Lionel Messi won a record sixth men’s Ballon d’Or award at a ceremony in Paris on Monday, beating Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to take the honours.
Now aged 32, it is Messi’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015 and his sixth overall as he moves one ahead of his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished third in the voting.
Messi, who attended the ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in the French capital with his wife and children, succeeds Luka Modric, the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder who won the prize last year.
The Barcelona number 10 previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012 before claiming his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015.
This latest honour comes after he also claimed FIFA’s equivalent award, The Best, in September.
“It is 10 years since I won my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris and I remember coming here with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was all unthinkable for me what I was going through,” Messi said on stage.
“Now ten years on this is my sixth, in a very different time, very special in my personal life with my wife and three children.”
The Argentine added: “I am aware of the age I have but I hope I have several years left to keep enjoying my football and doing this.”
Sadio Mane, another of the stars of the Liverpool side that won the Champions League, came fourth in the ranking for the prize voted for by 180 journalists from around the world.
Messi has scored 46 goals in 54 matches so far in 2019, and netted 36 times in total in 34 La Liga matches last season as Barcelona won the Spanish crown.
The Banker Magazine has once again selected leading African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc as the “African Bank of the Year 2019”.
This is the second time, UBA has clinched the prestigious award, having been named Best African Bank of 2017 by The Banker magazine. This year, UBA also won best bank category in 6 of its subsidiaries: UBA Benin, UBA Tchad, UBA Gabon, UBA Congo, UBA Cote D’Ivoire and UBA Sierra Leone.
The unprecedented win marks the first time ever in the history of the banker awards, that any one bank will be given as many as six wins including the grand regional award.
The awards ceremony took place at the Sheraton Grand, Park Lane in London at the weekend where UBA was represented by its CEO, UBA Africa, Mr. Victor Osadolor who received all seven awards on behalf of the bank.
John Everington, Middle East and Africa Editor for The Banker, said the aim of the award “is to highlight industry wide excellence within the global banking community. The winner is selected from participating banks in each of the countries from which entries are received for the competition.”
UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who expressed delight over the recognition from The Banker stated “The recognitions come as a reassurance that we are on track in consolidating our leadership position in Africa, as we continue to create superior value for all our stakeholders,”
“UBA must be doing something right, and for us, these awards mark another milestone for the Group. It is a testament of the diligent execution of the bank’s strategic initiatives geared towards customer service. Being recognised as Africa’s best bank complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation. I therefore dedicate it to our growing loyal corporate and retail customers, who are our essence.”
Uzoka dedicated the awards to the UBA’s customers, “whose loyalty, support and patronage have remained the source of the group’s growth and competitive edge in all the markets we operate.”
The CEO of UBA Africa, Victor Osadolor who received the awards, added: “UBA group will continue to innovate and lead in all our business segments, whilst delivering top-notch operational efficiencies and best-in-class customer service. We are beginning to realise early gains from our ongoing transformation programme and I am excited about the days ahead.”
The Banker Magazine is a publication of the Financial Times – a leading global finance news publication which has been in existence since 1888. The Banker magazine is the definitive reference in international banking for high level decision makers globally.
The “Bank of the Year Awards” are widely regarded as the Oscars of the Banking Industry. For over 90 years, The Banker has been the world’s leading monthly journal for the banking industry.
United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) is a leading pan-African financial services group with presence in 20 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.
UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy- UBA has become one of the top providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The bank provides services to about 15 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1000 branches and customer centres and a robust online and mobile banking platform.
UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering (IPO), following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts (GDRs). The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the bank has a well-diversified shareholder base which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.
Shareholders of Eland Oil & Gas Plc have given overwhelming backing to the £382 million takeover of the company by indigenous oil & gas producer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.
At two meetings of shareholders on Wednesday 20 November, resolutions in favour of the proposed takeover of Nigeria-focused Eland were approved by 99.9 per cent of votes cast. Subject to court approval, the takeover is expected to become effective on 17 December 2019.
