BREAKING: New Investors Buy Polaris Bank, To Pay CBN, AMCON Over N1.3 Trillion
New investors under the auspices of Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL) have finalised the 100 per cent acquisition of Polaris Bank from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).
Already, the House of Representatives on Wednesday okayed the sale of Polaris Bank, noting that the process followed the laid down procedure and the relevant presidential approval.
A statement by the Director, the Corporate Communications Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Osita Nwanisobi, on behalf of the CBN and AMCON disclosed that SCIL had paid an upfront consideration of N50 billion to acquire 100% of the equity of the bank and had also accepted the terms of the agreement which include the full repayment of N1.305 trillion, being the consideration bonds injected.
According to the statement, “the CBN thus received an immediate return for the value it has created in Polaris Bank during the stabilisation period, as well as ensuring that all funds originally provided to support the intervention are recovered.
“The sale was coordinated by a Divestment Committee (the ‘Committee’) comprising representatives of the CBN and AMCON and advised by legal and financial consultants.
The committee conducted a sale process by ‘private treaty’, as provided in Section 34(5) of the AMCON Act to avoid negative speculations, retain value and preserve financial system stability.
“In the process, parties who had formally expressed an interest in acquiring Polaris Bank, subsequent to the CBN intervention in 2018, were invited to submit financial and technical proposals. Invitations to submit proposals were sent to 25 pre-qualified interested parties, out of which three (3) parties eventually submitted final purchase proposals following technical evaluation.
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“All submissions were subject to a rigorous transaction process from which SCIL emerged as the preferred bidder having presented the most comprehensive technical/financial purchase proposal as well as the highest rated growth plans for Polaris Bank,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, was quoted as saying that the sale of the bank “marks the completion of a landmark intervention in a strategic institution in the Nigerian banking sector by the CBN and AMCON.”
He commended the outgoing board and management for their vital role since the bridge bank was established in stabilising the bank’s operations, and its balance sheet and implementing strong governance structures to address the issues that led to the intervention.
According to the governor, the process has provided the CBN with an unprecedented opportunity to recover its intervention funds in full and promote financial stability and inclusive growth. He wished SCIL well as they implement growth plans to build the bank from the strong foundations that have been established.”
Polaris has been operating as a bridge bank since 2018 when the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened to revoke the licence of the former Skye Bank Plc and established Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities.
As part of the CBN intervention, consideration bonds with a face value of N898 billion (future value of N1.305 trillion) were injected into the bridge bank through AMCON, to be repaid over a 25-year period.
The CBN noted that the actions were taken to prevent the imminent collapse of the bank, enable its stabilisation and recovery, protect depositors’ funds, prevent job losses and preserve systemic financial stability.
On the acquisition on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, the chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the sale of Polaris Bank, Hon. Henry Nwawuba said that the lawmakers during the scrutiny of various documents and extant regulatory processes on the sale of the bank discovered that there was evidence of substantial compliance with the process.
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NLC Directs Officials To Monitor Banks Over Cash Scarcity
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed its officials across the country to go round and monitor cash dispensing situations at the commercial banks.
This is coming ahead of today’s National Executive Council, NEC meeting, leaders of orfficials of state councils of NLC and industrial union affiliates are to take pictorial evidence of the actual situations at the banks, “whether the banks are dispensing cash or not, and report same to the NLC headquarters.”
The monitoring which ends by 12.30 pm will enable the NEC meeting that will commence by 1:00 p.m.at the Labour House, Abuja, takes a final decision on tomorrow’s planned nationwide strike over the cash crunch in the country.
The National leadership of NLC gave the directive yesterday (Monday, March 27).
An official of NLC who spokelsaid, “Yes, the directive was given yesterday. Union leaders are to go around their areas to monitor commercial banks this Morning before 12.30pm and show pictorial evidence of the situation at the banks.
“Whether they are dispensing cash or not. The pictorial evidencesl are to be forwarded to Congress headquarters to be us assess the activities of Commercial banks before the NEC meeting by 1pm to enable us take a final decision on tomorrow’s planned industrial action.”
BREAKING: Old N200, N500, N1,000 Notes Remain Legal Tender Till Dec 31 – CBN
In compliance with a ruling of the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin spoke in a statement on Monday. This is coming 10 days after the Supreme Court ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of the year.
“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.
“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.
“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly,” the statement read.
The highest court of the land had on March 3 ordered that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.
This was after 16 states of the federation instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the policy.
The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.
After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF kept mum, throwing many bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.
However, the Presidency broke its silence on Monday, saying the President never told the CBN and the AGF not to obey the order of the apex court.
“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” the Presidency noted.
According to the Presidency, the President is an absolute respecter of the rule of law and that the “negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust.”
The CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the states, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.
However, the President, in a national broadcast on February 16, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.
There has been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and many stalwarts of the ruling APC have openly censured and faulted the President’s directive, arguing that it has no grounds because the case is before the apex court.
Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria like Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have equally faulted the President’s move, saying he cannot overrule the apex court of the land.
CBN Asked Banks To Receive Old Naira Notes – Soludo
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked commercial banks to dispense and accept old naira notes as deposits, according to Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo.
Soludo, a former CBN governor, made this known in a statement he posted on his social media handles.
He explained that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele gave the directive at a Banker’s Committee meeting on Sunday.
He added that Emefiele personally confirmed the directive to him.
According to him, residents should report banks refusing to accept the old notes.
“Commercial banks have been directed by the Central Bank to dispense old currency notes and also to receive the same deposits from customers. Tellers at commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits, and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.”
“The Governor of the CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March 2023. The Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, personally confirmed the above to me during a phone conversation on Sunday night. Residents of Anambra are therefore advised to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200, N500; and N1,000) and the new notes”, the statement added.
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