Christian Girl Kidnapped And Forced To Convert To Islam Is Now Back – (PHOTOS)

– Latest report as the Christian girl, Parmata Abdulkarim Misari, that was said to have gone missing from Government Secondary School Kongo, Zaria, (a boarding school in Kaduna state) on the 20th of July, 2018, has been freed. She regained her freedom from her alleged abductors on Thursday,16th of August, 2018 (yesterday).

It will be recalled that on the 7th of August, 2018, the Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO), officially published Parmata’s story.

It was reported that the JSS 3 schoolgirl allegedly went missing since July 20th, 2018 and the school authorities claimed to know nothing about it.

The girl’s parents, Mr. Abdulkarim and Mrs Hauwa Misari, were living with the assumption that their daughter was schooling and secured in the Boarding House, until they met with the strangest news of their lives, as they were told that their daughter is missing and that the entire School management was not aware until after four days.

On reaching the School, the School Matron went into the hostel to check for her and later came back to tell them that their daughter is not in the Hostel, but she is “within the Kongo neighborhood”. The Matron suggested that the principal of the school should be aware of the whereabouts of the missing girl.

On reaching the principal’s house, she said that she was just hearing the news for the first time. That was how Parmata’s Parents were left stranded with no one to tell them what happened to their daughter, and so decided to seek for the intervention of the Kaduna State Police Commissioner.

According to HAFCO, on the 20th of August, Parmata’s Matron, called her and gave her an exit gate pass to go home, on the ground that Parmata’s mum was very ill and that she should go home and see her mother. (Which was actually a lie).

On that very day, Parmata decided to go home and see her ill mother as was instructed by her Matron. On reaching the School gate, Parmata saw her Classmate together with a Young Man with a Motorcycle. The Classmate called Parmata and told her that the man with the motorcycle was the man she was to follow that will take her home.

When She boarded the bike, the man took her straight to the village head of Tukur-Tukur Zaria. Thereafter, the village head, the district head and other Islamic leaders detained her, forcefully converted her to Islam, Changed her name from Parmata to Fatima, kept her with them and were homeschooling her on the tenants and rudiments of Islam as in new convert.

The Kaduna State Police command has been up and doing on the matter that even took them to Kano to trace Parmata’s whereabouts.

On 15th of August, 2018 at around 9:30pm they eventually uncovered where Parmata was kept. Parmata was kept under the custody of the Village head’s wife who barely fed her one meal per day.

Parmata has not only gone through psychological trauma, but was subjected to inhumane treatment to the point that she has to go through medical and spiritual rehabilitation.

The most painful of all is that Parmata has missed her JSSCE and is likely to repeat a year in that same class for her inability to write the exams with her fellow classmates.

Parmata was officially handed back to her Parents on 16th August, 2018, and she is currently undergoing some rehabilitation and medical treatments.

CBN injects $210m into forex market


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday injected $210 million into the inter-bank Foreign Exchange (forex) Market. The move was meant to boost forex availability and also meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.

At the forex trading, the CBN offered $100 million to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received $55 million. Customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles, such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated $55 million.

The bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department (CCD), Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the figures and reassured the public that the bank would continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market in line with its quest to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

He added that the steps taken so far by the bank in the management of forex had paid off, as reflected by reduction in the country’s import bills and accretion to its foreign reserves.

Meanwhile, the naira exchange rate remained stable in the forex market, exchanging at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market on Tuesday.

Calvert Impact Capital Announces the Closing of a $5 Million Loan to One Acre Fund; Capital to Benefit Small Farms in East Africa

Loan Provides a Critical Source of Credit to Help Small-Scale Farmers Establish Pathways to Greater Prosperity

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Calvert Impact Capital (formerly Calvert Foundation), the mission-driven investor dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable world, announced today the closing of a $5 million loan to One Acre Fund, a non-profit social enterprise that supplies financing and training to support smallholders in East Africa (small farms that rely mainly on family labor). Calvert Impact Capital is lending to One Acre Fund to purchase agricultural and clean energy products, which will be provided to farmers on credit. Over the next three years, One Acre Fund expects to reach more than one million farmers, pilot programs in new countries, and scout out several other country locations in Asia and Africa.

