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CBN Opposes MTN’s Planned Charges

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Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opposed plans by MTN to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) access to banking services from Oct. 21.

The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, in Washington on Sunday.

MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from Oct. 21.

“Yello, as requested by your bank, from Oct. 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more information,’’ the message said.

Responding to a question seeking his reaction to the announcement, the CBN governor said the bank would not allow that to happen.

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“About five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.

“At that time, we came to the conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost. What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company.

“But the telecom companies disagreed with us, they said it is an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason they needed to impose it.

“I have told the banks that we will not allow this to happen. The banks are the people who give this business to the telecom companies and I leave the banks and the telecom companies to engage.

“I have told the banks that they have to move their business, move their traffic to a telecom company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible if not zero cost.

“And that is where we stand, and we must achieve it,’’ he said.

The transactions to be affected by the charges include intra- and inter-bank money transfers, through USSD, among others.

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Business

SON Certifies Innoson Motors, Issues MANCAP Certificate

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Wednesday presented the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) certification to Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM).

The certificate was presented to IVM Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, by SON Director-General, Osita Aboloma, in Nnewi in Anambra State.

Aboloma noted that the award shows that the company passed the rigorous process of inspections and quality assurance in the last five years.

He added that it also demonstrated compliance with the relevant product standards.

“With the award of MANCAP’s certificate to Innoson brand of vehicles, we are demonstrating how standardisation and conformity to standards offer strategic opportunities for increased efficiency.

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“We are, in effect, saying that Innoson brand is fit to be used in Nigeria and beyond,” Aboloma said.

In his Goodwill message, the National President of Nigerian Association of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu and who was represented its National Vice President, Mr Humphrey Ngonadi noted that for Innoson Vehicles to receive the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) means that it met the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and it is a “confirmation of the capacity of our industry”.

The NACCIMA President assured Innoson Vehicles of the continuous support of NACCIMA to his company.

Giving his remarks, the Innoson Vehicle Boss, Chief Chukwuma gave the assurance that Innoson Vehicles will continue to employ international best practices in the production of its vehicles so that they can compare favorably in terms of durability, fuel economy and safety.

He stated further that the company is now producing affordable cars that an average Nigerian worker can purchase easily.

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Union Bank Sells UK Subsidiary

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Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc has entered a share sale and purchase agreement to divest its 100 per cent equity stake in its United Kingdom (UK) subsidiary, Union Bank UK (UBUK) Plc.

In a regulatory filing just released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the board of Union Bank stated that the sale was in line with the bank’s strategy to geographically streamline its business operations to focus on growth opportunities in Nigeria.

According to the bank, following a competitive bid process, MBU BidCo Limited (MBU), an acquisition vehicle wholly owned by MBU Capital Limited (MBU Capital), was selected as the preferred bidder. The completion of the sale is however still subject to regulatory approvals from the relevant regulatory authorities in Nigeria and the UK.

MBU Capital is an investment management firm founded in 2013 and based in Mayfair, London. MBU Capital has active interests in financial services, healthcare, education, real estate and technology. MBU Capital (UK) LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Emeka Emuwa said the bank decided that as the banking landscape shifts towards digital and agency banking to drive financial inclusion, the Nigerian market presents robust long-term opportunities for it.

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He pointed out that the divestment allows the bank to channel its focus and capital towards mining the Nigerian opportunities fully.

“Through the sale, we are better positioned to deliver greater value to the organisation and its stakeholders as well as continue to build the future of banking in Nigeria. The terms of the sale of UBUK delivers substantial value to our shareholders, while also entrusting its customers and trading partners to a high-quality financial services institution which will work with existing management to deliver a stronger and more profitable entity,” Emuwa said.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, MBU Capital, Mohammed Iqbal said the investment group was delighted with the acquisition, describing it as a huge opportunity to build on UBUK’s strengths in international markets to create a new-style bank which is focused on the needs of UK and international SMEs and entrepreneurs.

According to him, many customers are seeking a bank which truly understands the needs of entrepreneurial, fast-growing businesses.

“We believe that our acquisition and vision for UBUK offers the potential for significant growth for the bank. We look forward to working with our new colleagues at UBUK to continue to service the needs of its clients. We also look forward to sustaining and deepening relationships with UBUK’s existing trading partners,” Iqbal said.

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Peace Mass Transit Launches 50 Brand New Buses [PHOTOS]

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Peace Mass Transit (PMT) Limited, the leading mini-bus transport company in the country, has readied a total of 50 brand new buses for injection into its fleet.

The buses are all products of newly established PMT Vehicle Assembly Plant, located within the Emene Industrial Layout headquarters of the company.

PMT Executive Director in charge of operations, Enete Ifeanyi Henry Clinton disclosed that the new buses would be assigned to drivers and has already being deployed to all the PMT depots across the country.

Peace Mass Transit has an active fleet of 4,000 buses with at least 2,000 on the road daily. It regularly freshens up the fleet to meet customer expectations and also maintain its market leadership.

PMT Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Samuel Maduka Onyishi, maintains he runs the company as a “ministry” and not strictly as a business, and would, always do what it takes to keep the company as an industry leader, at all times.

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“The brand new buses we are injecting cost almost N 17 million per unit, but I have a pact with both God and our huge clientele to offer the best possible services at all, times,” he stated after inspecting the newly assembled buses on Monday.

Customers are encouraged to book online through www.pmt.ng, or visit our website –peacegroup.ng

Chief Onyishi, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) expressed gratitude to God and also to Nigerians who have trusted the brand (PMT) for over 20years. He urged them to keep their faith in the company and promised to always deliver beyond their expectations.

“Our customers deserve even more and no less,” he added. “We will never take their patronage for granted because they have brought us this far.”

He reiterated that the introduction of the new buses was a “strategic fleet rejig” and in no way signified or suggested older vehicles had any maintenance issues or were about to be discarded.

“Our maintenance culture is top-notch and the team is manned by technicians and engineers some of whom were trained abroad.

All PMT vehicle plying the highway, are regularly checked for maintenance, to avoid breakdown. All our vehicles run on strong quality tires which are replaced upon attainment of a certain mileage.’’

He reiterated that the introduction of the new buses was a “strategic fleet rejig” and in no way signified or suggested older vehicles had any maintenance issues or were about to be discarded the chairman concluded.

Special, distinguishing features of the new buses include, but not limited to EBS/ABS brake system combined, digital dashboard, factory-fitted speed limiter, on-board TV, and DVC player for customers’ non-stop pleasure.

According to the Executive Director, Ifeanyi, ‘’Multiple charging points and luggage controls are being provided, with all the buses fully air-conditioned, which includes protective seat belts for all passengers.

Free Wi-Fi services for passengers are still in the works.

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