Top earners in the Nigerian banking industry

Nigeria’s seven topmost banks signposted resilient performance in the first half of this year with top-line earnings rising to N1.77 trillion despite the COVID-19 lockdowns that disrupted activities for the most part of the period.

All the seven largest banks recorded increased top-line, but the underlying profitability of the sector declined by almost two basis points.

The seven first tier banks  are Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Zenith Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), FBN Holdings and Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN).

They account for more than three quarters of the banking industry and are referred to as systemically important banks, in reference to their size and operations.

Total gross earnings within the top seven banking group rose by 7.8 per cent to N1.77 trillion in first half 2020 compared with N1.65 trillion recorded in corresponding period of 2019.

Total pre-tax profit dropped marginally by 0.74 per cent from N463.79 billion in first half 2019 to N460.38 billion in first half- 2020, driven largely by steep decline in the profit of a bank. Profit after tax rose by 10.13 per cent from N388.87 billion to N428.29 billion.

However, the underlying profit-making capacity of the sector declined during the period with an average pre-tax profit margin for the top seven banking group dropping from 28.46 per cent in first half 2019 to 26.94 per cent in first half 2020. With the exception of Stanbic IBTC Holdings and FBN Holdings, the two bank-led holding companies within the group, all the other banks suffered decline in underlying profitability.

The banks are required by  regulations to maintain the Gregorian calendar year as their financial year, with half-year ending June 30, every year.

A market intelligence report by The Nation yesterday showed that GTBank, Nigeria’s most capitalised financial institution, remains the most profitable with a pre-tax profit margin of 48.73 per cent in first half 2020, more than three basis points below 52.19 per cent recorded in first half 2019. Stanbic IBTC Holdings recorded the biggest improvement with pre-tax profit margin rising from 38.04 per cent to 41.41 per cent. FBN Holdings’pre-tax profit margin also improved from 12.93 per cent to 13.97 per cent.

In actual figures, Access Bank displaced Zenith Bank to emerge with the highest gross earnings but Zenith Bank also displaced GTBank to assume leadership in actual pre- and post-tax profits. Access Bank’s gross earnings rose from N324.38 billion to N396.76 billion.

Zenith Bank’s profit before tax rose from N111.7 billion to N114.12 billion while profit after tax increased from N88.88 billion to N103.83 billion.

The two leading banks – GTBank and Zenith Bank – recorded above-average performance across major indices.

The five biggest banks that traditionally pay dividends twice yearly – GTBank, Zenith Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Access Bank and UBA – have declared interim dividend for the six-month period.

GTBank and Zenith Bank will distribute a dividend per share of 30 kobo. Stanbic IBTC Holdings is paying the highest interim dividend of 40 kobo per share.

Access Bank retains its 25 kobo per share while UBA will distribute interim dividend of 17 kobo per share.

Analysts at Afrinvest Securities said better-than expected earnings by many banks sustained the bullish run that saw the Nigerian equities market closing with average gain of 1.2 per cent at the weekend.

Cordros Securities noted that the stock market recorded a higher level of activity from both local and foreign investors, “as positive earnings releases from the tier I banks and bargain buying across some bellwethers drove the market to its largest gain in almost a month”.

The All Share Index (ASI)- the value-based common index that tracks all share prices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed weekend at 25,605.64 points, its highest level since March 9.

NCAA: Incoming international flights won’t carry more than 200 passengers

As Nigeria commences partial resumption of international flights, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that incoming flights are only permitted to carry a maximum of 200 passengers.

This was disclosed in a memo signed by Musa Nuhu, Director-General/CEO of NCAA, on Friday.

Nuhu, however, confirmed that there was no limit on the number of outgoing passengers.

“Following the announcement by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the partial resumption of international flights effective September 5, 2020, kindly note that due to the limited number of approved incoming passengers (1,280) allowed daily per each airport, it is not possible to accommodate the requested schedule of airlines.

“The approved schedule is based on a maximum number of 200 passengers per each incoming flight to Nigeria. There is no limit on the number of outgoing passengers.

“Each operator has only one frequency on an approved day of operation irrespective of the capacity of aircraft utilized,” he said.

According to the memo, the approved airlines for international flight schedule include Turkish Airlines, Air Senegal, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar, Africa World Airlines Ghana for the Lagos and Abuja airports.