Most small-scale farmers do not have access to credit, high-quality seed & fertilizer, agricultural training, and fair market prices. One Acre Fund’s unique services were developed by working directly with farmers in the communities in which they operate. Their approach is a cost-effective and scalable way to help improve the lives of farm families across East Africa.

“Smallholder farmers need improved access to high-quality inputs, financing, and agricultural training to achieve food security and prosperity in their homes,” said Jenya Shandina, senior manager at One Acre Fund. “Our partnership with Calvert Impact Capital will enable us to deliver services to more farmers, helping create futures of big harvests, healthy families, and rich soils.”

“This is a great opportunity for us to increase our exposure to the sustainable agriculture sector and strengthen our relationship with One Acre Fund, an organization with deep sector and regional expertise,” said Songbae Lee, Director of Investments at Calvert Impact Capital. He added, “We are excited to provide capital to enable them to expand the products they can offer to communities and increase their impact on the ground.”

About One Acre Fund

One Acre Fund is a nonprofit social enterprise that supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Through a complete bundle of services offered on credit, the organization distributes quality farm inputs to the remote areas where farmers live, trains farmers on agricultural techniques, and educates them on how to minimize post-harvest losses and maximize market prices. The organization currently serves more than 600,000 farming families in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Calvert Impact Capital (formerly Calvert Foundation) invests to create a more equitable and sustainable world. Through our products and services, we raise capital from individual and institutional investors to finance intermediaries and funds that are investing in communities left out of traditional capital markets. During our 22-year history, we have mobilized nearly $2 billion of investor capital. Calvert Impact Capital has recently expanded our services to include loan syndications, where we originate, structure and administer loans for institutional and accredited investors seeking environmental and social impact. Since the launch, we have syndicated and/or administered more than $165 million of capital across ten transactions.

Nigeria deep in $30tr global loss to inequality

AUGUST 06, 2018

By Chijioke Nelson, Asst. Editor, Finance/Economy

An economist and former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, once said: “Income inequality is troubling because, among other things, it means that many people in our society do not have the opportunities to advance themselves….No economy can succeed without a high quality workforce, particularly in an age of globalisation and technical change.”

The Late Nelson Mandela, added: “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest…Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

There have been observed lack of will and in some places, near lack of strategy to bring effective legacies to reality.

This has not been without consequences and a roily challenge for the “struggling” developing countries, which Nigeria is one, according to assessments.

Each year, the global indices on inequality keep rising, perhaps geometrically, while relative successes in closing the gaps assume an arithmetic progression.

A new World Bank report said between $15 trillion and $30 trillion worth of lifetime productivity and earnings, is now in the drains and facilitated by limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education.

Recently, the World Bank Group, in a report titled: “Unrealised Potential: The High Cost of Gender Inequality in Earnings,” said that about 141 countries are losing $160 trillion in wealth because of inequality, resulting to differences in lifetime earnings between women and men.

The loss amounts to an average of $23,620 for each person in the 141 countries, being the economic cost of gender inequality in lost human capital.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the losses are estimated at $2.5 trillion and many countries in the sub-region host millions of girls, whose average educational attainment remains lower than boys and adult women are less literate than men. Nigeria remains the epicenter in the sub-region.

Described as missed opportunities, the high cost of not educating the girl-child, estimated at less than two-thirds in low-income countries, who complete primary school; and only one-third that completes lower secondary school, is now stoking the global losses.

“On average, women, who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn almost twice as much as those with no education,” the report said.

In Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) affirmed that the literacy rate among young women and men age 15 to 24 years in 2017, was 59.3 per cent and 70.9 per cent respectively.

