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WTO Appoints Okonjo-Iweala Director-General, Resumes March 1

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Okonjo-Iweala

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A former Minister of Finance in Nigeria, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

With her appointment, she becomes the first woman and African to occupy the position since the establishment of the global trade body.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a former DG of the World Bank, is expected to resume office on March 1, 2021, and will be expected to leave on August 31, 2025, though her term is renewable.

The Nigerian was chosen for the job at a special general meeting of the group.

In a statement, the Chairman of the General Council, Mr David Walker of New Zealand, described the appointment as “a very significant moment for the WTO.”

Mr Walker led the nine-month DG selection process alongside co-facilitators, Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Harald Aspelund (Iceland).

“On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting.

“Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all members, I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience.

“We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization,” Mr Walker said in the statement.

In her response, the new DG was quoted in a WTO statement to have accepted the challenge, disclosing that her major focus would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today,” she said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Kenya’s Peter Mathuki Appointed as Head of EAC Secretariat

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Kenya Peter Mathuki

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kenya’s Peter Mutuku Mathuki has been appointed to head the East African Community (EAC), the regional bloc that brings East African countries under one umbrella.

Mr Mathuki replaces Burundi’s Liberat Mfumukeko, whose five-year term ended in early 2021. The post is usually rotational for five years.

As Secretary-General of the regional bloc, his key tasks include regional development, increasing inter-regional trade and to address investment possibilities for both potential internal and external investors.

According to his profile, Mr Mathuki has worked as Executive Director at the East African Business Council and consequently emerged as the top candidate for the position.

Over the years, he has been dealing with the corporate business sector and believed to have sufficient experience and contacts useful to address incessant wrangles in the East African Community.

Mr Mathuki previously served as a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, chairing the Committee on Legal Affairs and Good Governance as well as Accounts, Trade and Investment.

He has held political positions in Kenya and in international bodies including the International Labour Standards at the former International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU-Africa), now ITUC-Africa, which he served as director. He was also a consultant for European Union programmes in Kenya.

The appointee comes on board as the African continent implements the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement, where he has been involved in the creation of the nascent African Business Council. Trading under this AfCFTA began on January 1, 2021, and opens up more opportunities for both local African and foreign investors from around the world.

He was taken on as a rectification strategy by Kenya, following a low-key leadership by Mfumukeko. Under his term, countries routinely skipped summits and member states wrangled over tariffs and political accusations. His secretariat faced financial constraints as member states delayed remitting their membership dues and donors reduced funding following allegations of corruption.

The latest report from the East African Community Secretariat for this year shows, for example, that South Sudan is the most indebted member of the EAC. It owes $24.6 million in funding towards the main budget even though it should pay up to $32.4 million including this year’s dues. It should also pay $2.8 million to the Inter-University Council of East Africa and another US$345,000 to the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization.

The main budget usually funds the operations of the EAC Secretariat, the East African Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly and other bodies dealing with specified fields. The Secretary-General is the principal executive and accounting officer of the community as well as the secretary of the summit and serves for a fixed period of five years.

The East African Community (EAC) first collapsed and was revived in November 1999 to strengthen ties between the members through a common market, a common customs tariff, and a range of public services to achieve balanced economic growth within the region.

Under the current Chairman, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, many businesses and market players perceive positively the region as stable for long-term beneficial business, investment and trade. Some political, social and economic challenges still remain to be addressed, though.

With a combined population estimated at 183 million, the region is relatively large. The East African Community is an intergovernmental organization composed of six countries in the Great Lakes region in Eastern Africa. The members are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Crowdyvest Rejigs Leadership, Unveils New Investments

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Crowdyvest

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crowdyvest Limited, an impact-driven fintech platform, has announced a big change in its leadership and additional investment in the company in a bid to scale up as a digital savings company.

Crowdyvest was created to provide all-in-one financial solutions for individuals and businesses to achieve short or long-term goals while facilitating impactful growth in line with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The fintech company went live in beta-stage in August 2019 but launched fully as a crowdfunding platform in January 2020 where its users and sponsors can sponsor high-impact opportunities that yield good benefits through its pooled sponsorships and individual projects.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the company announced Mrs Onyeka Akumah will officially step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest and Mr Tope Omotolani who is currently the Managing Director and also a co-founder, will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the startup, effective immediately.

The company that despite this change in leadership, all the management and staff of Crowdyvest will be retained.

it noted that as a result of the new investment in Crowdyvest, the fintech startup will completely exit the EMFATO Holdings group and also transition from its previous crowdfunding model to making strides as the go-to digital wealth management and savings platform under Mr Omotolani’s leadership.