Others include Emirates, British Airways, Ethiopian, Asky, Air Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt Air, Delta, Middle East and Kenya Airways.

Problems and prospects of small and medium-scale enterprises in Nigeria

ABSTRACT

Entrepreneurial development is every nation’s inexorable route to economic development. Policymakers and researchers around the world have therefore invested time and resources in studies aimed at developing better strategies for poverty reduction, job creation, wealth distribution and equitable development, which rely mostly on the competitiveness, productivity level and growth of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs). This article examines why SMEs in Nigeria are underperforming despite the federal government’s huge budgetary allocations and implementation of several development schemes in favour of the sector. The research method adopts a descriptive survey. Further, collated data is evaluated using a mix of percentages, pie charts, tables and mean scores whereas a validity test of hypotheses is conducted with Chi-square. Research findings show that SMEs in Nigeria face managerial incompetency, inadequate social infrastructure and poor financing as the major challenges. The study, however, concludes that revitalizing the SME sector will boost Nigeria’s economic recovery and diversification strategy, away from the oil-dependent and constantly waning economy.

  

CHAPTER ONE

  • INTRODUCTION

Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) are a reliable economic development tool because they propel economic diversification strategies, generate employment, strengthen industrial linkages through production of primary goods, and encourage entrepreneurship among the citizenry. SMEs offer nearly 70% of Nigeria’s industrial employment, including about 80% of the entire workforce, and account for over 15% of total output from the manufacturing sector (Enelamah., 2018). The impact of SMEs, particularly on agriculture and the development of indigenous technology, is evident in the increasing rate of local production and use of raw materials, which are essentials for industrialization. Considering its capital-saving and labour-intensive nature, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) considers SMEs as a key to economic growth despite the sector’s unimpressive performance in recent years (Acha., 2009).

By dint of Central Bank’s introduction of a new, open and attractive forex window considered most-appealing by exporters and investors, inflation reduced significantly since April 2017 and the Naira attained stability against the U.S. dollars. The Nigerian stock market also increased returns by 40% thus gaining global recognition as one of the best performers. SMEs in Nigeria contributed 48% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017, the same year FG confirmed a 90% decline in importation, having applaudably escaped its most-awful, decades-long recession. Yet, the documented substantial growth failed to make significant impact in poverty reduction, mortality rates and standard of living among 37 million Nigerians (Aziken & Yakubu., 2017). This study therefore delves into the performance and potentials of SMEs in Nigeria, with focus on proffering effective solutions to the identified problems.

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Established in 2003, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) aimed at restructuring Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector for sustainable growth and the attainment of national economic development objectives (Ayyagari et al., 2003). In line with previous economic transformation policies, particularly the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of 1986, Nigeria has jiggled between capital-intensive projects that support large-scale industrialization and others such as SMEs, which are labour-intensive but more responsive in identifying and harnessing domestic linkages for quick, sustainable growth, self-reliant development, and progression of non-oil exports (Lalkaka., 1997).

In its monetary policy statement released in 1998, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) described SMEs in general commerce as businesses with less than 300 employees, including total assets below ₦500,000 and/or annual revenue not above ₦100 million (Oyelaran-Oyeyinka., 2006). Business activities in the sector include: poultry farming, trading, food production and supplies, laundry services, food beverage production, fashion designing, restaurant services, creche/kindergarten education, including professional services such as law, accountancy etc (Fabayo., 1989). Developmental efforts from the World Bank and three tiers of government (Federal, State and Local governments), National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), Nigeria Export & Import Bank (NEXIM), Peoples Bank of Nigeria (PBN), Bank of Industry (BOI) and community/microfinance banks, through budgetary allocations to SME Loan Schemes, have provided financial assistance to business owners who previously depended on private funds or cash received from informal sources (Arriyo., 1999).

