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US Journal Announces Dangote as World’s 11th Greatest Leader

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has been ranked 11th in the club of World’s 50 Greatest Leaders for this year.

The rating was announced by Fortune, a multinational business magazine based in New York City, United States. It focuses mainly on privately-run businesses and how their promoters have used them to impact their society positively.

The magazine, which had its maiden edition published in February 1930, said the world’s greatest leaders (both men and women) are transforming the world and inspiring others to do so in business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

It said: “These thinkers, speakers and doers make bold choices and take big risks – and move others to do the same.”

It was learnt that Fortune magazine was recognising and including Aliko Dangote in the annual ranking for the first time. Specifically, Dangote having popped up in the magazine’s radar earned nomination after being adjudged as having used business to acquire wealth and converting the wealth into impactful philanthropy through his Aliko Dangote Foundation.

The top 10 greatest men and women, according to Fortune are: Bill and Melinda Gates; Jacinda Ardem (Prime Minister, New Zealand); Robert Mueller (Special Counsel, Department of Justice); Pony Ma (Founder and CEO, Tencent); Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft); Greta Thunberg (Student and climate activist, Sweden); Margrethe Vestager (Commissioner for Competition, European Union); Anna Nimiriano (Editor-in-Chief, Juba Monitor); Jose Andres (Chef/Founder, World Central Kitchen); and Dough Mcmillon and Lisa Woods (CEO; Senior Director, Strategy & Design for U.S. Benefits, Walmart).

Dangote’s rating as one of the greatest business leaders has attracted comments by eminent persons around the world, who described him as worthy of the nomination going by his business acumen and philanthropic gestures.

Global business giant and founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gate, extolled the efforts of Dangote in making businesses play roles in provision of sound public health through his various interventions in health care issues, especially in the fight against malnutrition and routine polio.

Gates, who tops the list of World’s Greatest Leaders, said: “Aliko Dangote, through his leadership at the Aliko Dangote Foundation, is a key partner in the Polio eradication effort, strengthening routine immunisation and fighting malnutrition in Nigeria and across Africa. Aliko bridges the gap between private business and public health in a unique way and our shared belief that Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive drives our partnership.”

Renowned activist and co-founder of ONE, Paul David Hewson (popularly called Mr. Bono), said he was not surprised at Dangote’s feat globally, describing his vision “as big as the African continent”.

Bono, a global campaigner on taking action to end extreme poverty, especially in Africa said: “Aliko has a vision just the size of his continent, but with humility of somebody who has just started his first job. It’s no surprise to me that Fortune would recognise his leadership because we have seen first-hand, through his service on ONE’s Board, the benefits of his wise counsel and grace.”

Also, economic analyst Bismark Rewane, stated: “Aliko remains understated but very potent and Africa’s most successful and decorated entrepreneur. He is a global financial and managerial behemoth.”

Dangote as Africa’s richest, with a networth of $16.4 billion according to Bloomberg, and four publicly traded companies under the umbrella of his Dangote Industries now account for about a third of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange.

That wealth is based on a big bet on Nigeria’s economic independence: Dangote’s peers give him credit for helping the country become self-sufficient in the sectors in which his companies compete (cement, agriculture and mining)

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the Philanthropic endeavor of the business mogul. The main objective of the Foundation is to reduce the number of lives lost to malnutrition and disease. The Foundation is poised to combat Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children, as the core of its programming. It has also resolved to use its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of poverty.

Dangote was last year ranked among 75 most powerful persons on the planet. He was rated ahead of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

He has been named among most powerful persons in the world for the past five consecutive years.  According to the Forbe’s 2018 ranking of the World Powerful people, Dangote ranked among world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump – all of whom were ranked first, second and third respectively.

He was the only Nigerian on the list and one of the only two Africans who made the list with the other being the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was ranked 45th most powerful.

He was named among the 100 most influential personalities in the world in 2018 byTime Magazine, a leading business broadcast organisation. The CNBC had earlier in same year ranked Dangote as one of the 25 people that have had most profound impact on business and finance worldwide.

He was rated the most influential African by Jeune Afrique in their classification of the most influential 50 Africans in 2018, and was also named the 6th most charitable person in the world in the same year according to Richtopia, a United Kingdom-based digital platform. He is, in addition, the richest African, according to Forbes.

Dangote stepped up his humanitarian activities recently spending billions of to build hospitals and critical hospital equipment, the lack of which has promoted medical tourism among the few privileged.

He recently donated a N1.2 billion Business School complex to the Bayero University in Kano and another one for the University of Ibadan Business School. Last month, he donated 10 blocks of hall of students’ hostel with capacity for 2,160 beds to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State

Dangote has, through the Foundation been disbursing N10 billion to vulnerable women across the 774 local governments in the country.

Dangote made a donation of $2 million to the World Food Programme as part of efforts to help Pakistani nationals devastated by floods in the year 2010.

He was made the chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief, which raised in excess of N11.35 billion, of which Dangote himself contributed N2.5 billion, an amount higher than the entire contribution from the 36 state governors in Nigeria.

