Zenith Bank has appointed Ebenezer Onyeagwu as its Group Managing Director and CEO to succeed Peter Amangbo whose tenure expires on Friday, 31 May, 2019. Onyeagwu’s appointment will take effect from Saturday, 1 June, 2019, according to a public disclosure issued to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Onyeagwu joined Zenith Bank in 2002 as a Senior Manager, in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank. Between 2003 and 2005 he rose to Assistant General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, and eventually General Manager of the bank. He was named ED in 2013, and put in charge of Lagos and South-South Zones as well as strategic groups/business units of the bank including Financial Control & Strategic Planning, Treasury and Correspondent Groups, Human Resources Group, Oil and Gas Group, and Credit Risk Management Group, etc. He was named Deputy Managing Director of the bank in 2016. Onyeagwu is on the board of Zenith Bank Ghana, Zenith Pensions Custodian Limited, Zenith Nominees Limited and African Finance Corporation.

The World Bank on Monday announced a cut from its growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 to 2.8 percent from an initial 3.3 percent. The cut, the Bank said, is due to the various challenges Nigeria, South Africa and Angola economies, which make up about 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual economic output, are facing. The challenges are restraining these countries’ contribution to the growth momentum in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy, which the Bank said would take longer to recover, reflects ongoing global uncertainty, but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits. In its latest report on the regional economy, the Bank also cut its 2018 growth estimate to 2.3 percent from last October’s prediction of 2.7 percent growth for last year. Particular to countries, the Bank said the downward revision reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence. Nigeria’s economy grew by an estimated 1.9 percent last year, up from 0.8 percent the previous year, the World Bank said, reflecting a modest pick-up in the non-oil sector. South Africa came out of recession in the Q3 of last year but investors were still cautious due to policy uncertainty. In the meantime, Angola, the region’s third-biggest economy, remained stuck in recession, as oil production remained weak. High inflation and heavy debt loads discouraged investors in economies like Zambia and Liberia, hitting their growth prospects, the Bank said.

The FG has signed a $523,823 technical assistant agreement grant with the Islamic Development Bank Group, in Marrakesh, Morocco. The TA agreement grants, according to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who signed on behalf of the FG, would be used to address capacity building/equipment and logistics upgrade in the Hajj Commission and for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. The deal was signed at the 44th ISDB Group annual meeting held in Marrakesh, Morocco with the theme, ‘Transformation In A Fast-Changing World: The Road To SDGs’. Zainab added that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment get $243,823.0, and $280,000 respectively.

Experts in the oil and gas industry have expressed their concerns about the lack of oil licensing rounds in Nigerian since 2008. About 50 percent of oil blocks in the country are yet to be explored amid the continuous shortfalls of crude oil production to around two million barrels per day. According to the Department of Petroleum Resources, the FG allocated about 179 out of 390 oil blocks as of December 2017, comprising 111 Oil Mining Leases and 68 Oil Prospecting Licences while 211 oil blocks in the country are yet to be allocated. Nigeria has seven basins: Anambra, Benin, Benue, Bida, Chad, Niger Delta and Sokoto. 12 out of the 19 oil blocks in Anambra have not been allocated; 39 out of 50 in Benin are open; 41 out of 43 in Venue are still idle, while none of the 17 blocks in Bida has been allocated. In Chad basin, 40 out of 46 blocks are open; in the oil-rich Niger Delta, 34 out of 187 blocks are still idle, while Sokoto’s 28 blocks remain unallocated. This is coming at a period when many other oil-producing countries are extending efforts to ramp up their oil and gas production and reserves, a former President of the International Association for Energy Economics, Wumi Iledare said, noting that exploration was critical in order to increase the country’s oil and gas reserves. An energy analyst and Partner at Bloomfield Law Practice, Ayodele Oni, pointed out that the country had not done a bid round in over 10 years, as such is important in the generation of more revenue for the government. Last week, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said that Nigeria’s oil industry is under-developed. Kachikwu said that crude oil production in the country had been hovering around 1.9 million barrels per day.