to NAICOM by companies seeking to carry on insurance business in Nigeria.

However, existing insurance and reinsurance companies are required to fully comply with the new minimum capital requirement not later than June 30, 2020.

Source: thecableng

HDAN Reacts as Nigeria Ranks Low in World Bank Property Registration Report

Nigeria’s biggest housing advocacy group – Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) has expressed their concern over the recent World Bank ease of doing business ranking which sees Nigeria rank poorly in the ease of registering a property.

The group calls on the government, members of the national assembly, state governors and other public stakeholders to look into this issue of property and title registration which contributes to the poor performance of the country’s housing, mortgage and construction sectors.

Reacting in Abuja, the group’s President, Festus Adebayo, stated that the issue has been one of their areas of concern in the country’s housing sector. He said the report confirms their fears about the ease of doing business in the housing sector – a factor which has worsened the country’s housing deficit currently at about 17 million.

If the bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with property and title registrations are reduced, Adebayo believes that it will significantly attract more investors and establish a process that will create mass affordable housing for Nigerians who needs them most.

The group recommends a strategic intervention by all public stakeholders in creating a one stop channel for all registration which will be equally backed by modern technology and transparency.

Placed in 183, Nigeria ranks below its African peers like Ghana and South Africa. With the current ranking by the Washington-based lender, the most populous nation in Africa, which is faced with a housing deficit of more than 17 million units, was only better than 7 countries from the 190 that were surveyed.

It takes 33 days to get a property registered in Ghana. If that is to be done in South Africa, it will take 10 days less, meaning that one can obtain a property document at the end of 23 days in South Africa.

However, the case is not the same in Nigeria as the World Bank data stated it takes three months and two days to get the same property documentation.

“Nigeria (Kano) made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to register a property,” the report said.

Despite current efforts to improve ease of doing business in Nigeria, the World Bank report revealed that Nigeria still requires 12 different procedures to obtain the document for a real estate development. In Ghana, that involves only 5 procedures.

Further analysis of the World Bank data revealed that while it takes 111 days to get a construction permit in Nigeria, the same papers can be obtained in 155 and 170 days in South Africa and Ghana respectively.

But the document is more expensive in Nigeria than the combined cost in Ghana and South Africa. It cost 27.5 percent of the warehouse value to acquire a construction permit whereas in Ghana and South Africa it each costs 4.6 percent and 2 percent respectively.

“Nigeria (Lagos) made dealing with construction permits less costly by eliminating the Infrastructure Development Charge (IDC, the fee for construction permits) for warehouses,” the World Bank said.

Access Bank Plans Acquisition of Another Bank

Top Nigerian lender, Access Bank Plc, is considering buying up another financial institution as part of its expansion plans, Bloomberg is reporting.

Earlier this year, the company completed the acquisition of a tier-2 bank in the country, Diamond Bank, as part of its drive to take control of the retail market and expand its presence there.

In a recent report by Bloomberg, Access Bank has been given the permission by the Competition Authority of Kenya to acquire 93.57 percent of Transnational Bank Limited, as consolidation in the East African nation’s banking industry gathers pace. Transnational lends mainly to the agricultural sector.

Kenya has more banks per person than South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two largest economies and this deal is expected to support the consolidation drive of the Central Bank of Kenya. The East African nation has more than 40 banks and a population of almost 50 million people.

In the past two years, SBM Holdings Limited of Mauritius bought up some of the assets of Chase Bank Kenya Limited and the entire capital of Fidelity Commercial Bank Limited.

The purchase of the controlling stakes of Transnational by Access Bank follows the merger of NIC Group Plc and Commercial Bank of Africa Limited, and KCB Group Limited’s acquisition of National Bank of Kenya Limited earlier this year.

With this, Access Bank joins other Nigerian lenders like Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Limited and United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc in operating in the Kenyan market.

In its 2018 financial year, Transnational recorded a pre-tax loss of 98.5 million shillings ($951,690), while its non-performing loans rose to 58 percent to 1.85 billion shillings, with the loans rising by 0.5 percent to 6.63 billion shillings.

Source: businesspostng

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