This record of 59.3 per cent for women confirms the assessment of the World Bank that less two-third of women complete their basic education.

“Available data from the Federal Ministry of Education shows that enrollment rate of school- aged girls in primary education was 48.6 per cent in 2014, but it decreased to 47.3 in 2015 and slightly bounced back to 47.5 in 2016.

The completion rate for girls in primary, junior and senior secondary school in 2016, was 64.8 per cent, 38.9 per cent and 28.7 per cent respectively, showing a decreased completion rate as the student progresses,” NBS stated.

A string of positive effects of secondary school education for girls include a wide range of social and economic benefits for them, their children and communities, particularly, a near-elimination of child marriage; lowering fertility rates by a third in countries with high population growth; and reducing child mortality and malnutrition.

The World Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva, said: “We cannot keep letting gender inequality get in the way of global progress. Inequality in education is yet another fixable issue that is costing the world trillions.

It is time to close the gender gap in education and give girls and boys an equal chance to succeed, for the good of everyone.”

Over the past two decades many countries have reached universal primary education, and girls’ enrollment at the primary level in developing countries rivals that of boys.

But much larger benefits of education, as the analysis finds, would come from completing secondary school.

“When 130 million girls are unable to become engineers or journalists or chief executives because education is out of their reach, our world misses out on trillions of dollars that could strengthen the global economy, public health and stability.

“If leaders are serious about building a better world, they need to start with serious investments in girls’ secondary education.

This report is more proof that we cannot afford to delay investing in girls,” the Malala Fund co-founder and Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, said. Nigeria and the numbers

Today, some 132 million girls around the world between the ages of six and 17 are still not in school- 75 per cent of them are adolescents.

By assessment and admittance, even from government’s officials, Nigeria is home to the largest population of out-of-school children in the world.

Of these, according to 2013 National Demographic Health Survey, about 20 million adolescent girls are very low educated, especially those from the lowest wealth quintiles in the society.

About 60 per cent of the assessed 10.5 million out-of-school children are girls, estimated at about 5.5 million. Invariably, Nigeria is home to about 7.9 million out-of-school children

• : Despite efforts to promote the contributions of women in socio-economic domain, women have continued to record low representation at all tiers and levels, notwithstanding their numbers.

Findings reveal that men constitute 94.71 per cent and female 5.76 per cent at the National Parliament from 1999 to 2015.

At the federal courts, 29.38% of judges were female while 70.62 percent were male, according to 2011–2016 National Judicial Council.

• : Life expectancy is an important health indicator and indices in the Global Human Development Index.

It is derived from the age-specific mortality rates, and it provides a picture of the overall health status of a population, allowing for the investigation of the longevity of women and men separately.

The percentage of women living with HIV was increasing slowly from 51.7 per cent in 2013 to 53.1 per cent in 2016, but that of men was decreasing slowly from 48.3 per cent in 2013 to 46.9 per cent in 2016 (NACA).

To reap the full benefits of education, countries need to improve both access and quality so that all girls have the opportunity to learn.

The report pointed out that these investments are especially, crucial in some regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where on average, only 40 per cent of girls, complete lower secondary school.

Countries also need policies, as well as effective implementations, to support healthy economic growth that will generate jobs for an expanding educated workforce.

“Better education for girls makes them more likely to participate fully in society and be active members of their community.

Educating girls and promoting gender equality is part of a broader and holistic effort at the World Bank, which includes financing and analytical work to remove financial barriers that keep girls out-of-school, prevent child marriage, improve access to reproductive health services, and strengthen skills and job opportunities for adolescent girls and young women.

“Since 2016, the World Bank has invested more than $3.2 billion in education projects benefiting adolescent girls,” the report noted. Earnings implications

Indeed, the recently released Pension Asset and Membership Data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that out of the 1,931,222 civil servants in the federal employment, 525, 930 are women, leaving 1,405,292 positions for men, affirming the differences raised by the World Bank.

