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When it comes to internet penetration and adoption of mobile payments, most African countries are still very much below the global average. Even where the internet penetration is improving, the mobile payments adoption rate is still low, meaning an overall lag. For instance, in Kenya where mobile payment adoption is most on the continent, only about 23.1% of the internet users actually use mobile payment methods.

 

So, even though the internet infrastructure allows business owners access a wide market, mostly outside their location, sending and receiving payments with ease still remains a struggle for many. But this is only for businesses that are not taking advantage of Squad – the newly launched Integrated Payment Solution that is set to revolutionise digital payments in Africa.

 

Squad is a payment service that is set to drive the future of mobile payments in the African Continent. If you have imagined an Africa where every payment is digital, it is an Africa where every business uses Squad. The features show that this might be the most online and offline payments option for merchants.

 

Squad will be empowering businesses by taking care of their payment problems and helping to make every payment digital whether it is made online or offline. It features offline as well as online payment acquisition channels like the Payment Gateway and the Soft POS. If you are worried about getting or handling a POS, the software Point of Sale (Soft POS) allows merchants and vendors to accept payments directly on their phone or device without the need for any additional software. And isn’t this what every merchant needs?

 

Also, there are several value-added services like the bulk payment collection, automated reconciliation of offline and online payments, fraud prevention tools and instant settlement among others.

 

There is a need to get on board the use of Squad considering the need to adopt more cashless based transactions in Africa, growing cases of transmittable diseases, tightened cash liquidity, insecurity amongst others.

 

The best way to sum it is that Squad is the one-stop payment solution for every business in Africa. Squad is that single product that brings technology and user experience and satisfaction for a meet-and-greet. The features are designed for and targeted at micro and small business owners like Kiosk owners and petty traders, medium business owners like digital sellers, online vendors; Tech talents; and even big enterprises.

 

It is interesting to note that the adoption of cashless based transaction help businesses especially small and medium scale enterprises to increase their top line (revenue). According to a survey by Khatabook, about 45% of SMEs report a boost in sales after adopting mobile or digital payment services.

 

Therefore, with Squad bringing in a solution that features ease, convenience, and security from fraud, businesses can jump on this train and improve their chances of success.

 

It makes so much sense that such a product is coming from Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO). Indeed, if any brand has the relevant pieces to define new frontiers in payment and dominate the payments landscape in Africa, it is GTCO.

 

The GTCO Squad behind Squad

Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc is a fully fledged financial services group, on a mission to make financial services accessible to all Africans. GTCO Plc metamorphosed from Guaranty Trust Bank Ltd which has really been around since the 1990s, and now present in several African countries including Uganda, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Kenya.

 

In June 2011, Segun Agbaje took over as Chief Executive of the Bank and since then led the team to blaze a trail in innovation and efficiency. Within the space of a decade, Agbaje raised the Bank’s profit by N1.3 trillion and expanded the balance sheet by 12.07% on average annual growth. The assessment indices show positive growth for the financial institution not just in Nigeria, but in every African country where GTCO is present.

 

Shareholder’s wealth has also seen a major boost during the period with total equity rising from N230.393 billion in 2011 to N814.395 billion in 2021, an average 13.46% growth per annum. Earnings per share also grew 15.45% on the cumulative average growth rate, from N1.69 per share outstanding in 2011 to N7.11 in 2020. Total assets grew by at least by 12.07% annually in the decade, from N1.598 billion in 2011 to N4.944 trillion in 2020.

 

What we can all attest to is that the numbers don’t lie, and GTCO has a track record filled with numbers that demonstrate efficiency and profitability, even in the face of the harsh and challenging economy which crumbled several other businesses. Only a formidable leadership could have sustained such records.

 

GTCO has always had a digital-first, customer-centric strategy that builds digital products and to help individuals and businesses thrive. Expectedly, the bank was recipient of several awards at the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in conjunction with the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). The bank clinched 8 out of the 13 awards available for the banking industry at the 2019 EPIS Efficiency Awards including Best Customer Experience Award; Cashless Driver, Point of Sale (POS) Transactions; Real-Time Payments Transaction Efficiency; Cashless Driver, USSD Channel Champion among others.

 

The Holding company is now home to several trusted brands that are driving innovation and creating viral product adoption, ensuring great experiences and growing valuable customer engagement. Squad is only the latest addition to this list.

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Business

BUA Group Threatens To Sue GREENVILLE LNG Gas Company – For Breach Of Multimillion Dollar Contract

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Two years after it was slammed with a $9m claim for breaching contract by a US Court, Greenville LNG company is on the brink of another lawsuit in its supply dealings with Nigerian-based manufacturing giant, BUA Group.

 

Owned by Eddy Van Den Broeke , a Belgian cement magnate, *Greenville* is the pioneer Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production and distribution company in Nigeria with three liquefaction trains and a total capacity to produce 2250 MT of LNG per day.

 

The company, which was incorporated in 2013, prides itself for producing and marketing Liquefied Natural Gas to customers across Nigeria since April 2019.

 

It should be noted that the company is a Nigerian subsidiary of the International Engineering & Construction (IEC), a Luxembourg-based construction company.

 

However, in 2018, there were reports of how *Broeke* was struggling to get his LNG project off the ground in Nigeria and also facing a $9m claim from his subcontractor Baker Hughes.