The failure of these formal credit schemes in addressing problems of SMEs in Nigeria has been attributed to managerial incompetence, weak capital base and entrepreneurs’ low credit rating, which makes the argument on poor performance a vicious circle (Ayyagari et al., 2003). This study therefore aims at identifying the underlying factors impeding growth of SMEs and how change and innovation strategies can transform the sector into a catalyst for economic growth.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Dearth of accurate and verifiable information on the number of SMEs operating within Nigeria, including the total working population in the sector, is responsible for an alleged distortion of facts on job creation, production of raw materials, export earnings, development indicators, and inherent potentials of SMEs. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and SMEDAN, there are about 32.5 million employees in nearly 17.3 million SMEs, and significant improvements have been documented in the federal government’s efforts to stabilize the economy through effective macroeconomic policies, reduction of importation barriers, streamlining the taxation system and institutionalizing transparency in the nation’s customs system (Enelamah., 2018).

However, lack of reliable data management systems are not the only challenges to SME growth in Nigeria. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka (2006) notes that SMEs in countries like Korea, Vietnam, India and Singapore, which are comparatively at the same level of development with Nigeria, have made better progress. The researcher has therefore identified these as the major problems:

  • Lack of commitment from FG in institutionalizing a solid SME sector.
  • Poor infrastructure base.
  • Poor credit environment.
  • Inadequate technical/financial support.
  • Low-level investments from individuals, corporate bodies and foreign creditors.

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

This paper is an analysis of the performance, problems and prospects of SMEs in Nigeria. The objectives are:

  1. To identify the problems militating against SMEs’ performance as a catalyst to Nigeria’s economic growth and sustainable development objectives.
  2. To thoroughly examine sources of the identified problems.
  3. To analyse the current situation of SMEs in Nigeria.
  4. To ascertain the prospects of SME development in Nigeria.
  5. To proffer solutions through change and innovative models.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Results of this analysis will be useful for the long-elusive transformation of the SME sector by:

  • Providing managers and policymakers with the most effective leadership and business management strategies needed to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the SME sector, for optimal development and functioning of human capital and material resources.
  • Providing entrepreneurs with easy access to working capital and investment funds.
  • Adding competitiveness to the sector and thereby attracting investors from all over the world.
  • Increasing local production of goods and services for exports, with less reliance on imported products.
  • Presenting an intellectual basis for further research on SMEs in Nigeria.

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

SMEs have formidable potentials for exports, employment and economic growth, especially in Nigeria, where there are significant, unexploited opportunities spread across entertainment and leisure, agro-processing, fashion, biotechnology, telecom etc. Although the development of SMEs requires improved financial assistance, Benhabib and Spiegel (1994) noted that the problem is not in providing physical cash but in human capital investments. This is true, although domestic development of entrepreneurs with adequate technical know-how is costlier than what any country can spend to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Based on these facts, the research question is: “How can innovative policies be recommended to the Nigerian government to solve SME challenges and maximize opportunities in local and global markets?”

Additionally, the sub-questions are as follows:

  1. How has Nigerian SMEs performed in the last five years and what are the potentials?
  2. What are the socio-economic and political impacts on the development of SMEs in Nigeria?
  3. How has incompetent managerial skills affected the potentials of entrepreneurs and SMEs in Nigeria?

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The research investigates SME challenges and prospects using valid, verifiable and unbiased contributions from bank managers and accountants from selected Microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Enugu metropolis.

1.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This study will focus on the overall performance of SMEs in Nigeria, including a comparative analysis with India, but narrowed down to Enugu State, where, through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, the researcher collates useful primary data from bank managers/accountants in MFIs. Other information collected from secondary sources include materials from public libraries, journals, academic books, print media and the Internet, will are expected to add relevance to the cache of knowledge required by the researcher to successfully complete this task.

1.8 HYPOTHESES

H01: There is a relationship between availability of capital and the success of SMEs in Nigeria.

H02: Factors from socio-economic and political environment have direct influence on the development of SMEs in Nigeria.

H03: Incompetent managerial skills hampers competitiveness, growth and sustainability of SMEs in Nigeria.

1.9 LIMITATIONS

Research processes are often challenged by human limitations such as ethics, moral, culture, tradition, language and socio-political barriers. Also, lack of reliable, comprehensive and easily assessible data records in Nigeria presents one of the major challenges to this study.

