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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use Of Tech To Rescind Effects Of Covid-19, Tackle Fraud

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that for improved banking operations and a safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organized virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics, etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was a need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting the 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of the technology would enable us to identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritize the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritize digitization and flexible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.

BIG STORY

Probe Begins Monday As FG Suspends NPA Managing Director, Bala-Usman

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has suspended the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, sources familiar with the development said on Thursday.

It was learnt that a panel of inquiry had been constituted to look into the matter that prompted her suspension, as well as other concerns. The panel begins its work on Monday.

It was, however, not clear what necessitated the suspension of the NPA boss, who was only reappointed in January this year by Buhari.

Senior staff members of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the parent ministry of the authority, confirmed the development but insisted that there was no official statement on the matter yet.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Eric Ojiekwe, could not be reached for comments on the development, as he did not answer calls when contacted on Thursday night.

Bala-Usman was first appointed as the managing director of the NPA in 2016 and was reappointed in January this year for another five years.

On Wednesday, the suspended NPA boss led her organization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Ports Authority to commence the production of statistical information and data analytics on port-related activities..

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ARISE News To Interview UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu

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The Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON, will on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, be a guest on ARISE News, a 24-hour international television news channel.

Elumelu is one of Africa’s leading philanthropists and entrepreneurs.

Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, a family-owned investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa by investing in Africa’s most strategic sectors, will be speaking on a wide range of topics such as economy, Africa economic development, philanthropy, entrepreneurship among others.

The hour-long live broadcast which will be aired at 8.30 am during The Morning Show, a primetime breakfast magazine programme will be anchored by Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesman, and award winning columnist.

Elumelu is the Chairman of the pan-African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries across Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit-taking presence in the United States.

He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading producers of electricity in Nigeria, and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Oil & Gas, an upstream oil and gas company, whose assets include Nigerian oil block OML17 with a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential. Heirs Oil & Gas is committed to creating resource-based added value on the African continent.

Elumelu is the most prominent champion of entrepreneurship in Africa.  In 2010, he created The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the pan-African philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalyzing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and driving job creation across all 54 African countries.

The Morning Show airs live on DSTV 416, SKY519, GOTV 44, and ARISE News and YouTube page.

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Marketsquare Expands Footprint In Nigeria, Opens 16th Outlet In Benin City

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Marketsquare, a supermarket brand of Sundry Markets Limited, the foremost indigenous retail chain of supermarkets, rapidly expanding across the country has expanded its footprint in Nigeria by commissioning the 16th outlet located along Auchi Road, at Aduwawa area in Benin City, Nigeria on Saturday, May 1 2021.

The chain of supermarkets has become the first choice for many customers to source for their favourite grocery and fresh food products and brands in several cities around the country. Marketsquare has continued to work tirelessly to bring the best quality products to her customers at the lowest prices.

The commissioning of the store which coincided with the 2021 May Day celebration is aimed at improving the shopping experience of people looking to shop for fresh and packaged groceries and other products in the City.

In his speech at the commissioning of the store, the Company’s Marketing Manager, Emmanuel Patrick Isangediok said, “As the fastest-growing retail store, we have to ensure that Nigerians continually have access to great products that will help enhance their quality of life.”

“We have put everything in place to ensure that Nigerians have access to the modern and relevant retail shopping experience in a very convenient way for people to source their daily needs.  We have also provided the opportunity for customers to shop online at www.marketsquareng.com where they have the choice to pick up their already packed order inside the store or get it delivered to their homes or offices.”

“We would also want to congratulate Nigerian workers on the occasion of the 2021 Workers’ Day because their daily toil has contributed immensely to the development of the nation. We equally, celebrate our workers across all the outlets nationwide. They are the ones who give customers the best shopping experience that has endeared our brand to them,” he added.

Our tagline – find more, pay less – is a promise of our unwavering desire to get the best quality products to the customer at the lowest prices available.

We would continue to support the federal government’s “buy local” initiative by stocking and promoting ‘Made in Nigeria’ products to support indigenous manufacturers.

Marketsquare is an indigenous retail chain of supermarkets in Nigeria, which started trading in December 2015. Today Marketsquare has 16 outlets nationwide and rapidly expanding Pan-Nigeria.

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