Business News in Brief

Warning: World Bank Compares Cryptocurrencies to Ponzi Schemes

The World Bank warned and compared cryptocurrencies to “Ponzi schemes”.

The warning is the latest financial voice to raise questions about the legitimacy of digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

“In terms of using Bitcoin or some of the cryptocurrencies, we are also looking at it, but I’m told the vast majority of cryptocurrencies are basically Ponzi schemes,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said Wednesday at an event in Washington.

“It’s still not really clear how it’s going to work.”

NPA Generates ₦299b Revenue in 2017

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has generated N299.5 billion revenue in 2017, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Abdullahi Goje, said in a statement in Lagos.

He said that the figure exceeded the N162.2 billion generated in 2016 by 84.65 percent.

Goje added that the 2017 figure was the highest generated revenue by the Authority in the past five years.

“In 2013, the NPA generated the sum of N154.50 billion. This increased to N159.30 billion and N180.50 billion in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

AfDB Approves $10m Loan to Boost Africa’s Portfolio

The Board of African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a 10-million dollar loan for African Local Currency Bond Fund (ALCBF) to boost its portfolio in Africa.

Mrs Olivia Ndong-Obiang, the Principal Communications Officer in AfDB, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

She said that the ALCBF was also approved by the Bank to promote the development of domestic capital markets in Africa and had a tenor of seven years with a two-year grace period.

Ecobank to Focus on Existing Markets Using Phones

Africa’s Ecobank plans to prioritise expanding the customer base in its existing markets by tapping into Africa’s growing use of mobile phones, rather than pushing into new countries, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The Togo-based pan-African bank operates in 36 African countries, but a slump in commodity prices in recent years and unfavourable currency swings have prompted it to shift its focus to the booming retail market, where latent demand is being unleashed by mobile technology.

Parliament wants Regulatory Authorities to Investigate Viability of Bitcoin

The Senate on Tuesday urged Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders to make proper investigations into Bitcoin.

They also asked for deliberate efforts to educate the public on the dangers of Bitcoin as a store of value in Nigeria.

It said that all news platforms and in various languages should be deployed in the dissemination.

The upper chamber also called on National Orientation Agency (NOA) to spread the news against all forms of wonder banks and Ponzi schemes operating in Nigeria.

World Bank: Support to Nigeria, Others Hit $14b

The World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, says that the Bank’s support to fragile states, including Nigeria has hit 14 billion dollars.

The support which came through the International Development Association (IDA) arm of the bank, double in the last one year says the Bank’s country representattive.

Benmessaoud said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a conference with the theme, “Ideas forAction Africa’ being hosted by the bank, in conjunction with the African University of Science and Technology and the University of Lagos.

CBN Injects $210m to Boost FX Market

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected 210 million dollars to boost the inter-bank foreign exchange market and to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.

The Bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement on Monday in Abuja said the fund would ensure that legitimate demands for foreign exchange were met.

He said that the CBN offered 100 million dollars to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got 55 million dollars.

2018: Customs Target ₦1.3tr Revenue not ₦1.5tr

The Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Joseph Attah, said that the service had set N1.3 trillion revenue target for 2018.

Attah told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja that the Service recorded its highest revenue collection ever of over N1 trillion as against N770 billion targeted in 2017.

He said that this was contrary to the speculation in the media that the Service had fixed N1.5 trillion target for 2018.

Facebook to Open Digital Training Hubs in Europe

Facebook said on Monday it will open three new centres in Europe to train people in digital skills and committed to training one million people over the next two years, part of the social media giant’s drive to show its contribution to the bloc.

The U.S. company - which has faced regulatory pressure in Europe over issues ranging from privacy to antitrust - said it would open three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy as well as investing 10 million euros ($12.2 million) in France through its artificial intelligence research facility.

Lesotho finds $40m Diamond, World’s Fifth Biggest

A diamond thought to be the fifth largest of gem quality ever found has been discovered in Lesotho, miner Gem Diamonds said Monday, and could be worth as much as $40 million.

The company unearthed the D-colour stone at the Letseng mine in the landlocked southern African country and described the 910-carat find as of “exceptional quality”.

“Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letseng in 2006, the mine has produced some of the world’s most remarkable diamonds, including the 603 carat Lesotho Promise,” Gem Diamonds chief executive Clifford Elphick said in a statement.