1.10 CONCLUSION

According to the 2017 survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI), over 90% of businesses in Nigeria are categorized as SMEs which, with increased and sustainable productivity, have the potentials for champion economic diversification strategies for industrialization, development and sectoral development. Unfortunately, a unstructured taxation system drains the nation of productive time, with approximately 956 hours spent on filling tax returns in Lagos, compared to Africa’s overall average of 310. Findings from EIU also show that only 2% of adults had access to loans from MFIs. Further, 50% of Nigerians live without access to electricity supplied by Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC). Although about 82% of residents access the internet through mobile phones on daily basis, mobile business transactions are slow and mostly impossible due to poor network coverages, especially in rural communities (Green., 2017).

On this backdrop, SMEs in Nigeria experience low survival rate. Adeniji (2015) points out that most business outfits collapse within five years of existence whereas many others struggle to last between six and ten years. Only less than 10% of SMEs survive the highly-competitive market due to infrastructural inadequacies such as inaccessible roads, dysfunctional or inexistent water supply systems, poor knowledge market trends, lack of differentiated products, ineffective business strategies, inexperience and inadequate capital (Dӑnӑcicӑ., 2011).

For Nigerian SMEs to attain productivity and global competitiveness, there is need for collaborations, commitment and increased investments from the government, entrepreneurs, investors (local and foreign) and other stakeholders.

President Buhari appoints EFCC acting chairman after Magu’s suspension

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the suspension of Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Umar Gwandu, spokesperson for Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), confirmed the news in a statement on Friday.

The statement added that EFCC’s Head of Operations, Mohammed Umar, had been named as the Acting Chairman of the organisation.

The statement reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Ag. Chairman EFCC in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards.”

Magu was arrested by a joint team of operatives of the Department of State Services and men of the Nigeria Police Force on Monday and then taken to the Presidential Villa where he has been grilled for several days by a panel led by a former Court of Appeal judge, Ayo Salami.

Magu was arrested after it was alleged that he had four houses and was moving money outside the country through third parties.

In a 2016 report, the DSS revealed that Magu was living in a N40m mansion paid for by a corrupt individual.

Obasanjo’s dream for Nigeria

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigeria will continue to be insecure, unprogressive and stagnated if the country is not restructured.

The ex-president said this on Friday, June 27, 2020, at the year’s edition of the Sobo Sowemimo annual lecture organised by Abeokuta Club.

He said restructuring is the way forward Nigeria, stressing that the security situation of the country has made restructuring more imperative.

Obasanjo said, “Let me lay more emphasis on the issue of security, which in itself is serious enough to make restructuring imperative. The south-west governors cried out and devised Amotekun as a solution or part-solution,”

“We have yet to see how successfully that will be operated. Other zones are clamouring for a solution because in no state and in no geopolitical zone is life and property safe and secure.

“Criminality is the order of the day. And it cuts across the entire nation. Insecurity is one issue of commonality among Nigerians, no matter their tribe, language, religion, geographical location, gender, age or social position.

“I leave out economy which is in the doldrums and fighting corruption where you see more heat than light and which is festering like a bad sore.

“That, to me, is what reform of federating units and restructuring is all about and not about break-up or disintegration.

“I remain firmly convinced that without reform of federating units, as I will like to satisfy those who may not like the word ‘restructuring’, Nigeria will remain insecure, unstable, non-progressive and stagnated at best or disintegrated at the worst.”

Obasanjo also said that writing papers about the problems of the country and seeking disintegration are not the solution to Nigeria’s problems.

He said, “Papering over the obvious cracks in Nigeria’s polity is not the answer, tearing up or seeking disintegration is also not the solution, remaining silent makes us accomplices and irresponsibly so.”

The ex-president, however, called on Nigerians to join hands and seek a solution, saying the country will be destroyed if actions that’ll involve the governments and the governed are not taken..

He said, “I am, of course, discounting invidious and irredeemable Fulani fundamentalists and hegemonists. Federal security architecture, as organised and operated by the present government, cannot give any individual or group hope, let alone assurance of security within Nigeria.

“We are all challenged to put our thinking caps on, join hands and seek solutions together, otherwise, we will be destroyed piecemeal.

“There is no time to stand and stare or just to continue to call on governments that are ineffective. Let us take initiative and spearhead actions that will involve governments and the governed and will devolve security architecture, apparatus, arrangement and responsibility in subsidiarity.”

Man in court for allegedly having sex with a pig

A Nigerian man is facing trial for allegedly having sex with a pig.

