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Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ecobank Nigeria Limited’s (ENG) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B-‘ with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has simultaneously upgraded the bank’s National Short-Term Rating to ‘F2(nga)’ from ‘F3(nga)’.  According to Fitch, the IDRs of Ecobank Nigeria are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b-‘, stating that the bank has a moderate market shares of Nigeria’s banking-sector assets but its franchise benefits from being a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, a large pan-African banking group with operations spanning 33 countries across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The rating agency reported that Ecobank’s loans have declined in recent years, stressing that it does not see a high risk of the largest Stage 2 loans, which are concentrated within the oil and gas sector, of becoming impaired. It noted that its asset-quality assessment is positively influenced by a substantial amount of non-loan assets, largely comprising government securities and cash reserves at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Fitch expects profitability to improve moderately with receding asset-quality pressures and lower LICs.

Fitch observed that “ENG’s total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 19.6% at end the first quarter of 2021 maintains a comfortable buffer above the 10% regulatory requirement for a bank with a national licence and the bank’s tangible leverage ratio of 10.7% at the end of first quarter of 2021 which compares favourably with that of peers. Impaired loans net of specific loan loss allowances represented a significant 46% of Fitch Core Capital at end of first quarter of last year but risks to capital are mitigated by strong collateral coverage and recovery expectations of the two large upstream impaired loans.” “ENG’s low gross loans/customer deposits ratio of 67% at the end of 2021 largely reflects a small loan book. Large cash reserves at the CBN, net interbank placements and unpledged central-government securities represented 33% of total assets and 50% of customer deposits at end the first quarter of 2021 providing healthy liquidity coverage. Our funding and liquidity assessment also considers the benefits of ordinary liquidity support from ETI.” The report stated.

Fitch’s view of support for Ecobank Nigeria considered the high propensity of ETI to provide support, given the former’s importance to the parent’s pan-African strategy as its largest subsidiary and it is operating in sub–Saharan Africa’s largest economy. It also considers the material reputational damage to ETI that would accompany ENG’s default, the 100% ownership, a high degree of management and operational integration and a record of capital support.

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NDLEA Recovers N8bn Tramadol In Lagos

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has busted a mansion in the Lekki area of Lagos State where Tramadol was stored.

 

NDLEA Spokesman, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Monday, said the pills recovered from the mansion were no less than 13,451,466 and worth N8.8bn in street value.

 

He said the mansion belonged to a billionaire drug baron, *Ugochukwu* *Nsofor* *Chukwukadibia* , who was now in custody.

The statement read in part, “The arrest of Ugochukwu, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd, is coming barely two months after NDLEA uncovered at least 258.7kg of crystal methamphetamine in a clandestine laboratory in the residence of another drug kingpin in the estate, Chris Emeka Nzewi, who was arrested alongside a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who cooked the illicit drug for him, on September 30.

 

Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday 30th September stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin. A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg, which contains 13, 451, 466 pills of the drug while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day

“Before his arrest, Ugochukwu who hails from Ihiala local government area of Anambra state has been on the Agency’s watchlist as one of those behind the Tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.

 

“Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC, one of which he uses to warehouse the Tramadol consignment, while he lives in the one at Plot Z-130 Road 67 and another as his office.

 

“Five exotic vehicles have also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs including a bullet proof jeep have been successfully removed to the Agency’s facility.

 

“Reacting to the latest drug haul, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.) commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence while also appreciating Nigerians for supporting the Agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

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Dangote Cement Allegedly ForgedTax Receipt To Deceive Kogi Getovernment 

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The Kogi State Government through its agency Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) has accused Dangote Cement Plc Obajana of forging its tax receipt.

 

The acting Chairman of KGIRS, Salisu Enehe, disclosed this during the ongoing investigative hearing by the State House of Assembly ad hoc Committee on revenue at the Assembly Complex in Lokoja.

 

Enehe was responding to the claim by the committee that the company had paid over 14 billion tax to the Agency between 2016 till date.

 

According to the state revenue boss, most of the figures the company claimed to have paid are totally incorrect, urging the company to check its record.

 

He said despite the billions of naira that company is making from the state monthly, it has failed to pay taxes that are due the state and Lokoja Local Government Area.

 

Enehe said instead of doing the needful, the Dangote company approached the court to stale payment of taxes that are legally passed by the state assembly and assented to by the governor.

 

He noted that the lack of tax payment has slowed down the development of the state.

 

Also speaking, the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Olofu, said Dangote company has refused to pay for business premises in the last two years.

 

Olusegun Ogunbanjo, the Head of Accounts of the Company told the committee that the company had paid N14billion tax from 2016 till date.

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