9mobile, Former Etisalat Unveils Its Logo

9Mobile telecom, former Etisalat has unveiled its new corporate brand identity few hours ago. This came after days of speculations by relevant stakeholders as to what comes next regarding Etisalat Group’s withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS).

Etisalat Nigeria now re-branded as 9Mobile ran into trouble having failed to service over N541 billion debts owed a consortium of banks that include Access Bank PLC, Zenith Bank, GTBank, FirstBank and other foreign banks.

The intervention of Nigerian financial and telecoms regulatory authorities had helped to prevent a major stricture that could have erased jobs and the integrity of the two sectors.

Both the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said they are still studying the situation. The NCC has assured that there would be no negative impact on subscribers and on jobs.

The telecoms firm retained the ‘9janess’ by invariably deciding on ‘9’ in 9Mobile.

On the choice of “9”, 9mobile explained thus as gathered by Brand Spur Nigeria.

  • 9 is significant with nature, the start of life, time of birth. from our entry into the market 9 years ago to our evolution 9 years after, we are still0809ja.
  • we are here for you, rebranded for you because it is all about you.
  • 9 stands for speed, quality, excellence. if you’re looking to the future, you find it with 9.
  • 9 gets you talking more, doing more, achieving more & living more

 

Paris Club refund: States get N243.7bn (See the breakdown)

 • FG releases N243.8bn to 36 states and FCT

 

Of the N243.8 billion released on Monday by the federal government to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as the second tranche of Paris Club refunds, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Rivers got N10 billion each, making the five states the highest recipients of the refunds for over-deductions on Paris and London Club Loans and multilateral debts between 1995 and 2002.

A statement Tuesday by the Director (Information) in the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta, who confirmed that the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds had been released to all states and the FCT, added that the funds were released on the premise that a minimum of 75 per cent of the funds would be applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions by states that owe salaries and pension.

The statement said Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Rivers States got N10 billion each, and were closely followed by Lagos and Katsina which got N8,371,938,133.11 and N8,202,130,909.85.

Also, while Oyo got N7,901,609,864.25, Borno was paid N7,340,934,865.32, Imo – N7,000,805,182.97, Jigawa – N7,107,666,706.76, Kaduna – N7,721,729,227.55, Niger -N7,210,793,154.95, Ondo – N7,003,648,314.28, Benue -N6,854,671,749.25, and Cross River – N6,075,343,946.93.

Abia was paid N5,715,765,871.48, Adamawa – N6,114,300,352.68, Anambra – N6,121,656,702.34, Bauchi – N6,877,776,561.25, Ebonyi -N4,508,083,379.98, Edo – N6,091,126,592.49, Ekiti – N4,772,836,647.08, Enugu – N5,361,789,409.66, Gombe – N4,472,877,698.19, and Kebbi – N5,977,499,491.45.

Kogi was refunded N6,027,727,595.80, Kwara – N5,120,644,326.57, Nasarawa – N4,551,049,171.12, Ogun – N5,739,374,694.46, Osun – N6,314,106,340.62, Plateau – N5,644,079,055.41, Sokoto – N6,441,128,546.76, Taraba – N5,612,014,491.52, Yobe – N5,413,103,116.59, Zamfara – N5,442,385,594.49, and the FCT – N684,867,500.04.

The ministry explained that the refunds were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 4.
It said: “These payments which totalled N243,795,465,195.20 were made to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory upon the approval of the president on May 4, 2017, in partial settlement of long-standing claims by state governments relating to over-deductions from their Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.”

It quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to have stressed that the debt service deductions were in respect of the Paris and London Clubs’ loans and multilateral debts of the FG and states.
“While Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005, some states had already been overcharged. The funds were released to state governments as part of the wider efforts to stimulate the economy and were specifically designed to support states in meeting salary and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.

“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 75 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions for states that owe salaries and pension.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance is reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by state governments.

“A detailed report is being compiled for presentation to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as part of the process for approval for the release of any subsequent tranches,” the statement added.
Confirming payment, Osun, Ekiti and Abia State governments said Tuesday that they had received the second tranche of the refunds.

A statement by Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, media aide to the Osun State governor, said N6.314 billion was paid into the state’s coffers on Monday, adding that the state government was committed to utilising the resources of Osun in the best interest of the people.
He said the state government also restated its commitment to keep to its promise to meet its obligations to concerned stakeholders in the state.
Similarly, Mr. Lere Olayinka, spokesman of the Ekiti State governor, confirmed the state’s receipt of the money in a statement.