Besides, discrimination and social norms shape the terms of female labour force participation and many girls are married or have children before the age of 18, a disadvantage that translates into substantial gender gaps in earnings.

Consequently, globally, women account for only 38 per cent of human capital wealth against 62 per cent for men.

In the NBS report on sub-national (state) employment, out of 1,585,651 civil servants captured in the data, about 696,466 are women, while 889,185 are men, an indication of sustained gender gap.

In the private sector, the pension membership data showed 4,459,103 employees, out of which, only 1,111,804 are women, while 3,347,229 are men, an indication of a ratio of about 3-to-1 in favour of men.

An aggregation of the public and private sectors’ numbers showed 7,975,976 employees in the data, out of which 2,334,200 are women and 5,641,776 are men, representing about 70 per cent in favour of male employment over women.

Consequently, with the Pension Fund Asset Under Management as at first quarter of 2018 standing at N7.943 trillion, the lifetime labour earnings of these women with regards to pension as at date amount to about 30 per cent of the figure.

Participants within the age distribution of 30-39 years and 40-49 years, which is regarded as the active age, have the highest percentage composition of the pension contribution.

Conversely, women’s participation in these distributions suffered great loss in number, as men dominated, with more than two million employees above women.

Emphasizing the economic benefits of developing women and ensuring equal opportunities, an online report by TRENDS, quoted the Chairman of Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Hussain AlNowais, as saying: “They are very successful businesswomen today.

I see no difference between men and women. Irrespective of gender, what we look for is capability, competency, commitment and passion.

“I am also proud to say that women honor their commitment in repaying loans more than men do.”

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has severally harped on improving women’s lots in the socio-economic arena and supported the view that they are better obligors than men.

To buttress his belief, he has advanced some policies aimed at bringing the majority to formal financial services, especially improving their access to credit to enable them play their expected role in economic development and canvassed more roles at top level corporate world too.

The N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, scripted by the banker, had 60 per cent of the Fund exclusively reserved for women-based enterprises.

He insisted that CBN recognises the fact that gender equality and diversity were powerful tools for economic growth and has institutionalised policies and programmes to overcome some of the barriers that were hampering women from rising to the top of their careers.

But the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr, Aisha Mahmood, said that women hold the “key” to the economic development of Nigeria, adding: “It has been proven that women have immense potential as engines of growth and economic development…empowering them becomes beneficial to the society at large.”

South Africa’s rand retreats in global risk-off, stocks fall

By Reuters

August 6, 2018

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 6 (Reuters) – South Africa’s rand weakened on Monday as emerging markets were knocked by a retreat in risk demand, with investors opting for safe bets as trade tensions rose between Washington and Beijing.

At 1500 GMT the rand was 0.49 percent weaker at 13.4000 per dollar compared to Friday close of 13.3350.

The greenback was up 0.24 percent against a basket of currencies as trade commenced in New York, in a widely expected resumption of a rally driven mainly by rising lending rates and faster economic growth.

The rand has seen volatile trade over the past week, breaking through the 13.10 level to a seven-week best before sliding back to near 13.50, an inflection point traders have targeted to gauge the currency’s longer term trend.

“The whole global trade/growth thing is the catalyst for investors to favour the dollar when headlines become unsavoury,” Warrick Butler, chief trader at Standard Bank,said in a note.

“So what we have is a couple of days where a quiet news world pushed people into risk and then smash, a shocker headline pushes everyone back into the dollar.”

On Monday Chinese state media lambasted U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies, further stoking concerns the tariff spat may spill over into a full blown trade war, knocking over the recovery in global growth that has supported emerging currencies.

South African bonds were softer, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 up 5 basis points to 8.735 percent.

On the bourse, the blue-chip Top-40 index closed 0.4 percent lower at 50,784 points, while the broader All-Share index fell 0.45 percent to 56,861 points.

