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MTN declares $140 million from divestment plan

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MTN Group Ltd has declared 2.1 billion rand (140.24 million dollars) from asset sales in the first half of this year as part of a divestment plan to simplify its portfolio.

The Group Chief Executive, Rob Shuter, told reporters in a post-earnings conference call on Thursday in Johannesburg that the firm’s three-year plan to reposition the firm was on track.

MTN is in the middle of reviewing its presence in some markets alongside investments in e-commerce platforms as part of a plan to streamline the company into a focused operator in high-growth markets in the Middle East and Africa.

In March, it announced a 15 billion rand divestment programme over the next three years that will also reduce risk and improve returns.

The firm had said in a statement that in the first half of the year, it sold its shareholder loan in ATC Ghana to American Tower Corporation for 900 million rand.

It said it also sold its interests in investment fund Amadeus and its associated holding in Travelstart for 1.2 billion rand.

But Africa’s largest mobile network by subscribers, however, reported a 9.3 per cent fall in earnings on Thursday.

Shutter said in spite of the drop in earnings, the firm was well on track for its 15 billion rand target over the next three years.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit measure in South Africa stood at 195 cents in the six-months through June, compared to 215 cents in June 2018.

MTN said the earnings were impacted by the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, Nigeria fine interest, foreign exchange gains and losses, hyperinflation and the depreciation of the Iranian real, which resulted in lower earnings from MTN Iran cell.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Customs seizes N5 billion codeine, tramadol

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The strike force of the Controller General of Customs on Friday raided a warehouse in Lagos where cartons of codeine, tramadol, and other illegal drugs worth N5 billion were kept.

The warehouse, located along the Mile-Oshodi expressway, was raided after a trailer load of the hard drugs was intercepted at Maryland in Lagos.

Usman Yahaya, team leader of the Customs Strike Force Zone A, said the trailer was intercepted around 2 a.m. on August 13 by his operatives.

“Immediately it was brought to our notice, we carried a preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Oshodi-Mile 2 road stocked dreaded tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without NAFDAC numbers”.

He said that after evacuating the warehouse of the hard drugs with street value of N5 billion, one suspect was arrested.

“The warehouse was immediately sealed with a detachment of well armed officers to guard the place”.

“The drugs estimated to be loaded in 21 trailers with street value of over five billion Naira are being evaluated for custody and subsequent judicial process/destruction.”

Three weeks ago, the agency in collaboration with the National Administration of Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) destroyed 48 by 40feet of controlled drugs worth N146billion at a destruction site in Ogun State.

“We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians to support the Nigerian Customs Service on this patriotic resolution”.

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Inflation gets low in July – NBS

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The average change in the prices of foods and services reduced in July compared to June, the statistics bureau, NBS, has said.

According to the NBS, the Headline Inflation reduced to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June.

The Food Inflation reduced from 13.56 per cent in June to 13.39 per cent in July while the Core Inflation reduced from 8.84 per cent in June to 8.80 per cent in July.

Details later…

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CBN outlines new guidelines to banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has released guidelines for the disbursement of lower denominations of the Naira through microfinance banks (MFBs) across the country.

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Okorafor said this development was contained in a circular issued by the Director, Currency Operations Department of the bank, Mrs Patricia Eleje, in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that the circular indicated that all microfinance banks must have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of above average in the most recent Risk Based Supervision (RBS) target examination before they were considered for the scheme.

He explained that the measure was to ensure that only MFBs with good corporate governance practices took part, NAN reports.

“Meanwhile, the participating MFBs must be willing to accept a mixture of new and other banknotes, and that the MFBs shall give 20 per cent of any withdrawal in lower denomination notes subject to a maximum of N50,000.

“Where beneficiaries withdraw more than once in a day, the circular said that disbursement will only apply to one transaction per day.

“Similarly, the MFBs are allowed to exchange notes subject to a maximum of N50,000 for customers with bank accounts and N10,000 for customers without bank accounts.

“In that situation, the banks must not exchange for same beneficiaries more than once a week,” he added.

According to him, MFBs are to maintain a register of amounts received from the CBN through their correspondent commercial banks.

Okorafor said the MFB must also maintain another register of the beneficiaries of the lower denomination notes as well as ensure that withdrawal teller slips contain breakdown of the denomination of the currency to customers with accounts.

“The circular also warned MFBs against hawking, hoarding or using of funds obtained under the intervention for any other purpose.

“It also instructed the banks to put in place effective control measures that will ensure that banknotes disbursed to customers with or without accounts are not sold.

“Furthermore, the circular directed the banks to render weekly and monthly disbursement return to CBN branches where the intervention would be monitored periodically, and appropriate sanctions applied to erring MFBs,” he said.

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