That’s pretty much it. There aren’t a lot of details to the story. A guy got it in on with a pig on a pig farm in Elewi – Odo area, Ibadan, Nigeria, then got caught, and has since pleaded not guilty.

The defendant is said to be a worker at Mrs Adenike Taiwo’s pig farm in Elewi, Ibadan. His crime contravenes  Section 214 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol. II , Laws of Oyo State 2000.

Representation for the defendant, a 22-year-old named Ayokunbi Olaniyi, argued that the pig owner has already forgiven him for having sex with his livestock so shouldn’t the court just, you know, be kind of chill about all this?

The prosecution, of course, sided with the pig and, according to them, the laws of nature. They argued that Olaniyi was in violation of the state’s legal provisions.

On this premise, the judge in the case, Chief Magistrate Olaide Amzat, sided with the prosecution, arguing that although the owner of the pig might’ve forgiven the defendant, God and the pig have not, so the law must take up both of their causes.

7 Policemen killed In Kogi bank robbery (video)

Armed robbers on Thursday killed a Divisional Police Officer and seven other policemen when they invaded a community in Kogi State to attack an old generation bank.

The incident, which took place in Isanlu under Yagba East Local Government Area of the state has since sent panic across the region.

Media reports confirm that the armed robbers invaded the bank at about 4pm, shooting sporadically with stray bullets hitting several persons.

The robbers then proceeded to a police station in the town and killed the eight policemen.

An eyewitness revealed that the robbers forced their way into the banking hall using dynamite to destroy the security doors of the facility.

He added that an undisclosed amount of money was carted away by the bandits during the attack.

“They attacked the community police station and killed so many officers, even passersby were not spared,” the eyewitness said.

The incident has disrupted commercial and other activities in the town.

CORONAVIRUS: The real reason Chinese doctors visited Nigeria

The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has said that the 15 Chinese nationals, who came into Nigeria and had been the subject of national controversy, are not treating patients but attending to “assigned mission” in the country.

The CCECC in a statement on Twitter on Friday said the team were in the care of the construction firm and had always been.

The statement reads, “After a 14-day quarantine and necessary tests, the medical team has been carrying out its assigned mission.

“The medical personnel are in Nigeria at the instance of CCECC Nigeria and they have been at all times under the care and accommodation of CCECC.

“During their stay in Nigeria, they have complied with all known immigration and health protocols.

“It is important to reiterate that the mandate of the team, as mutually agreed with all stakeholders, does not cover treatment of COVID-19 cases. The team is therefore not treating any COVID-19 cases. In dealing with both the CCECC and the Nigerian health officials, the team is only playing an advisory role.

“They would continue to engage with CCECC management and staff will always be willing to engage with Nigerian health officials and other stakeholders whenever and wherever it is necessary to do so.”

Nigeria breaks my heart

Nigeria broke my heart with its response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

First, Nigeria’s level of preparedness for disaster/pandemic risk management is too low as compared to countries like China, where the virus originated around November 2019. To control spread of the virus and protect millions of lives, the Chinese government responsibly announced stay-at-home orders and strictly implemented lockdown guidelines together with disinfection of affected areas — mostly public places. These steps hastened the Asian country’s path to recovery from the deadly virus.

In the United States, budgetary allocations to the healthcare sector were increased; in addition, the government provided financial assistance for students, workers, elderly people, and the homeless; even prisoners were released from selected jails — depending on the charges against them — to reduce risks of exposure to the virus and save lives.

Nigeria 2

Image shows the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

The story was totally different in Nigeria. Billions of Naira received from charitable individuals and organizations were literally embezzled by public office holders. Office of the Accountant General caught fire and everyone knew it was the same old song in a country where mysterious snakes can swallow millions public funds valued at millions of Naira. What next? Our leaders claimed the relief funds were spent on “unidentified” poor masses, including prisoners and street beggars. But, in fact, how the “corofunds” were shared, with what formula or criteria, and who the beneficiaries are, remain a mystery to Nigerians. Wonders shall never cease!

The coronavirus pandemic increased poverty level in Nigeria.  Many low-income earners whose sources of livelihood were shut down to control spread of the virus have suffered unbearable hardship. Moreover, palliative measures which were widely announced in the media have been a source of controversy and anger among Nigerians (just like the Revenue Sharing Formula), increasing the level of mistrust towards political leaders. Nothing works in Nigeria; those in government circles apparently have their own agenda, which is totally unrelated to expectations from the masses. Our political elites believe poverty for the masses is well-deserved and there’s nothing even God can do about it. Little wonder most Nigerians rejoice at the demise of any “Aso Rock” politician — an attitude which many moralists, however, believe should be replaced with political consciousness and activism.

