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3,000 Beneficiaries Receive AB Microfinance Credit Facilities



As part of effort to empower lives, AB Microfinance Bank has extended several credit facilities to 3,00 beneficiaries in Lagos, Nigeria.

Mrs. Corinna Hever, Head, Banking Services of the firm who disclosed this to journalists at the one year anniversary of the bank in Ikeja recently said, through the credit facilities a lot of Nigerians have been empowered.

This, she stated has created employers of casour, thereby eradicating poverty as a result of job creation.

She said that, the beneficiaries are artisans, market men and women, small scale business owners, among others who have shown that they are worthy to be credited individuals.

She said, that the beneficiaries accessed credit facilities ranging from N5,000 naira to N1 million to either start a new business or sustain the existing ones.

On repayment rate, she noted that some customers are now paying hack, while new ones are being granted credit facilities. The bank officer hinted that within the one year of operation of the firm, it has a deposit base of 2,500 and 3,000 loan beneficiaries. To her, no collateral is required to apply for loans, while loan seeker needs not to open an account before accessing loan facilities. Hener said that business plan of an individual, as well as guarantors are the only collaterals required  from the would-be beneficiary.

She added that customers can access financial or social assistance from three branches of the firm in Lagos State.

Advising the active poor to always use the loans for the purpose it’s meant for, adding  that this is the only way their lives could change fir better.

Speaking earlier, Mr. Micheal Barleon, managing director said his bank will continue to offer finance services to micro, small and medium – sized enterprise (MSMEs) in the lower income strata of the country.

He stated that, there is need for the poor to survive, the bank would be ready to offer them uncollateralised credit facilities.

He said the bank believes in the development of the micro businesses, in order to reduce the poverty rate, while in the same vein, creates employment opportunities that will fast frack economic growth and development.

The bank boss stressed that his firm has different credit products that will take care of the financially hand- capped but active poor, adding that, Nigerians have a lot to benefit from the service of the bank.

According to him, “we choose Nigeria as a destination because the country is a good place to do business especially Lagos, considering the kind of business opportunities therein.”

Reacting further, he believes microfinance is a tool that could help the low income people and society grow in leaps and bounds.

Though there is competition in the microfinance industry, he emphasised that AB MFB has good credit products that will take care of the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

While comparing Nigeria with other countries where the bank has branch, he indicated that there is a huge demand for microfinance service here more than in other countries because of the huge population.

This, he noted informed the decision of the bank to give out loans and qualitative products that meet the demands of the market. Our plan is to reach out to the lower income groups that really need our service, he said, stressing that the microfinance clients, must have the capacity to repay before granting them loans.

Barleon disclosed that the capital base of the bank is around 500 million euro, promising that the firm would continue to grow at the rate of 100 per cent per year.

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Fuel Subsidy Era Over – Tinubu 



Newly sworn-in President, Bola  Ahmed Tinubu, has declared that the era of subsidy payment on fuel in Nigeria has ended.
This, he disclosed, is because the 2023 Budget made no provision for fuel subsidy and more so, subsidy payment is no longer justifiable.
“The fuel subsidy is gone”, Tinubu declared in his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square on Monday after he was sworn in as Nigeria’s 16th President.
Tinubu said his government shall instead channel funds into infrastructure and other areas to strengthen the economy, adding that a “unified exchange rate” is guaranteed under his administration.
He promised to remodel the economy to bring about growth and develop the Gross Domestic Product through job creation, saying that “the interest is currently too high and will be reviewed”.
The new President also assured investors that multiple taxation will be reviewed to attract investments, even as he promised one million jobs in the digital economy.
Tinubu, who also vowed to rid Nigeria of terrorism and criminality, said, “Security shall be top of our administration”, adding that he will “reform security architecture, invest more in security personnel, better training and provide better equipment for security personnel”.
The President said he “will end extreme poverty, make food more abundant, ensure inclusion for women and youths, and discourage corruption”.

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Customs Holds Training For Maritime Journalists