The statement said the amount would be shared between the state and local governments.
In Abia, its Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Obinna Oriaku, also confirmed that his state had received the money, but said the state got lower than the N11 billion to N12 billion it was expecting.
Oriaku said despite the shortfall, the Abia State governor had directed that the released funds should be committed wholly to the payment of salary arrears.

With the latest release of N243.8 billion by the federal government, the total paid to the states and the FCT amounts to N766.53 billion as Paris Club refunds, having released N522.74 billion last December.

However, after the federal government released the first tranche of refunds, which was done to enable the states offset the outstanding salaries and pensions of their workers, it was trailed with controversy, as some state governors were accused of corruptly diverting the funds into other uses and paying huge sums to consultants that they had contracted to assist them to recover the monies.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since launched an investigation into the allegation.
The governors, under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), have since denied that the first tranche of Paris Club refunds were diverted.

Lawn Tennis Legend, Boris Becker goes bankrupt after investing in Nigerian Oil Companies (pics)

Boris Becker ‘lost his £100m fortune investing in Nigerian oil firms that plunged in value’

  • Becker struck the deal in 2013, partly brokered by a Nigerian employee of his
  • But the investments tanked and last month he was declared bankrupt 
  • His lawyer told a London court that he is not financially ‘sophisticated’ 
  • Becker is bankrupt, and owes undisclosed sums to London bankers 

Wimbledon legend Boris Becker lost a huge part of his £100million fortune in dubious investments in Nigerian oil firms, it has been claimed.

German news magazine Der Spiegel – citing documents from soccer whistleblowing platform Football Leaks – said Becker struck the deal in 2013, which contributed to his recent bankruptcy. Spiegel said the ‘mega-deal’ was brokered by a Canadian firm and a Nigerian employee of Becker, pictured.

Becker struck the deal in 2013, which contributed to his recent bankruptcy

It said documents show that in July 2013 Becker held shares in an oil and petrol firm in Nigeria. But the investments tanked and last month he was declared bankrupt. John Briggs, Becker’s lawyer, told the London court: ‘He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances.’

Becker, now 49, was once estimated to be worth upwards of £100million. He was declared bankrupt over undisclosed sums owed to London-based private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co since 2015.

Remaining assets will be disposed of to pay creditors. Among earlier cash woes, Becker was landed with divorce and paternity settlements in 2001 totalling more than £20million – to his first wife, Barbara, and Angela Ermakova, the Russian model who had his baby after a brief encounter in a London restaurant.

The next year Becker received a two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion. He was ordered to pay £2.5million in back tax, fines, and costs after claiming Monaco as his main residence while mostly living in Munich. And in 2011 a Dubai property development to which he lent his name went bust.

Credit Daily Mail

Beggars In Nigeria Will Start Paying Tax – FG

fg-spent-n200bn-on-road-development-in-2016-adeosun
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

The Nigerian government has stated that no one would be left out in the campaign to enlarge the tax revenue.

She said some beggars were earning millions and that “proceeds from begging are taxable. You are supposed to pay taxes even if your means of income is begging”.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said this in Lagos at a lecture at PWC’s Business School, with the theme: ‘Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) Interactive Session for Executives and Business Owners.’

She said to ascertain the income status of the companies/individuals and their lifestyle, investigators would rely on information derived from Bank Verification Number (BVN), records of property ownership, records of foreign exchange allocation, and records of company ownership from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), among others.

Adeosun said: “We are using some firms to trace assets internationally.The investigators’ findings will enable us to compare the income and how much tax the company/person is really paying, and that gives us lots of information.

“But we encourage people to come up and pay their taxes willingly. You can register a high-end car. It tells me something about your income.

“So, we look at your tax returns. If you registered Mercedes E-Class and you are paying N100,000 tax, then something is wrong. Those are red flags. We now have the capacity to assess people accurately.

“We are trying to build an economy where we have oil and other things. It is going to be oil plus and wider economy”.

Credit Daily Post

150 wealthy Nigerians face asset, tax probe

The Federal Government has engaged Kroll, a United Kingdom-based forensic and assets-tracing firm, and some other foreign firms to trace the assets of very wealthy Nigerians at home and abroad.

The names of 150 very wealthy Nigerians are on the list for the first batch of the exercise, which is expected to last for some months.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, confirmed at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday that the government had engaged some foreign firms to trace the local and foreign assets of some high net worth Nigerians.