Commenting on the development, the outgoing boss, Mrs Akumah said, “I have taken this decision to step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest as a result of the new investment in the company which gives it good footing for scale. Today, Crowdyvest is exiting fully from EMFATO Holdings and we are very happy about the new investors led by Tope and excited to see how Tope will lead this business to new heights.”

Speaking on her next voyage, she noted, “I will now focus more on leading Farmcrowdy and Plentywaka as CEO of both companies into new markets in 2021. Tope is a strong and amazing leader and I see her leading Crowdyvest to become one of the leading wealth management companies in Nigeria within the next 3-5 years. I wish her and the team all the best and will continue to advise them on their journey when needed’’.

The new CEO, Mr Omotolani said “it’s an honour and a privilege for me to be able to lead the team to the next level and next chapter of the business. Onyeka founded this company on the ethos of integrity and strong customer satisfaction and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead this technology company into its next chapter.

“Our major goal and focus as Crowdyvest are that we see a lot of people become financially free and we’re able to do this by the products that we create on the platform”.

Crowdyvest also launched the Crowdyvest Savings Platform to give savings options to over 10,000 subscribed members on its platform. This savings platform will give its members a variety of plans to help build a savings culture based entirely on their pace, so they can reach their life goals faster.

The savings platform has four products that are properly tailored to fit all categories of individuals, including the Millenials, Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, and each of these products have their unique features and benefits. They are;

Flex Savings which speaks to our young and trendy Gen Zs and Millenials, gives them the opportunity to save as much as they like with the option of withdrawing their money at any time during the year with a withdrawal fee of 2 per cent. The Flex savers also have the opportunity of 7 official withdrawal days which comes without a withdrawal fee.

Vault Savings here, users have the opportunity to safely deposit money into their vaults and lock it for a period of time (3 months, 6 months, or for years). Funds deposited in the vault will be locked and ineligible for withdrawal throughout the locked period. The vault savings is for long-term savings and is targeted at pensioners, trust funds savings, legacy savings, etc.

Pace Savings, savers have the opportunity to deposit money as they wish for a set target. The pace savings option is recurring starting with the least period of 3 months. The money can be deposited automatically into the plan or manually based on the saver’s preference. The plan is targeted at salary earners, entrepreneurs, etc.

Flex Dollar Savings gives savers the opportunity to save and earn returns in dollars. Crowdyvest Members have the opportunity to grow their savings in a more valuable & stable denomination.

Every saver enjoys the benefits of good interest rates from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, zero bank charges, plans tailored for everyone, and effective and prompt customer service.

The company also has referral opportunities where one can earn as much as N1000 for every person referred to Crowdyvest.

Previously as a crowdfunding platform, Crowdyvest was able to create an impact by funding 24 projects across various sectors including Agriculture, Real Estate, Transportation, etc, has worked with 9 project partners,  has operated in 17 states with over 10,000+ active sponsors,  over 90,000+ total users, and over 8,000 Monthly Active Users.

Today, the company is a Digital Savings platform with a closed membership, Crowdyvest will provide financial solutions for her community of individuals and organizations that are committed to long-term growth and financial freedom.

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Insurance Brokers’ Regulator Chooses Adaramola as New Leader

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insurance brokers and loss adjusters

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Governing Board of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) has endorsed the appointment of Mr Tope Adaramola as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Council.

With his appointment, he is expected to take over from Mr Fatai Adegbenro, who retires from the council in May 2021.

Mr Adaramola, who is currently the Deputy Executive Secretary of the council, joined the NCRIB in 2004 as the pioneer Public Relations Manager.

A 1989 graduate of Political Science and Industrial Relations (MILR) from the University of Ibadan, Mr Adaramola had earlier worked as a reporter with Ogun Radio, Abeokuta; served as Press Secretary to the Government House, Ogun State between 1991 and 1998, from where he joined the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) in 1998 as the second Public Relations Professional to be engaged by the association.

While in the council, Mr Adaramola rose meteorically through the ranks and availed the entire industry his expertise in Public Relations and public speaking for which he was renowned.

He also avails the industry of his writing prowess as a member of the editorial team of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria and the NCRIB and served on several Industry Committees, including the Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC). He was the pioneer Secretary of the Insurance Industry Image Committee.

Mr Adaramola is a product of the European School of Protocol, a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) where he obtained a professional certificate in insurance and has attended several courses and training in Insurance, leadership and management in Nigeria, Malta, USA, Canada, UK, South Africa and The Gambia.

He is expected to bring his rich social capital and leadership skills to bear in directing the affairs of the Council as the head of the Secretariat.

The precursor of the council was established in 1962 to provide a central organization for the regulation of all practising insurance brokers in Nigeria.