The cash takeover announced in October provided recognition of Eland’s achievement in building a successful exploration, development and production business in Nigeria. Seplat has the financial and technical capacity to develop Eland’s assets and will deliver long-term benefits for employees, partners, host communities, and Nigeria as a whole. As a leading indigenous operator, Seplat understands the critical role it must play to drive a positive socio-economic impact among its communities.
With their knowledge of Eland’s producing assets and operations, Seplat’s management team will efficiently integrate them into Seplat’s existing portfolio.
On announcement of the deal Seplat acknowledged the importance and value of the skills and experience of existing Eland employees who built the company’s success, stating that the combination of the two businesses will result in a wider range of capabilities, as well as underpin Seplat’s ambition to be the leading independent E&P in Nigeria.
“We are glad to have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian oil and gas industry,” commented George Maxwell, CEO of Eland. “Eland has, in a period which has seen a significant cyclical downturn in our industry, outperformed most of its peers and the London AIM Oil & Gas Index. We are proud to say that Eland has contributed greatly to helping the Federal Government achieve its mission of growing local participation in the sector.”
On 23 October 2019 the condition requiring a joint notification made by Seplat and Eland to the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources, notifying the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources of the Acquisition and the acquisition of interests by Seplat in Eland, was deemed satisfied.
The condition requiring a joint notification made by Seplat and Eland to the Nigerian Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, notifying the Nigerian Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of the Acquisition, was deemed satisfied on 12 November 2019.
Viewers on DStv and GOtv enjoyed another great weekend of football action, with the continuation of the 2019/20 Premier League, La Liga and Serie A campaigns.
In the Premier League, African stars once again came to the fore, with the most prominent being Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese attacker marked the first Gunners game in the post Unai Emery era with a brace of goals in their 2-2 draw at Norwich City, and SuperSport viewers can see the Panthers man in action again twice within the next week: Arsenal first take on Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday 5 December, before their trip to London rivals West Ham United next Monday 9 December.
Other major African stars in the Premier League included Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp, who scored the goals for Crystal Palace in their 2-0 win at Burnley, while Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho showed his value with a late winner for Leicester City at home to Everton – a result which sees the Foxes strengthen their grip on second spot on the log.
In Spain’s La Liga, the big result was Barcelona winning 1-0 away to title rivals Atletico Madrid despite a powerful showing in midfield from Ghanaian Thomas Partey, while Cameroonian Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa was on target for Villarreal in their 2-1 loss at Valencia. SuperSport viewers can see Zambo Anguissa and Villarreal’s other African stars such as Samuel Chukwueze and Karl Toko Ekambi when the ‘Yellow Submarine’ open the next round of matches with a clash at home to Atleti on Friday 6 December.
Italy’s Serie A the top African moment came from Sassuolo’s Ivorian attacker Jeremie Boga, who scored one of two goals for the visitors at the Allianz Stadium as they held champions Juventus to a surprise 2-2 draw. The result allowed Internazionale to leapfrog into top spot with a 2-1 win over SPAL.
SuperSport viewers can see Internazionale when they have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the log on Friday 6 December with a home clash against Roma, before Juventus face a tricky trip to the other capital city team, Lazio, on Saturday night, December 7.
Don’t miss the 2019/2020 football season on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstv.com and www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.
The Dangote Oil Refinery Company, on Sunday, took delivery of what it described as the world’s largest crude distillation equipment.
Capt. Rajen Sachar, Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure of Dangote, told newsmen at the arrival of the equipment in Lagos that it was the biggest single-train facility used for refining crude oil.
The atmospheric equipment, which was manufactured by Sinopec company in China, is the primary unit processor of crude oil into fuels.
Sachar noted that crude oil consisted of various chemical components that had different molecular sizes, molecular weights and boiling temperatures.
According to him, the crude distillation column works on the principle of fractional distillation, leading to separation of various components in the mixture on the basis of their different boiling points.