She, however, refused to give the names of the other foreign firms the Federal Government had engaged for the exercise nor names of the wealthy Nigerians whose assets are being traced.

Adeosun said the objective of the exercise was to match the lifestyle of the wealthy individuals with the amount of tax they were paying to the Federal Government.

According to her, the government is building the profile of people to encourage them to pay the right taxes before wielding the big stick in terms of prosecution at the end of the nine-month window given for the payment of all outstanding taxes under the newly introduced Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme

She said, “How much we recover from their purses is not as important as getting people into the tax net and paying the right taxes. Majority of people who are paying taxes at the moment are the Pay As You Earn; most of the people whose taxes are being deducted at source. But the people who are evading taxes are either the people who own their businesses or the high net worth individuals.

“And ordinarily, they are supposed to pay the biggest share of the tax revenue. What is happening now is that the lower-end people are carrying more of the burden, which is unfair. Everybody has to carry their fair share according to their level of income. That is how progressive taxes work all over the world.

“Remember that tax is one of the instruments the government uses to redistribute income; to take from the rich to support the poor. That is very fundamental. Not only do we recover money from the people, it (VAIDS) is meant to ensure that people pay the right taxes going forward.”

She added, “The firms that we are using to trace assets internationally are working alongside the projects that we have locally.

“And that project puts together records of property ownership, foreign exchange allocations, company ownership from the Corporate Affairs Commission, and even private jet registration so that we can build profiles of people so that we have an idea of how much tax should this person be paying according to his or her lifestyle.

“And then we compare it with how much tax they are actually paying, and that is giving us a lot of information that hopefully will encourage people to come forward to do the right thing.”

According to the minister, the Federal Government is looking at realising about $1bn from the VAIDS.

Speaking earlier at an interactive session for executives and business owners on the VAIDS hosted by PwC Nigeria, Adeosun said while most developing countries had tax to Gross Domestic Product ratios above 20 per cent, Nigeria had a low of six per cent.

In a bid to address this anomaly, she said the Federal Ministry of Finance had set up the VAIDS in collaboration with all 36 states of the federation.

Specifically, it is expected to increase Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio from the current six per cent to between 10 per cent and 15 per cent, broaden the national tax base, curb tax evasion and discourage illicit financial flows.

The Executive Chairman, the Lagos Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Ayo Subair  said, “We have seen the positive impact taxpayers’ money can make at the state level in terms of social services, administration of government and infrastructure development.”

According to the Head of Tax, PwC Nigeria, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, paying taxes is not particularly easy anywhere in the world for anyone who has expended time, energy and other resources to earn the income.

However, he said, “It is necessary for there to be an organised society for the benefit of all. We organised this session to discuss the background, design and structure of the VAIDS, key objectives, legal framework and the step-by-step process for declaration, remediation and resolution.”

Copyright PUNCH

Etisalat Nigeria changes brand name to 9Mobile

Etisalat Nigeria has changed its brand name to 9Mobile.

The name change follows the pullout of Mubadala Group, Etisalat’s major investor from the United Arab Emirates, over a $1.4bn (N541bn) debt.

This change in name has proved pundit right after the indications emerged that Etisalat Nigeria has not foreclosed the threat surrendering its existence as the Company as it faces risk shut down of its Internet presence by Arab shareholders pulling out of the phone Company by Monday July 31, this year if the talks in progress is aborted.

However, the change of name is contrary to Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President (Regulatory and Corporate) who was quoted recently in a statement made available to Daily Times which read in part that” EMTS has a valid and subsisting agreement with the Etisalat Group which entitles EMTS to use the Etisalat brand, notwithstanding the recent changes within the company. Indeed discussions are ongoing between EMTS and Etisalat Group pertaining to the continued use of the brand, and EMTS will issue a formal statement once discussions are concluded. The final outcome on the use of the brand in no way affects the operation of the business as our range of services remains available to our consumers.”

Nigeria has assures its customers and other stakeholders that Etisalat Group’s reported withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS does not in any way imply discontinuation of our business as Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile service provider.

However, the Company said in a statement made available to The Daily Times earlier before the change of name stated that contrary to certain misleading statements about its experience centres and outlets being closed, that all its offices, Experience Centres and outlets across Nigeria are in full operation and are providing services including customer care services on 24/7 basis.