“The JSE closed weaker on financials and banks as the rand takes a knock as the dollar strengthens. Today was the lowest volume traded day for 2018 so far,” said an Avior Capital Markets trader in a note.

The rand-sensitive bank sector traded lower, with the index ending the session 2.09 percent down.

ABSA Group dropped 2.98 percent to 166.43 rand after it reported a 4 percent fall in half-year profit, weighed down by costs related to its separation from former parent Barclays.

ArcelorMittal South Africa gained over 17 percent, extending a surge as rebar steel prices approached a more than five-year high.

Seven banks make N8.58bn fresh investments in software


AUGUST 06, 2018

 examines how huge investments in software by Nigerian banks are shaping the delivery of innovative banking products to drive efficient financial transactions and guard against cyberattacks

A total of seven Deposit Money Banks reported fresh investments worth N8.58bn in software in the first three months of the year in order to deliver seamless banking services to customers.

Findings by The PUNCH showed that in the first quarter of the previous year, the same banks spent N8.22bn on computer software developed within and outside the country.

The banks surveyed are Access Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (the parent company of Ecobank Nigeria) and Jaiz Bank Plc.

Experts note that software, which forms a critical asset of the financial institutions to carry out transactions and protect customers’ funds, is usually upgraded every four to five years.

Commercial banks in the country have increasingly deployed technology to ease banking transactions, with many of them recently introducing chatbots on their social media platforms, including banking services on WhatsApp.

An analysis of the first quarter unaudited annual reports of the banks ending March 31, 2018 showed that the software procurement spending of Ecobank was the highest during the period, recording N4.32bn in the first three months of the year.

This amount represents 495 per cent of its increase in software investment as against N725.4m in the first quarter of the previous year.

To drive digital banking services, Access Bank deployed new software worth N2.62bn, against N2.57bn in the first quarter of the previous year.

Zenith Bank’s investment of N1.41bn in software in the first three months of the year reduced by 16 per cent compared to N1.68bn in the same period of 2017.

The GTB’s software purchase dropped by 97 per cent from N2.73bn spent in the first quarter of 2017 to N86.79m in the first three months of this year.

Jaiz Bank, which invested N139.33m in the procurement of software in the first three months of 2017, reported a reduction by 57 per cent in software spending (N59.39m) from January to March 2018.

According to the Sterling Bank’s financial statement, N7m was invested in procuring new software in the period under review as against N45m in the first quarter of 2017.

The FCMB’s spending on computer software dropped by 76 per cent from N329m in the first quarter of 2017 to N78.64m in the three months ended March 31, 2018.

The Managing Director, BCX, an end-to-end digital solutions company, Mr Ayo Adegboye, attributed the huge investments in banking technology to a change in customers’ behaviour as a result of an increase in Internet penetration, smartphone and technology adoption and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy.

As such, he said banks were forced to redesign the delivery of their banking services, embrace digital and give new definition to customer experience.

According to him, the renewed demand for continuous innovation has to be delivered by software from reputable providers.

“These providers should be one that offer flexible and functional solutions that can be easily updated or upgraded without having to initiate overwhelming projects for upgrade task, which can often prevent or delay prompt update or upgrade,” Adegboye stated.

The BCX MD stressed that it was important for banking applications to be up-to-date so as to mitigate against the constant evolving threats facing financial institutions as they were mostly targeted by hackers stealing customers’ information or slowing down banking operations.

“It is crucial not to neglect update of banking software as it makes the system an easy target for cyberattacks. I know of some Original Equipment Manufacturers that publish security advisory notes to their partners, customers and distributors as often as required and provide software updates that address known vulnerabilities,” Adegoye added.

He said emerging technologies that would shape innovation in banks in the coming years were clouding computing, big data and analytics, robotics process automation, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.

