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Chams shuts operations

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Chams Plc, one of Nigeria’s foremost ICT firm, renowned for providing a variance of qualitative products and services in the digital arena has shut down its operations.

The Founding Managing Director of Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo alleged that the Chams City Project, spread across Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin City and Lagos, are folding up, having gone bankrupt as a result of its intellectual property and technical partners allegedly stolen by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Chams Plc recently shut its operations in Benin City, Abuja, and Port Harcourt and later shutdown the remaining operations in Lagos last week, owing to its state of bankruptcy.

Lamenting the situation, which has put thousands of Nigerians out of job, Aladekomo blamed it on the action of the management of NIMC, which he said, stole the intellectual property and technical partners of Chams, and rendered Chams bankrupt.

Although he said Chams had gone to court to challenge the action of NIMC, he alleged that NIMC, as a federal government agency, is using the federal myth to frustrate the company  and deny it of justice.

Narrating the ordeal of Chams, Aladekomo said Chams had a concession agreement with NIMC in 2007, to produce National Identify Cards for Nigeria, which was approved by the former President Olusegun Obadanjo, but that NIMC deliberately delayed it for three years.

“During the period of delay, Chams went to the capital market to raise N8.4 billion, in addition to the company’s savings of N800 million and invested all the amount in building Chams City registration centres in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin City, and Lagos and equipped them with computer systems, with each centre having over 1,000 computer systems.

Apart from the buildings, Chams also employed staff in all the centres and built Identity Card Plant in Abuja, which has the capacity to produce 1.75 million identity cards in a day.

In addition to that, Chams also built the biggest switch in the whole of Africa, in Abuja, Nigeria, to assist in payment system transactions for the National Identity Card project,” Aladekomo said.
According to him, as at 2008, all the centres were ready in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, and Lagos, in addition to the card plant and switching centre, but that NIMC decided to sabotage its efforts by asking Chams in 2012, to submit all its design for the national identity card project, its intellectual property like the software design, including its technical partners for the purpose of verification, which Aladekomo said Chams gladly did.

After a few weeks, it discovered that NIMC was already talking with its technical partners like MasterCard and in 2013, NIMC corroborated with President Goodluck Jonathan to officially announce MasterCard as the technical partner of NIMC on the national identity card project, “after NIMC got N30 billion from the federal government on the national identity card project.”

He alleged that since then, NIMC severed its business relationship with Chams, a situation, he explained, forced Chams into bankruptcy.

Aladekomo said he was spending N500 million in maintaining the centres in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Benin City, and was paying staff salaries, without getting support from NIMC.

He said at a point, he could no longer fund the centres, since they were not generating money and decided to shut its operations in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin City. Then, last week, it decided to shut the remaining centre in Lagos, which invariably, has put several Nigerians out of job.

When contacted to respond to the allegation leveled against NIMC, its Director-General, Mr. Chris Onyemenam, declined.

 

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BUSINESS

Stock futures fall ahead of a big week of retail earnings

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Stock futures fell early on Monday after a week of steep losses that ended on a high note, and ahead of a big earnings week for retailers.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped by 31 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures fell 0.47%. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.71%.

On Friday, the Dow rose 466.36 points, or 1.47%, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.39%. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.82% and posted its strongest one-day gain since November 2020. Still, all three averages posted losing weeks.

The gains came as investors went into relief rally mode to cap off a bad week for stocks in which the S&P 500 nearly descended into bear market territory.

It remains to be seen, however, how long the rally will last or how much further stocks have to fall before this year’s downtrend bottoms.

“Given the history of bear markets, coupled with the fact that the Fed has just begun its rate hike cycle and would like to see financial conditions continue to tighten so that demand pulls back further, this rally will most likely weaken,” said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.

Still, some investors and analysts say, whether or not the bottom is in, there are good buying opportunities at the market’s current lows.

“I’m not calling the bottom here, but there’s some opportunity here to dollar cost average,” said Sylvia Jablonski, CEO and chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs, told CNBC. “If you’re sitting on a bunch of cash, you’re locking in losses because of inflation. Investing in equities or asset classes that you believe in… it is the lesser evil. The selling fatigue will wane, the market will reset. It’s unlikely the Dow and the S&P are going to be in correction territory six months to a year from now.”

Retail earnings season kicks off this week with several big-box retailers set to report results for the first quarter, including Walmart, Target and Home Depot. Elsewhere, Deere is also on deck, along with a handful of technology companies.

Investors will also have their eye on retail sales data this week, which could give them insight into how retailers are managing inflation, which remains near 40-year highs.

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Nigeria issues new guidelines on cryptocurrencies 

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The Nigerian government has released new guidelines aimed at protecting investors in digital assets as trades in cryptocurrencies get boost in Africa’s most populous nation.

The rules issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers more clarity on trading in cryptocurrencies, it was learnt.

The rules cover “issuance, offering platforms and custody of digital assets” for virtual technologies, according to a statement on its website.

This is coming amidst controversy over the acceptability of cryptocurrencies in Nigerian financial ecosystem.

Despite order by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks to stop transactions in cryptocurrencies, Nigeria is said to account for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the U.S., as data from Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace reveals.

Experts however believe this would go a long way in boosting trading in cryptocurrencies which is gaining global traction.

The new rules cover the issuance of digital assets as securities, the registration of platforms and digital asset custodians, exchanges and virtual assets service providers.

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BUSINESS

Apple is no longer the world’s most valuable company

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Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Wednesday surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm.

Aramco’s market valuation was just under $2.43 trillion on Wednesday, according to FactSet, which converted its market cap to dollars. Apple, which fell more than 5% during trading in the U.S. on Wednesday, is now worth $2.37 trillion.

Energy stocks and prices have been rising as investors sell off equities in several industries, including technology, on fears of a deteriorating economic environment. Apple has fallen nearly 20% since its $182.94 peak on Jan. 4.

The move is mostly symbolic, but it shows how markets are shifting as the global economy grapples with rising interest rates, inflation, and supply chain problems.

Aramco stock is up over 27% so far in 2022. In March, the oil giant reported that its full-year profit last year more than doubled due to soaring oil prices.

Apple passed Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2020.

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