 

How it started

 

In 2014, IEC through Greenville LNG entered into an agreement with Baker Hughes Energy Services LLC, formerly known as GE Oil & Gas (GEOG), for the purchase and installation of two small-scale liquified natural gas plants in Rumuji, Rivers State, Nigeria.

 

According to the documents obtained by POLITICS NIGERIA, GEOG agreed to supply IEC with two small-scale liquified natural gas production plants — the first by June 24, 2015, and the second by September 24, 2015— for use at the Rumuji Site.

 

In exchange, IEC agreed to pay GEOG $95 million. Both parties also agreed on a payment schedule, which would require IEC to pay various percentages of the $95 million at specific milestones.

 

It was stated that the agreement would be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of New York.

 

Unfortunately, GEOG failed to deliver the gas plants by their contractual delivery deadlines and this stalled installation, commissioning, and start-up of the Plants.

 

Arbitration

 

On July 31, 2018, IEC filed a Notice of Demand for and Commencement of Arbitration under the Contracts on behalf of itself and Greenville.

 

IEC initially sought approximately $75 million in damages but its demand increased to $700 million by the end of the arbitration.

 

The $700m claims included the liquidated damages for delayed delivery and damages associated with the delayed entry into operation of the gas plants.

 

But GEOG also filed counterclaims against IEC for breach of the contracts, asking for damages up to $40.1 million.

 

In 2020, the American Tribunal gave its verdict, ordering IEC and Greenville to pay GEOG over $9.5m for breaching contracts.

 

The Tribunal held that IEC had breached the Equipment Contract by failing to make two Milestone payments.

 

Dissatisfied with the judgement, On January 27, 2021, IEC filed a petition to vacate the Award in New York state court but the court rejected IEC’s arguments.

 

“In short, due to the strong deference owed to the decisions of arbitrators, the Court is compelled to reject IEC’s arguments and confirm the Award,” the court ruled.

 

*Poor Ethics/Underhand Business Practices*

 

It is believed that the posture of the company and record of breaching contract is owing to its owner’s secretive and shady business activities. Prior to setting up Greenville, Eddy Van Den Broeke ran ASCA bitumen from 1996 and grew the company into becoming a giant monopoly with over 90% of the Nigerian market by 2015.

 

Through this position, he was famed to hold everyone to ransom through alleged arbitrary price increases, artificial scarcity, amongst others. Eddy Broeke’s families were one of six of Belgium’s wealthiest families that featured on the Panama Papers, a cross-border investigation that revealed a list of thousands of people who channelled funds to tax havens.

 

“The family of *Eddy* *Van* *Den* *Broeke* , who turned the Eres company into an international player, is also mentioned. Eddy Van Den Broeke is identified as the sole beneficiary of at least five offshore companies in the BVI,” the ICIJ report read.

 

Eddy was named in the Panama Papers having had an extensive network of shell companies to hide his funds and avoid government oversight.

 

*Another multi-million dollar breach of contract suit looming*

 

Our investigations also revealed that recently, BUA, which is one of Greenville’s largest clients, is set to sue Greenville for 50 billion Naira for a possible breach in contract and reneging on its obligation to supply gas to its businesses in the far north.

 

According to sources, this dispute is as a result of Greenville LNG reneging on their contract with BUA to supply gas and also increasing prices arbitrarily despite the contractually agreed oil-indexed pricing for any changes in price.

 

Industry watchers1 have claimed that Greenville is trying to take advantage of its near monopoly in the domestic trucked LNG market hence their habit of entering into contracts and reneging on it after starting.

 

With Eddy and his companies’ history of reneging on contracts entered into with the Federal Government, partners, suppliers, communities and clients, it is unlikely that Greenville LNG or its billionaire owner *Eddy* and Managing Director , *Ritu* *Sahajwalla* would stop such behaviour anytime soon.

 

Experts familiar with BUA’s history of ensuring its rights are enforced, believe BUA will pursue this issue to a logical conclusion at the courts and till their rights are enforced.

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Yemisi Imasi, CEO of Yellowpoint Group Declared Wanted by Nigeria Police For Fraud

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The Nigeria Police Force has declared Victoria Yemisi Imasi, CEO of Yellowpoint Group wanted.

 

The warrant of arrest was issued by the Magistrate/High Court of Lagos, according to the special police Gazette .

 

The publication shows that the 46-year-old is wanted for fraud, obtaining money under false pretense, and stealing in Lagos by the assistant inspector general of the police Criminal Investigation Department, (FCID) Alagbon, Ikoyi – Lagos.

 

*Sketchy* *operations* : The development followed a petition by Chive GPS, a dispute resolution company that provides debt recovery solutions on issues bothering on obtaining money by false pretense and fraud against Imasi.

 

The debt recovery company had laid a criminal complaint, dated 16th July 2021, of a well-orchestrated theft by Imasi following an advert by her company, Yellow Point Media Enterprise, and Yellow Point FT International Ltd on social media channels.

 

One of the affected victims suffered a N47.73 million loss after transferring the money to different accounts operated by Imasi’s company with the intention of investing genuinely in the various investment packages in exchange for a fixed return.

 

Amount owed to subscribers: While the exact amount owed to all subscribers is unknown yet, reports indicate that the amount owed may sum up to billions of Naira.

 

On a platform, victims claim that over N10 billion was deceitfully and fraudulently collected from over 6000 Nigerians with the intention of trading forex.

 

The petition signed by 689 users as of press time accuses Yemisi of diverting the money to fund her lavish lifestyle and buying properties.

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