On this backdrop, the unprofessional handling of Late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari’s burial by officials of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) speaks volume of Nigeria’s aberrant attitude toward public safety. Disregard for public safety guidelines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows the level of lawlessness in the country, especially among the ruling elite. But I am most concerned that our democratically elected leaders have, by this act, shown that they are unfit for public service.

I weep for thousands of lives to be affected by the novel coronavirus due to our leaders’ incompetence and ignorance. Bit I won’t join the clamor for violent revolution. Nonetheless, to those who died natural death and were treated as COVID-19 victims, I wish your soul find eternal rest.

May good heavens vindicate us (every Nigerian committed to building a lasting legacy for posterity through selfless public service) from our gluttonous leaders whose protruding bellies will, someday, show us the real samples of COVID-19.

Join the campaign against #corruption, #poverty, #violence and #lawlessness which will soon become a norm — even for babies in the womb — if we choose to be observers rather than changers. #Nigeriawillrise #Changebeginswithme

The effects of AIDS/HIV in Africa

HIV and Aids in Africa

Africa is the region most affected by HIV and AIDS in the world. Approximately 22.4 million people, which is around two thirds of the global total of people living with HIV, can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.

The spread of AIDS/HIV in Africa, and the resulting death toll, varies between African countries. Somalia and Senegal are the least affected with only 1% of the adult population suffering from HIV. The percentage rises up to 15%– 20% of adults in Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Three southern African countries, namely Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland have an HIV prevalence rate exceeding 20%. In comparison,

We need LOVE to win against AIDS

HIV and AIDS seems to be less prevalent in West Africa. Some countries, however, are experiencing the rampant spread of HIV. In Nigeria, there are around 2.6 million people affected with HIV.

What mainly causes the prevalence of AIDS/HIV in Africa?

Primarily, there is not enough money to prevent the disease. Prevention methods mainly include education, condom use and testing and counseling. Unfortunately, these methods are rarely available in Africa. Due to a lack of HIV education, the people are unable to understand the implications of their lifestyles and are, thus, unable to change their behavior to stop the spread of the disease.

Consequently, the continuous rise in HIV and AIDS prevalence in Africa has had a dire effect on its society as a whole. First, there is an effect on life expectancy. Millions of people die from AIDS at a young age. Life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is now averaging at 47 years. Without AIDS, it could have risen to 62 years.

The AIDS epidemic also has a harsh effect on households. Many families lose their bread winners. Children with parents affected with AIDS end up as orphans, having no choice but to fend for themselves. Similarly, there has also been a dire effect on labor and productivity. This, in turn, negatively impacts economic activity and social progress. Most of the people living with HIV and AIDS are in their late teens to early fifties, which is usually the working class. Employers and institutions have to acquire new staff in order to replace those who have become too sick to work.

Finally, it is hard to ignore the effect on the health sector, because there are a greater number of health care workers affected due to the epidemic.

International support has been provided in order to help Africa in the fight against HIV and AIDS. A prime example is the Global Fund, which was initiated in 2001 and has since collected over US $7 billion to help fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in over 130 countries. Even though this funding has been positively effective in helping Africa, more money is still needed because of the huge scale of the epidemic in the country.

Providing a solution to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Africa is a long-term task that needs efforts not only from the country itself, but from the international community as well. Africa and its people can only continue to strive and hope for the best.

References:

https://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-africa.htm

https://aids.about.com/cs/aidsfactsheets/a/africa.htm

Lagos reopens with no social distancing among traders and beggars

Just as the ease of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) lockdown directive by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, became effective in Lagos State on Monday, Lagosians were seen trooping out to resume their daily activities.

Some of these Lagosians were seen violating the safety guidelines recommended and always promoted by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO),

Although some of these violators can be seen with their PPEs (notably face masks), there was no social distancing observed.

According to WHO, you can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.

Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19. Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies.