He said: “Crude oil enters the top of the column, where the inlet temperature is 165 degrees centigrade gradually increasing to 357 at the bottom of the column.
“During this passage, the crude and its vapours pass through a complex web of internal trays to increase the contact time and surface area.
“Within the column, the hot vapours travel upward through bubble caps which allow the vapour to pass through the tray with the cooler liquid flowing downward the column.
“When the vapour reaches the height within the column where its boiling point is equal to the temperature of the column at that height, it condenses to form a liquid.
“The liquid then collects on various trays in the column at differing heights from where it is extracted out of the column.
“It is, therefore, critical to control the heat load of the column to optimize the crude crack.
“These separated fractions are mainly middle distillates: namely, naphtha, jet fuel, kerosene, gasoline and gas oil,” Sachar added.
He said that the crude column would enhance the economy of Nigeria and all neighbouring countries in Africa by making available refined petroleum products meeting world standards emission norms of Euro 5 and Euro 6.
The captain said the strategic location of Nigeria in West Africa continent would help in reducing the transportation costs of the fuels to other countries in Africa thereby provide cost effective high grade petroleum products to them.
“This refinery with a capacity of 650 kbpsd is higher than the total demand of Nigeria; thus, catapulting Nigeria’s position from a net importer of petroleum products to a net exporter of petroleum products.”
He said that the development would redefine Nigeria’s position in the global petroleum products market.
He said that the equipment was capable of refining 650,000 barrel per day (bpd), adding that the refinery was designed to be Africa’s largest.
Sachar said that the technology was significant to Nigeria and Dangote Oil Refinery Company.
According to him, the technology will bring multiplier effect positive to the company and Nigeria through supply to huge markets.
Sachar said that the project was expected to generate over 9,500 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs.
“The crude distillation column is the largest in terms of distilling capacity which is 650 thousand barrels per stream day.
” At present, this is the world’s largest single train refining column.
This equipment has dimension weight of 2,250 metric tonnes, 1,12.5 metres length, 14.036 metres width and 13.752 metres height.
“It is the largest diameter, longest length and the heaviest single-unit equipment in domestic export equipment.
“It will be installed in the world’s largest single-series refinery – the 32.5 million tonne/year Dangote refinery in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the crude oil processor took 14 months in construction by Sinopec company in China and eight weeks to be brought down to Nigeria.
“Dangote refinery also invested heavily in dredging the sea from the refinery to Apapa for easy passage of the vessel,” he said.
He said that the President of the company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, was passionate about technology transfer to Nigerians.
Sachar said that Dangote Oil Refinery Company was currently training young Nigerian engineers in Mumbai, India, in refinery operations in preparation for the take-off of its Lagos Refinery and Petrochemical Plant.
He said that the training was a continuum as more engineers would be trained to work effectively in a fertiliser plant and refinery being built by the company.
In his remarks, Mr Lawal Saheed, Pilot Grade 1 of the Nigerian Ports Authority, who accompanied the vessel from Apapa Port to Dangote Jetty, commended the vessel crew who brought the equipment from China.
He said that it took seven hours to drive the vessel from Apapa to Dangote due to the heavy equipments.
Saheed said: “It took an experienced and patient pilot to move the vessel to the final destination due to sea waves.
” I am happy that I am part of the progress. I am proud to be associated with such a landmark achievement”.
The PR Measurement Moment in Nigeria, is an annual report that reflects the activities, engagement, education and growth that occur in the PR Measurement space in the Nigeria Market.
The measurement and evaluation drive in the Nigeria space has been one that is rapidly evolving, and one of which P+ Measurement Services is at the forefront of pushing and educating its key sectors. To this end, the agency in the year 2019, embarked on a series of educational programs and events to sensitize key players in the various sectors on the acceptance and implementation of Measurement & Evaluation in a PR and Communications program.
Below are the top remarkable measurement moments in Nigeria.
