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CSCS Resecures ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Certification

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By Dipo Olowookere

The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification earlier obtained in 2015 by the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc has been resecured by the company.

This followed the recent audit of its compliance with information security risks controls by the British Standards Institution (BSI), UK, one of the world’s largest accreditation bodies for ISO certifications.

The audit involved a series of process validation and assurance check of controls with respect to company and client data management.

Managing Director of CSCS, Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, described this development as a significant capital market infrastructure and indeed, the Central Securities Depository for the Nigerian capital market, one of CSCS’ paramount areas of focus is protection of commercially sensitive information belonging to the company and its investors.

According to Mr. Jalo-Waziri, “CSCS is committed to upholding the highest standards of security for the processes, people and technology powering our services,” adding that, “The confidentiality, integrity and availability of information under our custody is held sacrosanct.

He said further that the, “ISO recertification provides assurance to all our customers that we have controls in place to identify and mitigate potential risks to confidential information,” noting that, “We work hard to ensure that we build trust and credibility in the market so as to inspire confidence among our stakeholders.”

Mr Jalo-Waziri added that the “recertification serves to test and affirm our commitment to information security at all levels of our business and I am pleased to begin the year with this milestone.”

The Managing Director expressed his profound appreciation to both internal and external stakeholders for their commitment and steadfastness in ensuring the success of the recertification audit.

The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification is conducted by BSI every three years and in between, a yearly surveillance audit is done. The next recertification audit comes up in 2022.

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

Osinbajo Opposes CBN Cryptocurrency Ban, Backs Regulation

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Osinbajo Cryptocurrency Trading

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disagreed with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the ban on cryptocurrency trading in the country.

A few weeks ago, the apex bank directed financial institutions in the country to close all bank accounts of persons or organisations trading the digital currencies.

It was speculated that the central bank prohibited crypto trading because the youths used the means to fund the 2020 EndSARS protests across the nation.

Speaking at a one-day economic summit, the Vice President advised the CBN to take a critical look into the policy and come up with ways to regulate the system.

According to him, rather than adopt a policy that prohibits cryptocurrency operations in the country, “we must act with knowledge and not fear” and develop a robust regulatory regime that is thoughtful and knowledge-based.

“I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns. But I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.

“There is a role for regulation here. And it is in the place of both our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.

“So, it should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation, not prohibition. The point I am making is that some of the exciting developments we see the call for prudence and care in adopting them, but we must act with knowledge and not fear,” Mr Osinbajo said at the event organised by the CBN, the Banker’s Committee and the Vanguard Newspaper.

At the summit themed Bankers’ Initiative for Economic Growth, the Vice President emphasised the need for monetary authorities to rethink their stand on cryptocurrencies.

“There is no question that blockchain technology generally and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will in the coming years challenge traditional banking, including reserve (central) banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine. So, we need to be prepared for that seismic shift and it may come sooner than later,” he added.

“Already, remittance systems are being challenged. Blockchain technology will provide far cheaper options for the kind of fees being paid today for cross-border transfers.

“I am sure you are all aware of the challenge that the traditional SWIFT system is facing from new systems like Ripple which is based on the blockchain distributed ledger technology with its own crypto tokens.

“There are, of course, a whole range of digital assets spawned daily from block-chain technology. Decentralized finance, using smart contracts to create financial instruments, in place of central financial intermediaries such as banks or brokerages is set to challenge traditional finance.

“The likes of Nexo finance offer instant loans using cryptocurrency as collateral. Some reserve banks are investigating issuing their own digital currencies,” Mr Osinbajo stated.

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Economy

Imasayi Cashew Plant in Ogun Resumes Operations

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Imasayi Cashew Plant

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Ogun State government has revived its cashew processing plant at Imasayi by partnering with an indigenous agro-allied processing company, J22 Concerns Limited in Kajola.

The Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment in the state, Mrs Kikelomo Longe, explained that this was part of efforts to boost the processing and exportation of cashew nuts.

Represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Olu Ola Aikulola, who presented the letter of award to the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Yinka Akintola, at the Palace of the Olu of Imasayi, Imasayi, Yewa North Local Government Area, the Commissioner said the present administration decided to operationalise the plant which has been unused since 2018 to enhance the socio-economic development of the people.

Mrs Longe called on relevant stakeholders and the people of Imasayi to support the investor in enhancing the cashew nut value chain through increased production of cashew nuts and sale for processing instead of selling them raw.