The Managing Director, Upperlink Limited, a software development firm, Mr Segun Akano, noted that banking operations had gone beyond brick and mortar, with customers preferring online transactions.

According to him, banks have been able to reduce investments in establishing branches and have started spending more on technology that will facilitate online transactions.

“Banking operations are going beyond the physical structures to online. And to offer efficient services online, they need to invest in software that will make it easy for customers to use. A lot of them use Microsoft servers and operating system, and they need to pay service charge yearly to vendors on their core banking software,” Akano said.

The Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, Dr Ibrahim DanAzumi, said over 90 per cent of the country’s economy was supported by foreign software.

He said that NOTAP, as a regulatory agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating the inflow of foreign technologies into the country, was sad looking at the amount of money that was leaving the country as payment for foreign software.

To encourage indigenous development of software, DanAzumi said the agency introduced local vendor policy, whereby the foreign software developers must engage local vendors during deployment and maintenance of the software.

He added that the policy stipulated that since software agreement usually lasted for only one year, 40 per cent of the yearly maintenance fees must go to local software developers.

He stated that the idea behind the policy was to give the local software developers the financial leverage to engage in further research in order to upgrade their inventions to meet global standards.

The NOTAP DG further stated that some indigenous software developers had started enjoying the benefits of the policy.

South Africa’s Biggest Bank Heist Leaves Trail of Destruction

South Africa’s biggest bank heist took place without a single shot being fired.

Thieves armed with explosives and assault rifles attacked dozens of armored vehicles delivering cash to the country’s lenders last year, stealing hundreds of millions of rand. They’ve allegedly been outdone by five bankers accused of siphoning off at least 1.5 billion rand ($114 million) from VBS Mutual Bank.

The collapse of the seventh-smallest of South Africa’s 21 banks has left a trail of destruction, with customers queuing up outside branches before dawn in the hope of accessing their funds. Like Mulalo Ramano, a 72-year-old widow who’s suffered anxiety attacks fretting about the 20,000-rand life savings she deposited at the bank.

“My heart beats so so fast, it feels like it’s going to pop out,” a frail Ramano said July 14 as she waited outside a branch of VBS in Thohoyandou in northeastern South Africa. She was among dozens of people lined up to trying to get their money back from the lender that collapsed in March.

The scandal has claimed the jobs of senior managers at KPMG South Africa and the Public Investment Corp., Africa’s largest money manager. It’s also put at risk 1.65 billion rand of illegal deposits made by 13 already cash-strapped municipalities, which the government has said won’t be bailed out.

‘Biggest Frauds’

The scale of the fraud is more than three times the size of the 10 biggest cash-in-transit heists pulled off by armed attackers last year, when they netted 456 million rand, according to Interpol data published by the Johannesburg-based TimesLive news website.

“It probably is the biggest bank heist in South Africa by bankers,” said Kuben Naidoo, the registrar of banks and a deputy governor of the central bank, who described VBS as a Ponzi scheme. “It certainly is one of the biggest banks frauds that we’ve seen in South Africa.”

Nedbank Group Ltd., South Africa’s fourth-biggest bank, with support from the central bank, has stepped in to help with payouts for VBS customers.

VBS’s history stretches back to 1982, when racist laws were in full force and black South Africans had little or no access to finance. Burial societies established the Venda Building Society to offer impoverished communities a way to set aside money for funerals.

The bank shot to prominence in 2016, when it loaned former President Jacob Zuma almost 8 million rand to reimburse taxpayer money spent on upgrades to his private home. At the time, Zuma was facing accusations of allowing his friends the Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments and unfairly win state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

‘White Banks’

South Africa’s biggest lenders reacted to the corruption allegations by closing down all accounts linked to the Guptas. That triggered a backlash, with Zuma’s supporters calling for a boycott of what they labeled “white banks.” Municipalities came under pressure from some politicians to instead place their money with black-owned banks like VBS — in contravention of laws that prohibit mutual banks from taking municipal deposits, according to Naidoo.