If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. Why? Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Nigeria records new 220 COVID-19 cases

Nigeria has recorded 220 new Coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 2388.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control disclosed this in a tweet on Saturday.

It said, “220 new cases of #COVID19; 62 in Lagos, 52 in FCT, 31 in Kaduna, 13 in Sokoto, 10 in Kebbi, 9 in Yobe, 6 in Borno, 5 in Edo, 5 in Bauchi, 4 in Gombe, 4 in Enugu, 4 in Oyo, 3 in Zamfara, 2 in Nasarawa, 2 in Osun, 2 in Ebonyi, 2 in Kwara, 2 in Kano and Plateau.

“2388 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria Discharged: 385, deaths: 85.”

The Role of Corporate Governance in the Performance of Nigeria’s Banking Sector

Abstract

This study investigated the ways and manners in which the affairs of banking sector in Nigeria are managed by those charged with the responsibility. It showed there is a relationship between corporate governance and the performance of banks in Nigeria. The population of the study consisted of all the 24 consolidated banks in Nigeria that met the requirement of ₦25 billion capital base as at today. A sample of five of them was considered adequate for generalization. One hundred and thirty questionnaires were administered on the management staff of those selected banks out of which 120 were returned and 10 were not properly filled. Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS) was used to analyse the data collected and interpretation of data was done through simple percentages. Pearson Product Moment Correlation was used to test the relationship that exists between efficient Corporate Governance in the banking sector and the roles of external auditor and the composition of the board of directors. The study revealed that, lack of proper corporate governance is the bane of so many banks in Nigeria. The collapse and failure of many banks was as a result of both poor audit control and directors’ negligence to observe due diligence and acceptable standard practices. However, banking sector has greatly contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria and consequently improved the economy. Therefore, transparency, honesty and objectivity have to be encapsulated in banking operations so as to have a positive effect on the continuity of the organization.

Key-words: Governance, performance, banking, survival

Introduction

There has been a recent revival of concern about the issue of corporate governance due to the challenges, responsibilities, failures and achievements of large corporations all over the world.

Multinationals, include public and private-owned corporations, exist like they are uncontrollable—even in foreign countries, and this makes it look as if corporate organizations have no ethical responsibility to benefit the society at large. Various corporations (such as Enron Corporation in the USA, Polly Peck in US, Maxwell Communication and Bank of Credit and Commerce Industry (BCCI), National Bank of Nigeria, Societe Generale Bank etc) have performed below expectations and eventually collapsed in recent years. The event at Enron and other cases of spectacular failure have helped to shed light on the importance and how strengthening of governance mechanisms could play to improve firm performance.

Bank failures in Nigeria dated back several decades and the consequence has been terrible until lately when the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stepped up vigilance and loan recovery (Sanusi, 2009). Orogun (2009) painted a very interesting picture of the principles governing banking as a developing tool. Quoting the former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Adeniji (2004) said ‘our banking system must be totally committed to the creation of favourable socio-economic environment for real productive investment and not for speculation’. Therefore, there seems to be a link between the mode of governance and the performance of corporations, which means that the way a corporation is directed, controlled and structured has some effects on the result the organization achieves in terms of its performance (Denis and McConnell 2003). Corporate governance in Nigerian organizations is not only an evolving concept, but is also tied in with the notion of corporations and their practices within the wider society.

Clark and Thomas (2000) defined corporate governance as a set of processes, customs, polices, laws and institutions affecting the way in which a corporation is directed, administered or controlled. Corporate governance also includes the relationship among the many players involved (the shareholders and stakeholders) and the goals for which the corporation is governed. The principal players are the shareholders, management, and the board of directors, the accountants and auditors. Other stakeholders include employees, suppliers, customers, lenders, regulators and the community at large. Kala, (2005) asserted that corporate governance could also be said to be the consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility in a separate legal entity that is different from its owners, invisible, artificial and existing only in the contemplation of the law. Parker (2002) considered corporate governance as the processes of activities involved in running an enterprise through the influence of the board of directors and top executive members of the enterprise. According to the researcher, there is a direct and clear causal link between the actions of the board of directors and the success of the organizations measured in terms of such factors as profitability, reputation and share price. He asserted that this link to business performance is rarely strong ranging from satisfactory to weak. Corporate governance therefore refers to the way by which the board of directors sets the framework of action.