The Foundation has spent over N7 billion in the troubled Northeast for the reintegration of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

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Seplat Denies ExxonMobil Deal Cancellation

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Seplat Energy, on Thursday, said it had not received any official notification from the Federal Government reversing its proposed acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.

The company also said it was seeking clarification from relevant authorities regarding the claims that President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as Minister of Petroleum Resources, had withdrawn his ministerial approval for the deal.

“Seplat Energy has become aware of a news report claiming that ministerial approval of the company’s proposed acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited has been withdrawn,” the oil firm stated in a statement issued by its Chief Financial Officer, Emeka Onwuka.

It added, “Seplat Energy has received no official notification of such a decision and is seeking clarification from the relevant authorities.”

Buhari had, on Wednesday, reversed his authorisation of the acquisition of the entire share capital of MPNU by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

The move puts the Presidency on the side of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited which had earlier declined the $1.3bn transaction.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had announced on Monday that Buhari consented to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares by Seplat Energy.

According to the Presidency, Buhari authorised the move in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources as a way to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the country.

This was, however, contested by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, as the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, said the regulator would not and did not endorse the transaction.

Reacting to the development on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated that Buhari had reversed the decision and that the misunderstanding was because the “agencies involved in (the) decision had not coordinated well among themselves.”

Responding to claims on the reversal of ministerial approval, Seplat stated on Thursday that it had not received any official notification on the decision.

The oil firm, however, noted that it “will continue to work with all parties to achieve a successful outcome to the proposed acquisition and will provide an update in due course.”

It said the “announcement is made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange, 2015 (Issuer’s Rule).”

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Wema Bank: Why We Are Delivering Value and Growing Our Numbers – Adebise

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The Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise, has explained the facts behind the bank’s growing numbers during the half year ended June 30, 2022.

Wema Bank recently released its second quarter unaudited financial result for the period ended June 30, 2022, showing a 50 percent increase in its Gross Earnings from N39.82 billion recorded in 2021 to N59.59 billion H1 2022. The bank also grew its deposit by 43 percent from N968.17 billion reported in FY 2021 to N1.09 trillion in H1 2022.

Similarly, Wema Bank recorded a 43 percent increase in Profit before tax (PBT) from N4.30 billion over the same period last year to N6.13 billion for the period under review.

Speaking at the analyst’s conference and Investors’ call, Mr Adebise said: “Our digital channels remain a priority in meeting customer needs and closing the financial inclusion gap.

‘With a transaction value of N131.5 billion, USSD recorded over 58.6 million in transaction count (+55%), reaffirming our focus to grow channel usage.

“Mobile banking users completed over 42.8 million transactions within the review period, further driving the financial inclusion initiative.

“With over 50% growth in agent acquisition, our agency banking base increased to 140k accounts, at the end of the six months review period (H1 2021: >102k). This helps to further enhance performance across our financial inclusion initiatives. The value of agency funds transfer closed at N7.59bn in H1 2022, a 34% y-o-y growth. The stellar growth in agency transfer volume by 550k% was driven by signing-on of new partners”, he said.

According to the Wema Bank MD, the bank’s agency banking solutions will continue to provide support to customers mostly in the rural areas and hard-to-reach regions of the country.

“So far, we have over 21,000 agents attending to the financial service needs of these customers,” Mr Adebise added.

The bank’s Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Tunde Mabawonku, said the results point to the resilience and growth trajectory of the bank during the review period.

According to him, the bank has achieved efficiency in its balance sheet by managing growing deposits and rising interest rate. He also disclosed the bank has achieved an efficient mix of its deposit portfolio by bringing down the cost of funds.

Mabawonku hinted the bank’s N40 billion rights issue would open and be concluded during the year, a development he said would deliver more value to shareholders.

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Nigeria Makes List of Four Top World Bank Debtors

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Rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.

This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

India, which is still the first on the list reduced its IDA debt stock from $22bn in the previous fiscal year to $19.7bn, followed by Bangladesh from $18.1bn to $18bn.

It is followed by Pakistan which cut its debt from $16.4bn to $15.8bn, and lastly, Vietnam, which went down the list to fifth position, from $14.1bn to $12.9bn.

Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia. The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.

The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.

The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.

Economists have also raised concerns over the rising debt profile of the Federal Government.

The Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader of PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, expressed his agreement with the World Bank on the high cost of debt servicing.

He said, “I agree with the World Bank. Although the debt to GDP ratio is not too high, if you think about the debt service cost to revenue ratio, it is already over 70 per cent. That’s when you know it’s costly.

“Nigeria borrows at double-digit, and even when we borrow in dollars, the rates are very high and then you devalue the naira and the cost of servicing the debt in naira goes up because it is dollar-dominated debt.

“Put all of that together, and you can easily say to yourself that even though our debt to GDP ratio is very low, our cost of borrowing is unsustainable because it is very high, and therefore, make it very costly.”

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, also criticised the increasing borrowing tendency of the government, urging the officials to re-consider other ways of generating revenue for the country.

According to Moghalu, it was also not reasonable to borrow for infrastructural development as the government could expand the public-private partnership options for such development.

In a document by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, recently obtained by our correspondent, the DMO stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.

According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”

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