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Economy

Court Discharges, Acquits Suspended SEC Boss of Fraud

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Court Discharges, Acquits Suspended SEC Boss of Fraud

By Dipo Olowookere

The suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has been discharged and acquitted of corruption charges filed against him at the High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf in his ruling on Tuesday held that the prosecution team could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the embattled SEC chief and one other accused person, Mr Zakwanu Garba, an Executive Commissioner of the capital market regulatory body, committed the offence levelled against them.

Mr Gwarzo was accused of using his office to approve the payment of severance package worth N105 million for himself while still in service.

He was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) along with Mr Garba on a five-count charge.

At the ruling today, the judge said, “Exhibit 19, which is a memo from the governing board of SEC, has clearly demonstrated that the decisions of the board of SEC as the highest decision and policy-making body of commission is legal.

“As a result of this, the first defendant is acquitted on the first charge.”

The judge also absolved Mr Gwarzo of the allegations that he used his official position to corruptly enrich himself by using the monies paid to him as car grant as the DG of SEC, saying, “The burden of proof was on the prosecution but through its own exhibit, which includes a board resolution which approved the car benefit for an executive director who had spent more than two years in office, the charge against Mr Gwarzo has not been established” and thereafter acquitted him of the charge.

Mr Gwarzo was suspended from office in November 2017 by the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, after setting up an investigative panel to look into the allegations against him.

It was then speculated that the embattled SEC chief got into trouble because he insisted on conducting a forensic audit on one of the biggest indigenous oil firms in the country, Oando Plc, headed by Mr Adewale Tinubu, to save the integrity of the capital market regulator.

Oando was accused of gross financial misconducts by two petitioners and SEC suspended trading of shares of the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). However, the suspension has since been lifted.

Though Mr Gwarzo protested that Mrs Adeosun had no right to suspend him from office, an acting DG was named for the commission in the person of Ms Mary Uduk, who is still occupying the position at the moment.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Climate Disclosure Guidelines for Nigerian Stock Market Underway

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Climate Disclosure Guidelines

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange Regulation (NGX RegCo) is working closely with its sister organisation, the NGX Limited, to design a dedicated set of Climate Disclosure Guidelines that will address climate change-related issues and serve as a complementary set of procedures to the NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines.

The chief executive of NGX RegCo, Ms Tinuade Awe, dropped this hint recently at the 16th Annual International Business Law Conference hosted by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in Abuja.

At the event themed Recent Developments in the Business Law Environment, she said the rules, which will be developed in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, are currently in their formative stage, adding that the zero drafts would be published in a few months and public consultations for feedback to follow afterwards.

The capital market expert, who was speaking on ESG and the Nigerian Business Environment during a panel discussion, used the occasion to appeal to the public and private stakeholders to urgently prioritise the implementation of key national and global Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related regulations.

According to her, prioritising the implementation of key national and global ESG-related regulations will improve Nigeria’s ESG performance and reputation on the global stage and guarantee its contribution to the global development agenda such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

“The rapidly evolving global ESG landscape requires a deliberate partnership between all Nigerian public and private sector stakeholders who must embrace their responsibility to help create a sustainable future by being transparent in their approach to addressing ESG-related risks and opportunities, and their contribution towards sustainable development,” she added.

Ms Awe charged the Nigerian government to adopt initiatives that accelerate progress toward mandatory reporting on key ESG-related issues as well as climate-related reporting.

“These initiatives would ensure private and public sector companies become cognizant of global trends on climate-related reporting in line with leading guidance frameworks such as the TCFD recommendations as well as the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) which has recently developed a comprehensive set of guidelines on general sustainability and climate-related disclosures to improve the availability of standardized, decision-useful non-financial data for the investment decision-making process,” she stated.

Concerning NGX RegCo’s contribution to the development and implementation of ESG regulation in Nigeria, she cited the 2019 NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines which provide issuers with a step-by-step approach to integrating sustainability in their organisational activities and operations.

“These guidelines also provide guidance on best practice sustainability reporting that comply with global standards including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),” Ms Awe said, noting that “NGX RegCo also played a leading role in developing the regulation for the development of Nigeria’s green bond market and other sustainable financial products that address environmental and social challenges affecting Nigeria along with the Federal Ministry of Environment, NGX Limited and other industry stakeholders.

“This was done in recognition of the climate finance needs particularly in Nigeria, and the urgent action required to combat climate change as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the efforts culminated in the issuance of the maiden N10.69 billion ($25.8 million) 13.48% 5-year green bond in 2017.”

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Economy

How to Keep Your Business Running After Working Hours

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after working hours

By Otori Emmanuel

Most offices operate their days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, which only lasts during the daytime and because the cost of running a shift by servicing the office at night with an equal number of staff, if need be, might be cost-intensive, most organizations suffice to the normal routine of running an office by the daytime.

The concern is that our customers don’t sleep, when they want a solution, it can be urgent and important and the earlier they speak to someone, the more relief they get that their solution is on the way and that they can beat the deadline.

Knowing that most offices are closed after 5:00 pm and on weekends makes customers want to explore other options of reaching out to the service providers. With a business whose focus is centred on customer satisfaction and an amazing experience, there are options to keep your office running after working hours.