“There was an element of politicization of the bank,” he said. “There was certainly political pressure on municipalities to take money from so-called white banks and put it in black banks.”

The trigger that sent the bank into administration in March, and offered the first glimpse of its liquidity crisis, was its inability to honor an obligation to a municipality the previous month.

‘Fabricated Accounts’

“It took deposits, gave the money to directors and shareholders and their associates and companies, and then it needed to pay back deposits so it had to get more deposits in,” Naidoo said, describing the structure of the Ponzi scheme.

An investigation by SizweNtsalubaGobodo, the administrator, blamed VBS Chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi and four others for the bank’s collapse. They defrauded depositors by fabricating accounts, creating fictitious deposits, bribing officials at other organizations, transferring funds to themselves and buying bank assets that weren’t recorded, including a helicopter, according to Anoosh Rooplal, the bank’s curator.

Matodzi didn’t immediately respond to a call to his mobile phone or a text message when Bloomberg sought comment. RW Attorneys, who have represented another VBS-linked company where Matodzi was chairman, said they don’t have a mandate to act for him or Vele Investments, the biggest shareholder in the bank.

‘Heads Held High’

Matodzi said in a signed letter to Naidoo in March, which Naidoo included in court papers, that his VBS team would “leave the space with our heads held high knowing that we achieved what was considered impossible. In the end, we were faced with a well organized and powerful system which does not tolerate growing black banks and black excellence.”

Back in Thohoyandou, Terrence Mulaudzi, 23, hustles through the streets of the town, selling everything he can — from belts to mobile-phone SIM cards — to eke out an existence. His extended family has been a victim of the bank’s collapse.

“Everyone in my family is affected, from my dad to my cousins,” he said. “We trusted the bank and the system to look after us, and now to discover we have been throwing money into a bottomless pit and for thieves to enjoy.”

— With assistance by Rene Vollgraaff, and Loni Prinsloo

Inside the British company that’s designed more than a third of the world’s cash

One of De La Rue’s designs commemorated the birthday of the late South African president Nelson Mandela

CBS News

In the U.S., the government prints stamps, paper money and passports, but that’s not the case for much of the rest of the world. Many nations have these items created by a single private firm based just outside London. CBS News’ Roxana Saberi goes inside De La Rue, a company that’s been in business for more than two centuries and is known for offering clients both style and security.

Some of De La Rue’s designs include the Fijian dollar and the Seychellois rupee

CBS News

Big Ben turns to gold and turtles take a ride in wallets when designers at British company De La Rue transform ideas into money.

“Beneath the pretty designs is a piece of national infrastructure. Economies rest on banknotes,” De La Rue creative director Julian Payne told CBS News’ Roxana Saberi.

De La Rue has designed more than a third of the world’s bills, from the U.K.’s sterling to the Seychelles’ rupee and the Fijian dollar. While most Americans use credit cards, 30 percent of the world’s adults don’t even have a bank account

“You have to understand how people use their money. This is an example of how some people fold money in sub-Saharan Africa, and then it’s stored interesting places as well. So they’ll store it in clothes, in their underwear, in their shoes,” Payne said.

Meaning it has to be durable. It also has to be complex enough to stay a step ahead of counterfeiters. As Payne put it, their job is to make the money “uneconomic to copy.”

The company’s own team of hackers tries to copy the designs which often involve sophisticated security details like holograms and ultra violet imaging. Head designer Steve Pond said balancing security with durability and design isn’t easy.

“You’re trying to pack a lot of stuff into a very small space. You’re trying to be technically competent, you’re trying to be innovative….It challenges you. you’re only as good as your last jobs,” Pond said.

De La Rue also tries to address what’s happening in that country. They reflected the low-lying Maldives’ concerns about the environment by featuring a turtle in their design and helped commemorate the 100th birthday of the late Nelson Mandela.