– Public Relations Measurement awareness in Nigeria grew from 54 percent in 2018 to 65 percent in 2019, with 45 percent usage of PR Measurement and Evaluation. That is, there was a significant & positive shift in the adoption of Measurement and Evaluation amongst various sectors.
– There was series of industry discourse on the essence of tackling Crisis Management with the right metrics and attitude which begins and ends with Measurement and Evaluation. It has already gained grounds on the international stage and gradually gaining ground in Nigeria.
– The M & E industry in Nigeria recorded a highly remarkable increase in the engagement of PR measurement consultants by brands and PR agencies, which can be attributed to the continuous education program through MATE+. A Measurement & Evaluation educational program initiated by the industry’s fast-growing and leading agency, P+ Measurement Services.
– P+ Measurement Services and the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations entered into partnership as the agency became the Official Media Monitoring and Evaluation Agency for the Chapter.
– P+ Measurement Services was adjudged “Best Media Monitoring and Measurement Agency in Nigeria” at the 13th edition of the Nigeria Media Nite Out Awards. An award that celebrates excellence.
– Out of the burning desire to continually educate PR professionals and practitioners in various sectors in Nigeria, P+ Measurement Services engaged Heads of Communications and Directors at the NIPR Conference in Uyo and also at the Digital PR Summit in Lagos state on the importance of measurement and evaluation in business growth and also to justify the return on investment.
– In the relentless quest for excellence and innovation in improving the overall process, P+ Measurement Services launched Nigeria’s first Broadcast Advert Analytics Audit Report. This report helps brands interpret their TV and radio advert compliance reports.
– November 22, 2019, Nigeria’s leading Independent PR measurement and evaluation agency hosted the AMEC Measurement Month in Nigeria for the 4th time and which was also a first time live event bringing together renowned experts, and it was also recorded as part of the agency’s PR measurement education program.
P+ Measurement Services continued the campaign on brand adopting Independent measurement and evaluation agencies in Nigeria and the need for PR agencies to stop marking their own homework, the reason being that media analysis conducted by any organization of its own work lacks independence and objectivity.
‘We intend to grow the awareness of good PR measurement in Nigeria and its application to 75% in 2020’ and also debunk the myth that Public relations cannot be measured,’ Philip Odiakose, Lead Consultant, P+ Measurement Services.
Evidence of tax payment will be a condition for operating a bank account from January, according to the Financial bill passed by the National Assembly.
The Bill, submitted to the lawmakers with Budget 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari, is designed to improve the financial operations of the country and streamline the tax regime.
It is expected to be signed with the budget before the end of the month, to actualize the return to the January – December budget cycle.
According to a section of the Bill, banks will require anybody opening an account to provide his Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Those who already have accounts with banks will also be required to provide their TIN.
There are 30 million Bank Verification Numbers (BVN)-linked accounts.
The intention is to make sure that more people are captured into the tax net.
According to the Joint Tax Board, the tax identification number (TIN) is a unique identifier for an individual or a company for tax remittance.
The TIN is prepared by the tax office and issued for proper identification and verification.
Applying for TIN is free. The TIN generation process is real-time and should not exceed 48 hours after a request is submitted.
Another major feature of the Financial Bill is the hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5 per cent from the extant five per cent.
Also in the bill, emails will be accepted by the tax authorities as a formal channel of correspondence with taxpayers.
The bill will also strategically “promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reform domestic tax laws to align with global best practices; introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; support small businesses in line with the ongoing Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and raise revenues for the Government by various fiscal measures.”
Under the proposed Personal Income Tax Act: the bill will state that pension contributions no longer require the approval of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to be tax-deductible.
The bill when signed into law, will remove the tax exemption on withdrawals from pension schemes except the prescribed conditions are met.
The bill will come up with a penalty for failure to deduct tax by agents appointed for tax deduction. This penalty is 10 per cent of the tax not deducted, plus interest at the prevailing monetary policy rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The conditions attached to tax exemption on gratuities will be removed by the bill, meaning that gratuities are unconditionally tax exempt. The duties currently performed by the Joint Tax Board (JTB) as it relates to administering the Personal Income Tax Act, will now be performed by the FIRS.