The Company also reiterates its unwavering commitment to delivery of quality services and commitment to continuously empowering all segments of Nigeria through the development and roll-out of innovative products, services and solutions that help individuals, businesses and organisations solve their everyday problems.

“Whilst we are intensifying efforts aimed at reaching full closure on ongoing discussions with regards the transition phase, we want to assure that our customers and stakeholders will be duly informed as soon as these are concluded, including details of a rebranding should that become necessary .

“We thank all our customers, stakeholders and the media for their unalloyed support to the company,” the statement read.

Now the Company has fully changed it brand identity to 9mobile.

Buhari Has Practically Done Nothing To Grow Nigeria’s Economy – Financial Times

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President Buhari and his Vice Yemi Osibajo

Finacial Times of London says President Muhammadu Buhari has practically done nothing to grow Nigeria’s economy, stating that the country has let a crisis go to waste.

In an article written by David Pilling, its Africa editor, the newspaper said the economy will grow in 2017, just like a dead cat will bounce if thrown from a 50-storey building.

“The term ‘dead cat bounce’ derives from the fact that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height. If you imagine a dead cat soaked in crude oil and dropped from a 50-storey building, you get a rough picture of how Nigeria’s economy is performing these days.

“Nigeria is expected to grow 2.5 per cent this year after contracting 1.6 per cent in 2016. But the population is also growing at 2.5 per cent. So in per capita terms, things are going nowhere.

“The reasons for the “recovery” are twofold. First, last year’s performance was so dismal it would have been difficult for the economy to fall further. Without doing anything at all — a reasonable description of policy under Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s ailing leader and frequent London resident — the baseline effect has worked its magic. Second, the oil that makes up so much of government revenues is flowing faster. In June, production was 1.7m barrels a day, 10 per cent higher than a year ago.”

FT said Nigeria’s power house has not heard of the advice that “one should, they say, never let a crisis go to waste”, further stating that Nigeria has let its recession go to waste and will return to business as usual as oil prices recover.

The newspaper acknoledges that Nigeria has among “the sharpest, most driven and entrepreneurial” people on the African continent.

Pilling added that Buhari “has spent much of the past year convalescing from a mystery illness that has sapped his presidency of vigour and set off a merry-go-round of political jockeying to succeed him.
There has been practically nothing in the way of coherent economic policy”.

In all of these, FT adds that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is “competent and dynamic” to run Nigeria, and has been doing just that.

Etisalat Pulls Out Of Nigeria, Issues Ultimatum For Name Change

Nigerian regulators intervened last week to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.

Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat has terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian arm and given the business time to phase out the brand in Nigeria, the chief executive of Etisalat International told Reuters on Monday.

Nigerian regulators intervened last week to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.

All UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria have exited the company and have left the board and management, Hatem Dowidar said in an interview.
Dowidar said discussions were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support, adding that it can use the brand for another three weeks before phasing it out.

Etisalat and the long walk to lenders’ net

The Nigerian GSM operators were thought to be very rich. The fall of one of them has shown otherwise.

Etisalat and the long walk to lenders’ net

 

Though many small telecom companies have gone under since the full liberalisation of the sector in 2001, none of the big four operators has shown any sign of ailment until April when news broke that Etisalat was having difficulty paying back a $ 1.2billion loan it took from some banks.

How it all started

The telecoms sector had been the second most vibrant sector before recession hit the country in 2016, and is now said to be the most vibrant after the sharp fall in oil prices.

Although it overtook the oil sector, the effects of fall in oil prices which had impacted negatively on the dollar/naira rate and the scarce foreign exchange soon slap the sector hard on its face.

And because the telecom business depends largely on foreign inputs as its infrastructure and expertise are largely sourced from abroad, the operators in the sector need foreign exchange like blood for survival.

They require huge foreign currency to settle liabilities at all times.  This, according to analysts, forced Etisalat to take the $1.2bn loan to modernize and expand its network in 2013 and was scheduled to pay back in dollar.

When it took the loan, macroeconomic indices looked stable, with the dollar exchanging for about N197. But three years after, with an economy in recession, coupled with the free float of the naira, the telco defaulted on the facility.

The takeover

Now, the lenders – Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, United Bank for African, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank – have taken over the company, after many negotiations failed.

The company, which is the fourth GSM mobile company in terms of size, with a customer base of about 20 million subscribers and a workforce of about 2,000, now has its fate hanging in the balance.