Further, Parker (2002) noted that this involves the board of directors in eight key activities which include:

1) focusing on the core activities and being pragmatic

2) adding values and reducing cost

3) building a business culture that embraces change

4) moving with the market but not changing faster than the market

5) leading the market

6) integrating e-business activities, aligning and optimizing resources

7) managing risk and

8) Establishing and maintaining good corporate governance.

The above listed activities represent some of the issues involved in corporate governance and can be termed the ‘art of corporate governance’ which ensures organizational effectiveness, performance or success in a health and conflict free corporate environment.

Statement of the Problem

There seems to be some elements of doubt if the governance of corporate organizations is really effective considering the rate of bankruptcy and demise of large corporations all over the world, both in Nigeria and foreign countries (Inam 2006). In recent times, the world has witnessed the failure of large corporations; in particular, the Nigerian banking sector is currently experiencing insider abuses of reckless granting of credit facilities running into several billions of naira without adequate security. This is contrary to accepted practice which has been attributed to large scale fraud by directors in connivance with auditors. Also identified by (Mehra 2005) is the problem of window dressing (eye-service) by the directors who are aided by the auditors, as well as the issue of negligence and misfeasance on the part of the auditors when auditing the financial statement of organizations which can be attributed to the lack of independence of the auditors.

One will therefore wonder what was really wrong when a bank which has been declaring huge amount of profits and has been declaring dividends to shareholders is suddenly declared bankrupt (Mehra 2005). With this as the background, this study seeks to examine the nature of corporate governance in practice in the Nigerian banking system to see if those people charged with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the enterprise are religiously following the acceptable practices of corporate governance as stipulated by the regulatory authorities in Nigeria and that of other developed countries of the world.

Research Objectives

i) To assess the significance of Auditor’s independence and its role in corporate governance.

ii) To assess the relationship between corporate governance and the composition of the board of directors.

iii) To examine the organizational structure of the bank and its management.

Research Hypotheses

The following Hypotheses shall be empirically tested through the adoption of Product Moment Correlation;

Hypothesis 1: There is no significance relationship between auditor’s independence and the effective corporate governance.

Hypothesis 2: There is no significance relationship between corporate governance and the composition of the board of directors.

Presidential aides denied access to Aso Villa after attending Abba Kyari’s burial

Some top aides of President Muhammadu Buhari have been denied access into the Presidential Villa in Abuja after returning from the burial of late Chief of Staff to Buhari, Abba Kyari, on Saturday.

The burial at Gudu Cemetery was attended by a large crowd – most of whom had no nose mask or hand gloves on them for protection against Coronavirus.

This development violated the social distancing rule put in place by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and exposed attendees including the Presidential aides to the risk of contracting the highly contagious and deadly disease, which claimed the life of Kyari.

According to findings by SaharaReporters, some of the Presidency aides refused access into Aso Villa after returning from the burial include State House Chief Protocol Officer, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, Special Assistant to the President, Yusuf Sabiu, a nephew to the President, Musa Haro Daura, and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the, Garba Shehu.

Others are National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Mr Ahmad Rufai, and Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmed, among several more persons.

The burial ceremony was aired on several television stations across Nigeria and the large gathering, against government’s order, was seen by all violating the rule.

“Security personnel at the Villa turned back the aides of President Muhammadu Buhari after attending the burial ceremony of Mallam Kyari and coming in contact with several persons against the rule of the NCDC.

President Buhari is not happy that the aides decided to violate clear protocols and guidelines of the NCDC and he directed that they should keep off the Presidential Villa to undergo self-isolation,” a Presidency official told SaharaReporters on Saturday.

Kyari’s death was announced on Friday by the Presidency after weeks of battling with Coronavirus.

86 new coronavirus cases and 3 death recorded in Nigeria

Nigeria has recorded 86 new Coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 627, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

The number of deaths also increased from 19 to 21, just as the number of recoveries rose to 170.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control disclosed this in a tweet on Sunday.

The agency said, “Eighty-six new cases of #COVID19 have been reported; 70 in Lagos, seven in FCT, three in Katsina, three in Akwa Ibom, one in Jigawa, one in Bauchi and one in Borno.

“As at 11:50pm April 19, there are 627 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Discharged: 170, deaths: 21,” NCDC added.