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Gbajabiamila to Ghana: “Revisit $1M Business Law”

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…Seeks bilateral trade law between the two countries
…Advocates application of ECOWAS protocols
…At least for now, let Nigerian traders respect the law —Ghana Trade minister

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has made some far-reaching proposals that would bring an end to the attacks on Nigerian traders doing business in Ghana, asking his host to review the law on $1 million business capital.

Gbajabiamila, who spoke during a ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ bilateral meeting with Ghanaian lawmakers and some top government officials, as part of his on-going visit to Ghana to resolve the crisis, advocated an amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes.

But Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, said until the law was reviewed, Nigerian traders in his country must obey it as their Ghanaian counterparts.

The speaker called on Ghanaian authorities to revisit the component of the law that required a capital base of $1 million for businesses to start, saying as Africans, Ghana should encourage brotherliness.

He said: “First, amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes. In this context, we do believe that while it is the sovereign right of the government of Ghana to pass and implement the GIPC Act, we would implore you to explore alternative and less aggressive options of engaging, sanctioning and relating with our traders and business people who operate in your country, pay taxes and contribute to the development of both our nations.

‘Review N1m business capital’

“Second, we would encourage you to revisit the component of the law that requires a capital base of $1 million.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila leading his delegation in a meeting with their Ghanaian counterparts


‘’The prospect of our traders being able to raise a capital base of $1,000,000 before they can trade in goods that may be worth less than $1,000, clearly is a major challenge. Third, one of the things we are all proud about and the common surname that we all bear is ‘ECOWAS’.

‘’As you know, by virtue of being ECOWAS countries, our nations and our citizens should be able to live, work and thrive in any of our nations without any form of hindrance or discrimination. It is in this light we would encourage that we explore how the principles and the application of ECOWAS protocols – which we are both signatories to – may perhaps conflict with the application of the GIPC Act, especially vis-à-vis the recent adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, by African nations; and also the movement towards a single currency in the West African sub-region.

“Fourth, is the importance of strengthening legislative diplomacy and collaboration. Legislative diplomacy is a tool that has been used across the world – both in developing and developed nations – to negotiate, to arbitrate and to find peaceful resolution to disputes between nations.

‘Nigeria, Ghana are siblings’

“Fifth, like I said right from the beginning, Nigeria and Ghana are siblings from the same family. I, for one, would be willing to champion a law that helps to improve the bilateral trade relations and reciprocal legislation between our two countries and in this regard, we would like to explore the possibility of jointly passing what we could potentially call a Nigeria-Ghana Friendship Act – or something in that line, which will help to cement into law the good relations between our countries and also create a legal framework for further camaraderie that will enable us to ensure that, when it comes to Nigeria and Ghana, our laws will support efforts to improve relations, trade and positive and friendly interactions between our citizens, institutions and our governments.

Strengthening relations

“We do not have an exact title for such a law as at now, but agreeing on reciprocal legislation that cements the friendship between our nations; and ensures that it continues to thrive and benefit all our citizens – no matter where they live – would go a long way in strengthening our relations on all levels.’’

He said it was in a bid to improve the bilateral relationships among African countries that he had been championing the creation of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments, CoSAP, aimed at identifying, discussing and resolving issues and challenges that affect growth, stability and development within different regions and across the continent.

Breach of law

In his remarks, the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, said there were many Ghanaians and Nigerians going about their lawful duties without difficulties.

“The incidence that has occurred where some shops were locked up must have risen out of situations where there were clear abuses of the application of the laws.

“I was happy that the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives mentioned that if they are doing legitimate business, please allow them as brothers and sisters to continue to do so. I want to give you that assurance that that will be the case. Anybody engaged in business, trading, doing the rightful things, they must have no difficulties.

“Even in cases where we found that in some instances the laws were not being followed, I, in my capacity as the Minister of Trade, had ordered that they shut the office and those who are being seen as offending the law be given an opportunity to regularize their documentation.

“I say this, being the Minister of Trade and Industry, this is not something that is new, I have always, since the time I’ve been a minister, found a way of going along, so that those who needed to regularize their businesses would do so.

“As long as the laws remain on our statute books, I will like to request that you send a strong signal to our brothers and sisters, who are engaged in retail trading, that, at least for now, until further considerations are made on our statute books, they should just respect the law, because Ghanaian traders themselves are required to respect the laws of our country. ”

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Ford plans $30 billion electric vehicle investment by 2025

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By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) – Ford is doubling down on electric vehicle development, announcing Wednesday it will invest $30 billion in electrification efforts by 2025. The automaker also pledged that 40% of its vehicles sold by 2030 will be electric.
Ford had previously announced plans to spend $22 billion on electrification efforts and had recently revealed plans to build two new battery factories in a joint venture with Korean battery maker SK innovation. Last week, Ford also unveiled plans for an all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, the best selling vehicle from any US automaker. It has already started selling an electric SUV under its iconic Mustang name, the Mustang Mach-E.
But Ford is still playing catchup with all-electric vehicle maker Tesla and also with traditional automakers, such as its alliance partner Volkswagen and domestic rival General Motors. Both have more extensive EV offerings and more aggressive electrification targets. GM says it is aiming to sell only emission-free vehicles by 2035.
Virtually all automakers are ramping up production plans for electric vehicles to meet increasingly tougher environmental regulations and growing demand from car buyers. Electric cars have fewer moving parts than gas-powered vehicles, and therefore can be cheaper to build because they require less labor.
And investors are more interested in backing automakers with ambitious EV plans rather than traditional automakers. Tesla is by far the most valuable car company, despite having a fraction of the sales and profits of traditional automakers. Tesla’s market value is roughly equal to that of the value of the five largest global automakers combined. Shares of Ford rose 2% in premarket trading on its EV announcement.
TM & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc.
A WarnerMedia Company.
All Rights Reserved.