“We should team up with the investor to ensure the best use of this cashew processing plant. We want a situation whereby the cashew nuts grown in Imasayi will be processed in Imasayi.

“This will boost the cashew value chain and bring about development for the people, create job opportunities and lead to an improvement in the people’s standard of living,” she said.

The Commissioner assured that the Mr Dapo Abiodun-led administration remains committed to making Ogun State investors’ prefererred choice of destination as well as promoting policies such as the Public-Private-Partnership which would lead to the development of the agricultural value chain.

Also speaking, the Trade Promotion Advisor/ Head, Abeokuta Smart Office, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Samson Idowu, said only 10 per cent of the 240 metric tonnes of cashew nuts grown in Nigeria is processed.

Mr Idowu said the need to diversify the economy from dependence on oil through increased cashew nut processing and exportation made the council donate the processing machine to the state in 2018 and also train the farmers on the latest techniques in cashew nut processing, adding that increased processing of the cash crop has the potential of making the gateway state an export hub.

The Chief Executive Officer of J22 Concerns Limited, Mr Yinka Akintola, said the company intends to process 500 kilograms of cashew nuts daily noting that the utilisation of the machine would create employment opportunities for indigenes of the area and bring about human capital development among the people.

He added that his company would also help cashew farmers in Imasayi and its environs expand their acreage of cashew plantation and yield as well as help position farmers in groups so as to access more funding for their business.

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Economy

Onions Can Attract Foreign Investors to Nigeria—Customs

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 By Adedapo Adesanya

The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN) have inaugurated documented onion exports through Illela land border in Sokoto State.

At the launch of the programme yesterday, the Area Controller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Abdulrahameed Ma’aji, in charge of Sokoto and Zamfara states, urged producers and marketers to utilize the opportunity for enhanced production and trading.

Mr Ma’aji commended President Muhammadu Buhari for reopening the land borders for legitimate businesses, and lauded the efforts of the Comptroller General of NCS, Mr Hameed Ali, for keeping in tune with international best practices in customs’ responsibilities.

He described onion as a commodity with vast potentials that could attract foreign investors and create employment opportunities along with enhancing value addition to consumption and industrial use.

He said the NCS worked with stipulated laws and guidelines, to enhance trade and encourage domestic entrepreneurs individuals and groups to key into exports, for national economic growth.

“Despite COVID-19 pandemic, NCS provided proactive solutions to the public that will aid continued reliable and quality service delivery for the sustenance of global trade,” Mr Ma’aji said.

Also speaking at the occasion, the National President of OPMAN, Mr Aliyu Maitasamu, said onion was an important vegetable, whose distinctive flavour and medicinal content was appreciated by people throughout the world.

Mr Maitasamu noted that there is no household that does not consume onion, as it is being used as bulbs, onion powder, and others which serve as a raw material in the production of seasoning, ketchup, noodles, onion oil, onion jam, flakes by various food industries.

He explained that onion is used in pharmaceutical products, targeting the management of obesity, heart disease and cancer, due to its high vitamins, mineral and antioxidants content.

The President said based on these benefits, the union resolved to join hands with all onion exporters across the nation and take advantage of the federal government initiative on the diversification of the nation’s economy.

According to him, no fewer than 2,000 marketers engaged in the business, thousands engaged in its farming and other associated businesses, had been mobilised by the association.

“In line with the Federal Government plan to diversify the economy and create jobs, the union in conjunction with sister bodies in West and Central Africa developed an onion recovery plan which will target an average steady growth of 20 per cent each year, from 2020 to 2026.

“Nigeria is among the 10 top onion exporting countries in the world, and with a competitive advantage of producing the largest onion producing country in sub-Saharan Africa, with annual 1.4 million metric tonnes in output.

“With the present arrangement, Nigeria will continuously export onions to Niger Republic, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, and others, with more expanding opportunities,” Mr Maitasamu said.

He added that with the commencement of documented export of onion and onion products, the commodity has the capacity to contribute greatly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), encourage repatriation of forex back to Nigeria and other value addition from the global map of onion exporting countries.

It was reported that the occasion was attended by Nigerian authorities, exporters and clearing agents, traditional rulers and representatives of law enforcement agencies.

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Economy

NAHCO GMD/CEO Resumes After 3-Week Suspension

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Adetokunbo Fagbemi

By Dipo Olowookere

The group managing director/chief executive of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, Mrs Adetokunbo Fagbemi, has resumed at her duty post.