The Nigeria Customs Service in conjunction with National Inland Waterways recently organised a two- day training workshop for members of the Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) at the famous Administrative staff college of Nigeria (ASCON), Badagry, Lagos.
Comptroller General of customs, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd) in his key note address said from inception, one of the major cardinal programmes of the service has been effective and efficient mobilisation and sensitisation of members of the public in understanding the important statutory obligations vested on the service.
In order to achieve these objectives, he said, “it became imperative that we partner with our friends from the media to embark on educative and  enlightenment programs.
“Having gone this far on our own, we are here today, under the able hands of the ‘owners of the profession’, to enrich, update and sharpen their skills in this direction for greater achievement of our collective objective”.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Mr. Paul Ogbuokiri, emphasized the importance of the training programme, urging participants to avail themselves of the opportunity, which will translate into improved performance in their reportage.
On his part, the Managing Director, National Inland waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, spoke on its new autonomy status and how it affects its national mandate.
Moghalu, who was represented by the Manager, Legal Services, Barr. Nasiru Biyankari, affirmed that NIWA offers a very critical role in the nation’s maritime industry through the execution of development in inland waterways of Nigeria and its regulations nationwide.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Port Standing Task Force Team (PSTT), Mr. Moses Fadipe, tasked AMJON members on accurate and objective reportage on PSTT’s operations to ensure that the public is well informed about the efforts of the team in tackling corruption at the ports.

“AMJON members are expected to adhere to ethical journalism standards and avoid sensationalism or biased  reporting ,clear and informed reportage by Amjon members can contribute to building public trust in the PSTT and its efforts to improve transparency and efficiency in Port operations”.

The retreat had various renowned academicians as resource persons.

At the end of the two days training, with the theme, “Enhancing capacity/Efficiency in Modern News Reportage”, the participants were equipped with the knowledge and skills to perform their responsibilities as core maritime media practitioners.

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Maritime: Stakeholders Set Agenda For Tinubu, Transport Minister



Stakeholders in the maritime sector have started coming up with measures for the newly sworn-in Federal Government under the leadership of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to revamp the maritime sector of the country.
The stakeholders are unanimous in saying that Nigeria as a maritime nation requires the services of a core professional, who will be courageous enough to implement some programmes that will practically empower indigenous operators in the shipping industry, while encouraging the entrance of new investors.
They said such measures include growing indeginious capacity through the full implementation of cabotage law, facilitating tonnage volume, and positioning of the maritime sector as a major contributor to federal revenue and national development.
According to the stakeholders, it is unfortunate that the maritime sector for years under different leadership derailed from its primary objectives, which is “to promote the development of indeginious commercial shipping in international and coastal trade”.
In his opinion, a maritime analyst and member of the Joint Ministerial Committee on International Maritime Organization (IMO)/Maritime Organization of West & Central Africa (MOWCA), Mallam Ismail Aniemu, said “there is the urgent need to unite the country because people have been more divided along ethnic, religious and lingual lines. This lack of unity fuels insecurity.
“Many parts of the country are unsafe, thereby creating the impression of ungoverned spaces. It’s time to improve on the security situation by not treating perpetrators of killings and other unlawful behavior as sacred cows. The laws of the land should be made to reign supreme on everybody”.
According to him, “Nigeria is overdue for a deliberate and sustained action towards economic diversification to achieve balance of trade, manufacture more for export, and creating job opportunities instead of distributing cash as handouts to the poor and vulnerable”.
On his part, the former President, National Association of Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nwike, said, “I will advise the President and the incoming  Minister of  Transportation to appreciate and embrace the global doctrine, which defined ‘Trade’ as ‘an instrument of global peace’, hence, the need to evolve and support a holistic policy aimed at promoting trade facilitation”.
Nwike said the President must deliberately adopt the relevant tools required for its actualisation, while giving priority to removal of all forms of “Red Tapes and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), including the undue prohibition of trade and closure of the border entry points.
“To this end, the immediate reversal of policy of categorised and uploaded certain regular trade items as non-beneficial to conventional foreign exchange assessment from the commercial banks excerpt for the parallel market (black markets).
“Secondly, undertake a drastic action against the  foreign exchange market administration”.
Thirdly, siad, there’s the need “to give the maritime industry a priority, especially with the consideration to massive job creation, for which the industry has the capacity to remove our teeming youths off the unemployment market.

“And, for the incoming Transportation mitnister to pursue purposeful stakeholders engagements and embrace engagement by merits”.

A Maritime journalist, Odjegba Eguono, said the President “should appoint someone with productive and leadership capacity.

“Someone who should be an industry technocrat, and, if not, a fast learner with passion to grow the maritime and transport sector like the immediate past Minister, Jaji  Sambo.

“The President and his Transportation Minister should prioritize urgent repairs and expansion of ports access roads, review terminal operators licenses, and decongest lagos ports”.

He stated that the new government should scrap the CRFFN, saying that the agency has proved unproductive and meaningless, being used as a drainpipe, contributing nothing to the system .

“The Minister should also scrap the NSDP by NIMADA and invest in MAN and NITT with the required wherewithal to carry out manpower development training.

“Finally, the incoming government should probe the NIMASA floating Dockyard and either dispose of it, or deploy it under an executive order”, Eguono said.

Stories By Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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