Another penalty that will come into effect when the bill becomes law will be the penalty for the late filing of the Value Added Tax (VAT) returns.
The penalty for failure to register for VAT will be reviewed upwards to N50,000 for the first month of default and N25,000 for each subsequent month of default.
The penalty for failure to notify FIRS of change in company address will be reviewed upwards to N50,000 for the first month of default and N25,000 for each subsequent month of default. This penalty also covers the failure to notify FIRS of permanent cessation of trade or business.
Similar to the VAT amendment, the bill is also introducing Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exemption on Group reorganizations, subject to the following conditions being met.
Assets are sold to a Nigerian company and is for the better organization of the trade or business;
The entities involved are within a recognized group 365 days before the transaction, and the relevant assets are not disposed of earlier than 365 days after the transaction.
The current practice is that companies send an approval request letter under CITA S29(9) to the FIRS, and include a CGT exemption request. Currently, the CGT Act imposes CGT on compensation for loss of employment above N10,000.
The bill seeks to expand the coverage of this provision by renaming it “compensation for loss” and increase the minimum threshold from N10,000 to N10 million.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) — Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to empowering African entrepreneurs — will begin accepting applications for the 2020 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, on January 1, 2020.
Applications are made through TEFConnect, the digital networking hub for the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, created by the Foundation.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is open to entrepreneurs from across Africa, either with new startup ideas or existing businesses of less than 3 years existence, operating in any sector. Successful applicants will join the over 9,000 current beneficiaries, from 54 African countries, and receive business training, mentoring, a non-refundable $5,000 of seed capital and global networking opportunities.
Last year, the Foundation received about 216,000 applications, with 42% coming from women entrepreneurs, from every country on the continent.
The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 young African entrepreneurs. The goal is to create millions of jobs and the revenue required for the sustainable development of the continent, implementing the philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector as the growth engine for Africa and emphasises the importance of creating social and economic wealth.
According to the Foundation’s 2018 Impact Report, 70% of the total number of businesses in its alumni network were still operational two years after benefitting from the Programme. The report also identified an increase of 189% revenue generated and 197% increase in the number of additional jobs created by beneficiaries post-graduation from the Programme, as well as a 100% commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Chinwe Bode-Akinwande (CBA) Foundation, a Lagos-based non-governmental organization is set to hold its 2019 annual five-kilometer-long walk, tagged: Walk4Hope in Lagos, south west, Nigeria.
According to the organizer, the charity walk which will take off at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, on Saturday 7th December, 2019 at 7am is aimed at raising funds for the protection and support of underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children.
In 2015 to date, CBA Foundation has reached out to thousands of underprivileged widows and children through skill acquisition training, health intervention, business start-up, clothing, nutrition and tuition fees for the children.
Commenting on the programme, the founder of the foundation, Mrs. Chinwe Bode-Akingbade, an enviable banker, said proceeds from this year’s walk will be channeled to school support project for pupils in its adopted schools and for empowering selected underprivileged widows to start business.
“CBA Foundation was established to alleviate sufferings and pains of the less-privileged, especially widows and their children in the society.
“We currently have over 600 authentic widows on our profile, and the children of about 90 per cent of them have dropped out of school because of lack of funds. So, even if it’s the basic education we are able to give to them, they can build on it. We don’t want children who should be in schools on the streets because their mothers cannot afford school fees. Who knows if the future president is among them? Every child should have access to education and a good life and that is what CBA Foundation intends to achieve.
“To change our society and make the world a better place, we must love, give and share no matter how small. Hence, the net proceeds of this year’s walk will go to back to school support project for pupils in our adopted schools and for empowering selected underprivileged widows to start business.”
“Therefore, every step counts! Every step you take brings us closer to offering hope to underprivileged widows and their children,” Bode-Akinwande concluded.
Registration for the walk has started via: www.cbafoundation.org/registration.