  1. Take advantage of social media pages

To run a business effectively, our online presence helps the most and involves our presence on social media channels by creating pages.

Facebook pages, for example, can be automated to reply to messages the moment a user sends an enquiry. It is made to generate a predetermined customized message. Facebook also lets the person know the possible time range within which to expect feedback and this is made possible based on the time it took the business to reply to a message, which provides a summary of the possible time of reply to the customer. This keeps the expectation of the customer that they would be replied and when the reply eventually comes, it proves the assertion that they are dealing with an organization that is customer-centric regardless of whether they are at work or not. In fact, the message can be crafted in such a way to contain a number that can be used for emergency contact.

Typically replies in a few minutes

————————————————————-

Hi, Thanks for messaging us.

We’ll get back to you soon first name, last name (of the sender)

  1. Auto-responder

An auto-responder is a system that organizations use to respond to a user that sends a message via email whether they are out of the office, on leave, on a special assignment or outside the country of operation, with a message informing the person of the possibility of when they are likely to read and reply their message or an option of reaching another individual in the organization that could help process their enquiry. The line below is an example of the use of an automated message using an auto-responder

Thank you for your message.

I will be out of the office until Monday, August 20, 2022.

If this is an emergency, please contact first name, last name on

xyz@xyz.com, otherwise, I will reply you on my return.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

First name, last name

  1. A 24-hour office phone

I once read in an online forum where a customer needed a product for use first thing on a Monday morning and tried to establish contact with the supplier that they researched online, they found the office lines and called and it kept ringing without anyone picking at them the other end. They kept on researching and found another supplier who they called and got an immediate response and delivery of the raw materials to start the production at the agreed time. What is the point of having an office phone that lies in the office without anyone to engage callers? I think today’s definition of an office defies the limitation to place and gives us a meaning that refers to the person and processes which can be operated from any place and at whatever time of the day. I am of the opinion that every phone that an office use should be a mobile phone with a person that handles it and returns enquiries at any time of the day, even if it means the company would provide the handler with the opportunity of benefiting from the usage of the phone from the provision of airtime and data services, it is worth all the effort to keep the business running all day. Although the telephone etiquette still applies.

  1. Online Support Services

With the goal of maximizing the online platforms of an organization, all platforms must be considered. Websites should be integrated with an online support system that can be installed on a PC (Personal Computer) and on a mobile phone, which can be accessed with internet services at any time of the day.

These chat boxes are also automated to reply to messages and the user gets a notification when there is an enquiry to be answered.

  1. Integration of Chatbots

Chatbots function with the integration of artificial intelligence to answer questions based on the similarity, pattern or keywords consistently used by customers. This integration works as a temporary alternative to provide basic information before a human eventually connects with the customer when the chatbot has exhausted its ability with no respite to the demands of the customer. A full technologically integrated team is needed to execute this across platforms.

A sustainable business is built around the speed of attending to customers’ needs within a reasonable timeframe, the communication that helps to flatten the gap, concise information needed to make an offer and meeting with the expected date or time of delivery of the customer. When all these are in cohesion, a business can definitely become a household name.

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Economy

Market Rebounds by 1.47% on Buying Interest in Dangote Cement, Others

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Buying Interest in stocks

By Dipo Olowookere

Buying interest in Dangote Cement and 19 others suppressed the losses reported by Lafarge Africa and nine others on Wednesday, leaving the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited closing higher by 1.47 per cent at the close of business.

The demand for equities rose yesterday, leading to an increase in the volume of trades by 98.58 per cent to 279.2 million shares from 140.6 million shares as the value of transactions increased by 30.14 per cent to N2.1 billion from N1.6 billion, while the number of deals carried out depreciated by 8.19 per cent to 3,576 deals from the previous day’s 3,895 deals.

Jaiz Bank was the most traded stock during the session, selling 115.1 million units valued at N100.1 million and was followed by 40.0 million units worth N431.5 million. UBA exchanged 14.7 million shares for N104.3 million, AIICO Insurance sold 13.9 million equities worth N7.7 million, while Japaul transacted 13.3 million stocks for N4.9 million.

Dangote Cement ended the session as the best-performing stock as it gained 9.96 per cent to trade at N265.00, followed by NEM Insurance, which grew by 9.89 per cent to trade at N4.11. Ellah Lakes appreciated by 9.41 per cent to N4.30, Japaul improved by 8.82 per cent to 37 Kobo, while May and Baker increased by 8.68 per cent to N3.88.

Conversely, Lafarge Africa finished the trading day as the worst-performing equity after its value went down by 8.84 per cent to N23.20. NAHCO lost 8.62 per cent to sell at N5.30, Honeywell Flour depreciated by 6.41 per cent to N2.63, UAC Nigeria declined by 5.36 per cent to N10.60, while AIICO Insurance fell by 5.26 per cent to 54 Kobo.

At the close of business, the industrial goods sector appreciated by 4.35 per cent, the insurance counter grew by 1.91 per cent, the banking index rose by 0.42 per cent, the consumer goods space went up by 0.33 per cent, while the energy sector chalked up 0.06 per cent.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) climbed higher by 724.76 points to 50,075.47 points from 49,350.71 points, while the market capitalisation increased by N391 billion to N27.009 trillion from N26.618 trillion.

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