This body got its first legal recognition in 1991 when the Insurance Decree N0 58 of 1991 made it compulsory for all practising Insurance Brokers to be members of this body before being registered by the Commissioner for Insurance.

However, the brokers’ quest for full legal recognition through the acquisition of a Charter did not materialize until 2003 when the National Assembly passed the NCRIB Bill and President Olusegun Obasanjo gave his assent on July 4, 2003.

The name of the body was thereafter changed pursuant of the enabling Act to The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB). With the signing into law of the NCRIB Act, the insurance broking profession received full legal powers to be able to regulate the practice as a reputable profession, which is an integral professional arm of the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

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Shoprite Workers Protest Inhuman Treatment

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Shoprite workers protest

By Ahmed Rahma

Some employees of Africa’s largest food retailer store, Shoprite, in Akure, Ondo State on Tuesday embarked on a protest against an alleged inhuman treatment by the management of the company.

The workers of the organisation, who gathered in front of the mall as early as 8 am today, accused the management of treating them like slaves.

They carried placards with various messages, calling on the company to treat them with dignity.

Some of the messages conveyed in the different placards read, Say no to modern slavery, They want to abandon us and run, 10 years of service without entitlements, and they want to run, Reward our sacrifice, among others.

The aggrieved workers used various songs to press home their demands.

Recall that a few days ago, the National Assembly expressed displeasure over the casualization of works in the country.

Shoprite is a South African company operating in Nigeria and other countries on the continent.

Last year, the firm said it was planning to exit Nigeria because of a decline in sales.

Details later…

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Lagos Civil Servants to Work-From-Home Till March 26

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Lagos Civil Servants

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Workers on the payroll of the Lagos State government from grade level 12 and below have been directed to continue to work from home for another four weeks.

They were supposed to resume on Monday, March 1, 2021, but the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has extended the directive by a month.

A statement issued by the Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, disclosed that all public servants on salary grade levels 12 and below should continue to work from home with effect from Monday, March 1 to Friday, March 26, 2021.

It was explained that this action was taken to further stem the spread of COVID-19 within the public service and other stakeholders.

The government said it was delighted that measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus in the state were already yielding meaningful results as there has been a steady decline in the number of recorded cases in the preceding weeks.

In the statement, Mr Muri-Okunola maintained that in order to sustain the success so far recorded; the Governor felt it was necessary to extend the policy.

However, the HoS stressed that the directive does not preclude any of the exempted grade levels from reporting for duty whenever the Accounting Officer deems it necessary.

“All public servants are advised to continue to stay safe by observing all COVID-19 protocols such as physical distancing, regular use of face masks and hand hygiene.

“Also, Accounting Officers are to ensure strict adherence to all extant directives aimed to guarantee physical distancing in the workplace by preparation of weekly duty rosters as considered germane to effective service delivery in respective MDAs,” the head of civil servants in Lagos State said.

Recall that Lagos State has witnessed a decline in the number of infections in the recent past due to the government’s regular updates on preventive measures as well as public enlightenment campaigns to create awareness about measures to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

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Former Wema Bank MD/CEO Joins Chams

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chams

By Ahmed Rahma

Following the death of its non-executive director, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, Chams Plc said its board has approved the appointment Mr Olusegun Oloketuyi and Mrs Olamojiba Bakare as non-executive directors effective February 18, 2021, subject to the ratification at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

In a notification to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company said until his death, Mr Ibidapo-Obe joined the company as a director on September 29, 2015, and made major contributions to the organisation during his time on the board.

One of the new appointees, Mr Segun Oloketuyi, is a seasoned banker and accountant. He was the immediate Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc.

He had also served as General Manager, Business Optimization Division and Executive Director of Business Development at Skye Bank Plc and Deputy General Manager, Corporate and Commercial Markets at Polaris Bank Plc (formerly Prudent Bank Plc) and as its Executive Director of Finance and Enterprise Risk Management.

On her part, Mrs Olamojiba Bakare is a reputable international lawyer, having qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales from Inns of Court School of Law.

She also has a Masters degree in The Theory and Practice of Dispute Prevention and Resolution from the University of Westminster.

Mrs Olamojiba Bakare is armed with almost 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, out of which she used 15 years as a practicing Solicitor in the United Kingdom.

Since her relocation to Nigeria in 2010, she has both taught corporate law and practiced as a solicitor.

She comes with a wealth of knowledge, experience, professionalism and passion.

Chams PLC is Nigeria’s leading provider of integrated identity management and identity and payments transactional systems and solutions provider.

Over the last3 decades, Chams has evolved from computer and hardware maintenance to providing enterprise technology solutions in the identity management and transaction payments space to public and private sector institutions.

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