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Kpokpogri drags company, others before EFCC over alleged N16.5m fraud

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A company, BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD has been dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by one Comrade Prince Kpokpogri over an alleged contract scandal.

In the petition dated May18/2021, which was carried out by a law firm CEDARWALL and PARTNERS and signed by Ovie Justice Osefia Esq, the petitioner Kpokpogri alleged an act of financial fraud, cheating and breach of trust/failure to construct 10x7m infinity pool project after funds were given.

Kpokpogri specifically request the commission to investigate and bring to justice BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD, Michael Chidinma Ifejia, Mrs. Victoria Chinelo, Ifejia Folakemi Faphunda and others now at large for failing to carry out the construction of the said swimming pool project at Guzape Area in Abuja after collecting the sum of Sixteen Million Naira (N16,000,000.00) from him.

According to the petitioner, after the negotiations and written agreement which took place in Lagos on the 13th Day of August, 2020, the company agreed to execute and complete the project within six weeks (6 weeks) immediately after the mobilization fees is paid into the company account.

But after the total sum had been paid in tranches into BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD Keystone bank account number 1007320832, the company failed to carry out construction as agreed within the stipulated time.

The law firm further alleged in the petition that the company and its operators has become evasive and incommunicado, alleging that its conduct has portrayed suspicious acts of frauds, cheating and obtaining money under false pretense.

The petitioner has therefore urged the anti-graft agency to use its good office to promptly look into the complaints bordering on fraudulent dealings.

Kpokpogri also seek that justice be served in respect of the petition and to also protect the public from the activities of the company.

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CBN, First Bank on collision course over removal of MD/CEO

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Sources in First Bank accuse CBN of meddling in its internal affairs.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued the Board of First Bank Ltd, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks a query for the removal of its CEO.

On Wednesday the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited revealed it had appointed Gbenga Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was disclosed in a statement made by the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.

However, in an apparent leak, a letter from the central bank to First Bank revealed a query from the former to the latter expressing concern that the appointment of Shobo was done without the approval of the apex bank.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan, and appointed a successor to replace him. The CBN notes with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank Ltd.”

The CBN also claimed that the tenure of Mr. Adedutan was yet to expire (bank MD’s have a maximum 10 years) and that they were also not aware of any misconduct of the former MD and as such there was no justification for his removal.

“Given that the tenure of Dr. Adeduntan is yet to expire and the CBN was not made aware of any report from the Board indicting the Managing Director of any wrong-doing or misconduct, there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.”

However, sources within the bank informed Nairametrics that First Bank has a maximum of 6 years tenure for its MDs in line with its succession plans. They also claimed the CBN is meddling in its internal affairs as the removal of the MD is in line with its succession plans and also does not exceed CBNs maximum of 10 years.

“First Bank followed its corporate governance framework in its change of leadership and appointment of new executive directors. No Managing Director in the 127 years history of FirstBank has ever attempted a tenure extension. Why now?”

Another source who did not want to be mentioned as they were not authorized to do so lamented that “Adeduntan’s term formally ends in June this year after 2 terms of 3 years each. Leaving early is in line with the bank’s succession planning. When he was appointed 6 years ago and a DMD role was created, the erstwhile FirstBank Managing Director knew the DMD would succeed him and this is what has happened. This is corporate governance at its best.”

However, the apex bank in the leaked letter also suggested that it had provided First Bank with “regulatory forbearance” which can be interpreted as a bailout subliminally indicating that it has a say in the operations of the bank.

“We are particularly concerned because the action is coming at a time the CBN has provided various regulatory forbearances and liquidity support to reposition the bank which has enhanced its asset quality, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios amongst other prudential indicators. It is also curious to observe that the sudden removal of the MD/CEO was done about eight months to the expiry of his second tenure which is due on December 31, 2021. The removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank that has been under regulatory forbearance for 5 to 6 years without prior consultation and justifiable basis has dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.”

Sources within the bank also allude without proof that the involvement of the central bank in this matter may also be due to First Bank’s support of Flutterwave which may have angered CBN.

“Is this payback for FirstBank for supporting and enabling Flutterwave and other tech companies? FirstBank MD-Designate, Gbenga Shobo created a revolution by partnering with Flutterwave and other tech companies. Is this payback? The CBN Governor must be called to order. This is not a banana economy. We need to preserve the FirstBank heritage with its seamless succession planning.”

It is unclear how this matter will end but stemming from experience, we will not be surprised if this matter ends in court in a few days. The Central Bank has often controversially delved into board-related issues such as appointments and even firing of all or some Board members for what it perceives as severe infractions.

And as expected, it ended its query to the bank with a threat to the board if the decision to remove Adeduntan is not reversed.

“In light of the foregoing, you are required to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against the Board for hastily removing the MD/CEO and failing to give prior notice to the CBN before announcing the management change in the media.”

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