Though the interventions from both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have helped to reduce the effects of the takeover on the telco, its staff, shareholders and its customers, many casualties have been recorded already.

First, the UAE-based Etisalat which owned 40 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria, was forced to forfeit it stake due to the loan issue. It was required to transfer its holding in the company to a consortium of lenders to the Nigerian operation.

Also, its chairman Hakeem Bello-Osagie resigned following the approval of the restructuring plan for the telco. Bello-Osagie was the promoter of Emerging MarketsTelecommunications Services (EMTS) which controlled about 15 per cent of the equity holding of the company.

It would be recalled that Bello-Osagie had planned to leave immediately the banks made the take-over move, but was prevailed upon to tarry awhile until a road map for the company was finalised.

A statement announcing the resignation of the chairman  said: “The timing of the resignation was strategically delayed till now when stakeholders have agreed a plan and comes more than a week after Mubadala Development Company directors tendered their resignation. The development also reflects Bello-Osagie’s deep commitment to protecting the interest of all stakeholders.”

According to the statement, “It is now expected that Etisalat Nigeria under its new shareholding structure will navigate through its current loan repayment challenge with minimum impact.

“Over the last several months, the chairman has worked extensively with critical stakeholders to prepare clearly articulated strategies and robust road maps that will mitigate the impact of the new shareholding restructuring and realignment on the operations and management of the 4th largest telecoms player in Nigeria.

“With this development, the new board will assume control of Etisalat. This is coming following interventions, which have been roundly applauded, from regulatory agencies, including the Nigeria Communications commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders to ensure that the best decisions are taken in the interest of the subscribers, employees and the Nigerian economy.”

The eyeing of buyers

News broke last week that Orange and Vodafone Group were in “strong running” to buy 65 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria following Etisalat’s exit from the troubled operator.

According to Brandish, “no fewer than five” companies have expressed interest in Etisalat Nigeria, although the two international telco giants have shown “concrete interest”. The potential hurdle, the report said, was the restructuring of the debt which caused the current uncertainty for the business.

The report also said the negotiators for Etisalat Nigeria – including representatives of its bankers and Nigerian regulators – are working to “mitigate any collateral damage and brand erosion” which could impact the new owners. Either way, a rebranding is likely to be an early priority for Orange or Vodafone if they become the successful owner, to shift away from the Etisalat name.

After the Nigerian business defaulted on its loan repayments, Etisalat was required to transfer its holding in the company to a consortium of lenders to the Nigerian operation.

‘No cause for alarm’

The Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has assured Etisalat Nigeria’s subscribers of quick resolution of the Etisalat issue even after the takeover.

The NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Danbatta said the Etisalat loan wouldn’t destabilise the telecom industry.

He said discussions would still be held in coming days for final resolution of the issue.

He said, ‘’ Let me assure millions of Etisalat subscribers that there is no cause alarm; nothing is going to happen to their lines. The issue is being resolved and it would soon be finally put to rest.    The issue wouldn’t be allowed to destabilise the telecoms industry. We are handling it and you will be briefed adequately as events unfold on the issue.’’

A top NCC official also told Daily Trust, “We are the regulator of the industry. As part of our duties and mandates, we liaise with other regulators and other government agencies on behalf of our industry on the issue affecting any of the players in our industry.

“We do this always, and on this issue we are on it; we have met with the parties involved and we are still meeting with them. We are trying to prevent any ugly occurrence in the industry. We wouldn’t allow a telco with about 21million subscribers to leave them out in the cold.”

The restructuring

Stakeholders in the Etisalat Nigeria have agreed on a win-win restructuring plan for the telecommunication firm, a source privy to the restructuring said.

The unnamed source reportedly told a national newspaper that the plan would involve a marriage of representatives of the consortium of 13 banks, Nigerian stakeholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

“We are grateful to all those who have mediated to the point we are in now where we have come to an amicable resolution in the interest of all parties. It is a win-win arrangement; a symbiotic exercise at that. All the stakeholders have agreed that the Consortium of the 13 banks would have four representatives on a 7-member interim board; two representatives will come from the Nigerian stakeholders and one will represent the CBN/NCC. The essence of this arrangement is to ensure that all the parties have a stake in the business”, the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

This resolution, which may have prevented likely loss of jobs– one of the concerns of many stakeholders when the story broke — has since been elicited complementary remarks from NCC, CBN and analysts.

Credit Daily Trust