Mrs Fagbemi was earlier suspended by the board of the company, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

She was punished by the board over her failure to obey an instruction and for the period she was away from her office, she would be paid half salary.

A statement issued by the organisation explained that Mrs Fagbemi got into trouble when her team could not give cogent reasons why the equipment ordered overseas could not be delivered at the required time.

NAHCO had purchased equipment for the smooth running of its operations and the management was expected to secure the delivery of the item from the vendor within the contracted period.

She was specifically told to get the certified bill of lading for the equipment by February 2, 2021, and when she could not explain why this could not be achieved, she was asked to go on suspension from the next day.

Her seat was then occupied by the group executive director in charge of Corporate Services, Mr Olumuyiwa Olumekun.

“The GMD/CEO was suspended by the board at its meeting held on January 27, 2021. The suspension was due to management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from the vendor within the contracted period and management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonably very long delay.

“The suspension was in line with the board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by February 2, 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer,” a part of the statement signed by the company secretary, Bello Abdullahi, disclosed.

“The board is, however, pleased to inform the investing public and the exchange that on Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the board at its emergency meeting on February 24 has recalled the GMD/CEO from the suspension and she has resumed work,” the statement added.

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Economy

CBN Retains One-Year OMO Bills Rate at 10.1%

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CBN OMO bills

By Dipo Olowookere

There was an Open Market Operations (OMO) conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday and it came 24 hours after the apex bank sold treasury bills to investors at the primary market.

The central bank offered the liquidity management tool to investors across three maturities during the session, with the stop rates remaining unchanged.

According to details of the exercise obtained by Business Post, the apex bank offered for sale N50.0 billion for a 96-day bill, another N50.0 billion for a 173-day bill and N230.0 billion for a 362-day bill and for the bids, investors showed a strong appetite for the long-dated maturity with N505.0 billion worth of subscriptions received.

However, the mid-term bill was slightly oversubscribed as bids valued at N54.1 billion were received, while the short-dated instrument was undersubscribed as only N45.5 billion was staked on it.

The CBN, thereafter, allotted the exact amount it auctioned for the respective bills, with N50.0 billion sold for the 96-day OMO bill, N50.0 billion for the 173-day OMO bill and N230.0 billion for the 362-day OMO bill.

Also, the central bank, as earlier stated, retained the stop rates for the respective maturity with the 3-month instrument clearing at 7.0 per cent, the 6-month instrument clearing at 8.5 per cent and the 12-month instrument clearing at 10.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, at the money market yesterday, Business Post observed that the average rates increased by 6.29 per cent on the back of the 6.10 per cent rise in the Open Buy Back (OBB) rate and 6.47 per cent jump in the Overnight (OVN) rate.

At the close of transactions, the OVN rate increased to 8.30 per cent, while the OBB rate rose to 7.60 per cent.

The rise in the rates was influenced by the debits from the recent sales of treasury bills by the central bank via the Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) and OMO bills, causing a squeeze in liquidity in the system.

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Economy

Court Convicts Farmer for Rice Investment Fraud

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Rice Farmers

By Dipo Olowookere

A farmer who hails from Taraba State, Mr Hassan Abubakar, has been convicted by a Gombe State High Court for criminal breach of trust.

The convict was punished for diverting the sum of N1.6 million he was to invest in a rice farming business jointly owned by him and another investor identified as Mr Abubakar Suleman.

Mr Suleman filed a petition to the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Gombe State, accusing Mr Abubakar of using the money he invested in the business for another purpose.

This prompted the EFCC to swing into action and after having something concrete to nail on the convict, he was dragged before Justice Abubakar Jauro on 15 count charges bordering on criminal breach of trust.

He was arraigned in 2019 and one of the charges read, “That you Hassan Abubakar and Jamilu Abubakar (at large) sometimes in 2017 in Gombe, within the Jurisdiction of this court converted to your own use the sum of N208, 000 property of Abubakar Suleman and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Court Law”.

He pleaded not guilty, but Justice Jauro found him guilty because the prosecution, through its counsel, A. M. Ocholi, proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

He, thereafter, convicted and sentenced the defendant to one-year imprisonment on each of the 15 counts with the sentences to run consecutively.

However, the judge said the convict has an option to pay a fine of N75,000 and he has been ordered to pay the complainant the amount in question in restitution.

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