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CHRAN Urges Umo Eno to Set-up Taskforce to Combat Fuel Subsidy Exploitation, Alleviate Economic Hardship

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Pastor Umo Eno

In response to the removal of fuel subsidy announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29, human rights organization Centre for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN) has called upon Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State to take action.

CHRAN is urging the governor to establish a taskforce that will actively monitor filling stations across the state to prevent them from exploiting the removal of fuel subsidy and causing economic hardship for the people.

Since the announcement, there has been an artificial scarcity of fuel in the state, with a few marketers selling the product at exorbitant prices ranging from N550 to N650 per litre. Otuekong Franklyn Isong, the Chairman of CHRAN in Akwa Ibom, emphasized the importance of empowering the taskforce to deal decisively with any filling station found to be hoarding fuel or selling it at unbearable rates.

Isong recommended that the taskforce consist of members from the press, civil society organizations, civil defense, police, and the Department of State Services (DSS). Their primary responsibility would be to seal off any filling station engaged in hoarding fuel or selling it above the approved pump price, ensuring that the remaining fuel is dispensed to motorists.

“We call on Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State to establish a committee that will thoroughly inspect filling stations taking advantage of this unfortunate situation to impose economic hardship on the people. Such filling stations should be promptly sealed off to serve as a deterrent to others. While other states may revert to normal prices, Akwa Ibom State must take a stand,” Isong stated.

Isong also highlighted that the President’s pronouncement on the removal of fuel subsidy was premature, as there is a provision in the 2023 budget stating that the subsidy would continue until June 30. He expressed concern that the President’s policy statement had led to economic chaos in the country, resulting in skyrocketing fuel prices, reaching N550 per litre if it is even available for purchase.

The consequences of these developments have extended beyond fuel prices, affecting the costs of food commodities and transportation as well. Isong cited examples such as transportation fares from Eket to Uyo, which have surged from N700 to N1500, and Bolt ride fares from Ewet Housing Estate to Aka Road, which have risen from N400 to N1000. Furthermore, the price of a bag of garri has increased by a staggering N10,000, reaching a retail price of N48,000.

Isong expressed concern that garri, a staple commodity, has become even more expensive than the N30,000 minimum wage of civil servants. In light of these hardships faced by the people, CHRAN is calling upon the President to address the issue promptly and take appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

By urging the governor to establish a taskforce and seeking relief for the citizens, CHRAN aims to combat fuel subsidy exploitation and alleviate the economic hardship caused by the recent developments in Akwa Ibom State.

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Economy

UBA Records Impressive 110% Surge in Gross Earnings

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Solid Start to 2024, UBA Consolidates Gains as Gross Earnings Rise by 110%, Profit for [Quarter] Hits N156bn – delivering a YoY growth of 165%

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s Global Bank, released its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31st, 2024, showing very strong growth across key performance measures.

The Group’s results, which were released to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Friday May 3rd, 2024, saw outstanding year-on-year increases: Gross Earnings rose by 110%, from N271.1billion to N570.2 billion; Interest Income grew by 130%, to N440.7 billion.  Operating Income increased by 115%, from N175.7 billion in 2023, to N378.59 billion.

Further consolidating the record performance delivered in the Group’s 2023 Full Year Audited Financials, UBA again saw Profit Before Tax rising significantly by 155% from N61.7 billion in Q1 2023, to N156.34 billion in Q1 2024; while Profit After Tax jumped from N53.5 billion to N142.5 billion, representing an impressive rise of 165% year-on-year.

Commenting on the results, UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, said the Group delivered strong first quarter performance, building on the solid momentum of 2023, as well as the ongoing execution of its long-held strategy of customer focus, geographic diversification and effective risk management and governance.

He said, “Our record Q1 profit before tax was delivered with triple digit gross earnings growth, supported by very strong interest and non-interest income. Fees and Commissions rose by 118% year-on-year on the back of improved efficiencies and continued digital adoption.  This has helped drive improvement in efficiency and customer satisfaction, with the Group’s cost-to-income ratio held at 57.8%.”

