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Two Micro-Finance Banks Get Int’l Certification

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Operations of micro finance banks in Nigeria have received a boost as two micro-finance institutions, Grooming Centre and Fortis Micro-finance bank have been given  the Smart Certification for Client Protection.
The Tide source reports that the Smart Certification provided an independent, objective seal of confidence that a financial institution is doing everything it could to treat its clients well and protect them from harm.
The Smart Campaign began in 2008 when a group of micro-finance industry leaders came together to launch a campaign that established the Client Protection Principles.
To put the principles into action, the Smart campaign was launched in October 2009.
In her welcome address,  Vice President, Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI) and Director of the Smart Campaign Ms Isabelle Barres, noted that low financial literacy levels was one of the biggest client protection issues in Nigeria.
Barres said that the campaign focused on the micro-finance industry and how to assist them to achieve global best practices in their operations.
According to her, the third phase of the campaign spans through 2017-2020 with a focus on Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.
She explained that each convening of the campaign was aimed at bringing key stakeholders together to address consumer risks.
She also added that the knowledge of client protection and challenges were important in boosting the efficiency of the operations of micro-finance.
While receiving the award, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Grooming Centre Dr Godwin Nwabunka, said that his experience working at the UN helped him and his team in achieving the Smart Certification.
Nwabunka noted that client protection had been the goal for Grooming Centre, adding that certification came naturally.
He said that the certification conferred greater trust and would help them attract  foreign investors.
According to him, the virtue of respecting the rights of the individual, which he cultivated in is over 18 years experience working with the UN, helped him in the protection of the rights of the rural women his institution work with.
CEO, Fortis Micro Finance Bank, Tiko Okoye, said the Smart Certification would  among others, boost the bank’s  brand.
According to him, being the first set in Nigeria, second in Africa and the 16th in the world to receive the certification will only make them to be more effective in dealing with their customers.
While presenting the awards to the duo,  Director, Consumer Protection Department of the CBN, Mrs Umma Aminu Dutse, urged them to continue to strive to protect the interest of their clients.
The Tide source reports that the Smart Certification inspires institutions to improve their businesses.
It also helps investors, donors and regulators distinguish financial institutions that put their customers first.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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