“Every country has their heroes and wants them portrayed in a way that is respectful. In a way that also symbolizes and summarizes in a simple way that people can just get,” Payne said.

Sometimes though, people just want to forget and move on. When Saddam Hussein fell in 2003, De La Rue drew up new Iraqi bills without his image. They designed and printed new bills for the country in record time.

The company also marked the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with a limited edition bill to raise money for charity. And when designs like these come together, Pond says, the payoff is priceless.

“As a designer of bank notes, you get to see people holding your art every day,” Pond said. “You know it’s a fantastic thing.”

World Bank plans to raise funding for Nigeria

World Bank Plans to Raise Funding for Nigeria by $4.5 Billion – BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 03, 2018


•  Bank expects to put $2.5 billion in projects in 18 months

•  Nigeria plans to boost spending in roads, rail, ports, power

The  plans to increase its funding to Nigeria by $4.5 billion over the next three years to support projects in the power and health industries and in governance, the lender’s vice president for Africa said.

“This is indicative — in the next 18 months or so, we expect to put in place projects for around $2.5 billion,” Hafez Ghanem said in an interview Thursday in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. “We are thinking about financing more investments in power and the area of social protection.” The Washington-based institution currently has 30 projects estimated at $10 billion in Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in June signed the country’s 9.1 trillion-naira ($25 billion) budget for 2018, the biggest yet, to boost infrastructure investment in Africa’s top oil producer, and support economic recovery. The  forecast Nigeria’s economy will expand 2.1 percent this year after it contracted in 2016, when prices and output of crude declined. Budget documents forecast a  of 2 trillion naira, more than half of which will be plugged by borrowing.

The nation is scheduled to hold general elections in February, in which Buhari plans to seek another term. He’ll have to address revenue collection, power shortages and fuel subsidies, among other things. Below are some excerpts from the interview with Ghanem on these issues:

On tax:

• “Non-oil tax collection in Nigeria is presently very weak and well below the levels of structural and regional peer countries. Nigeria needs to increase its non-oil revenue collected at both the federal and state level across the main type of taxes; income, VAT, excises and customs, and states’ internally generated revenues.”

• “To do that requires strengthening tax administration and increasing compliance rates, and reforms including rationalizing tax incentives and exemptions and selectively increasing rates such as excise on alcohol and tobacco.”

On the election’s impact on the economy:

• “The elections are unlikely to directly impact growth in 2019, although inflationary pressures may increase from election spending. We are concerned about potential delays in implementation of government programs due to the focus on elections. We urge the government to remain focused on implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which includes the power-sector recovery plan.” The blueprint covers 2017 to 2020 and seeks to revive the oil-reliant economy.

On fuel subsidies:

• “The near doubling of gasoline prices on the world market since early 2016 has put pressure on a number of countries that subsidize petrol, including Nigeria.”

• Subsidies “not only create a fiscal burden but also help the rich more than the poor, and have a number of negative consequences.”

• “It’s very important that as these policies are phased out, social protection measures are phased in to help those who will be hit hardest by the rise in prices.” With four ill-maintained state-owned refineries working at just a fraction of their capacity, Nigeria depends on gasoline imports to meet domestic needs. Successive governments have subsidized imports, through a system riddled with patronage and corruption, to ensure lower prices.

Cameroon cocoa production rises 9.5 in 2017- 2018 seasons

AUGUST 03, 2018

ABIDJAN, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Cameroon’s cocoa production in the 2017/18 season rose 9.5 percent to 253,510 tonnes from 231,510 tonnes last season, the National Office of Cocoa and Coffee said in a report on Friday.

Bean grinding in the central African country rose 61 percent to 53,403 tonnes this season compared with 33,023 tonnes last season, the regulator said.

Exports fell to 170,981 tonnes from 197,365 last season, while unsold cocoa volumes rose to 27,159 tonnes compared with 7,212 in the previous year.