“The Group’s balance sheet grew steadily with Total Assets increasing by 23% to N25.4 trillion. Customer deposits closed at N18.4 trillion, recording a 23% increase year-on-year, largely attributed to growth in current accounts and savings accounts.”

“Our unwavering commitment to sound governance, robust risk management, and financial strength positions us for continued growth, while we contribute meaningfully to inclusive economic development across our network.”

Also speaking on the performance, UBA’s Executive Director, Finance and Risk, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said the Group’s operating results for the quarter showed the actions taken to enhance the Group’s performance continued to deliver.

He said, “Our first quarter results highlight our relentless customer focus and the strength of UBA’s geographic and product diversification, with good performance across all our regions.  We continue to differentiate ourselves across all key financial metrics, with a keen focus on high-quality risk adjusted revenues and cost discipline, while maintaining very sound asset quality.“

“We remain committed to reducing both interest expense and operating expenses and expect to make steady progress as we move through the year toward our stated profitability targets,” Nwaghodoh stated.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries and across 4 continents.

With presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA connects people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services.

 

 

 

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Economy

Akwa Ibom State Partners with Bertola Machine Tools Limited to Boost Food Production

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Akwa Ibom State has announced plans to collaborate with Bertola Machine Tools Limited to enhance food production in the state through mechanized farming, aligning with the agricultural revolution goals of the state government’s ARISE Agenda.

Governor Umo Eno revealed this during a visit to the premises of Bertola Machine Tools Limited located at Ifa Atai, Airport Road, Uyo, where he conducted a facility tour and inspected purpose-built machines and tools for agricultural activities over the weekend.

Governor Eno emphasized the significance of the partnership, stating that as part of the state government’s efforts to achieve food sufficiency, plans were underway to establish equipment leasing services to make essential machines available and accessible to farmers. He praised Bertola as a reliable partner in this endeavor.

Acknowledging Bertola’s longstanding reputation for integrity and consistency in the equipment and machinery industry across the nation, Governor Eno commended the company’s commitment to excellence over the years.

The governor directed the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Offiong Offor, and her counterparts in Works and Fire Service, Professor Eno Ibanga, to collaborate on developing modalities for the government’s partnership with Bertola Machine Tools Limited, ensuring that farmers in the state have access to machines for basic farm operations.

In his remarks, Albert Inyang, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bertola Machine Tools Limited, commended Governor Eno for his genuine commitment to improving the lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State through impactful projects and programs.

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Economy

Governor Umo Eno Urges Akwa Ibom Residents to Prioritize Farming Amid Economic Hardship

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Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has encouraged residents to embrace farming as a means to achieve food sufficiency and alleviate the prevailing economic challenges.

The governor made this call on Thursday during a meeting with the leadership of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) at the Government House in Uyo.

Highlighting the importance of widespread agricultural engagement, Governor Eno emphasized that increased participation in farming activities would help mitigate the current economic difficulties faced by the populace.

He attributed the ongoing economic hardship to the historical neglect of the agricultural sector, stressing the need for concerted efforts to revitalize it.

Governor Eno disclosed plans by the Akwa Ibom government to establish a Bulk Purchase Agency aimed at stabilizing commodity prices and alleviating the economic burden on citizens.

He underscored the necessity for a collective shift in lifestyle choices, advocating for farming as a viable option regardless of social class.

Asserting that the current economic challenges were not accidental but a consequence of longstanding neglect, Governor Eno urged Nigerians to refrain from blame games and instead focus on practical solutions.

Additionally, the governor urged citizens to exercise patience with the government and uphold prayers for leaders, as mandated by religious scriptures.

Expressing gratitude, Governor Eno welcomed the leadership of the CCN for selecting Akwa Ibom as the venue for their National Executive Council meeting.

In his earlier remarks, CCN President David Onuoha mentioned that the team was in the state for a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.

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