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House Probes Alta Semper For Allegedly Obtaining Unlawful Waiver To Co-Own HealthPlus

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The House of Representatives has directed an investigation into the legality of the operations of private equity firm, Alta Semper Capital UK (a.k.a Idi Holdings), as a part-owner of the popular retail pharmacy chain, HealthPlus, in Nigeria.

This directive follows a petition made by Oladimeji Ekengba and presented by Hon Benjamin Kalu, which challenged the waiver granted by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to Alta Semper Capital purportedly permitting the private equity firm to co-own and operate the retail pharmacy, HealthPlus in Nigeria.

The petition argued that according to Section 2(2) of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act, P.17, 2004 (PCN Act), a retail pharmacy can only be wholly owned by a registered pharmacist or in partnership with other registered pharmacists; and therefore, that the letter of ‘No Objection’ issued to Alta Semper as a waiver by the Registrar of PCN was an illegality.

Speaking to reporters after the plenary, Hon Kalu, who is also the spokesperson of the House, said “As you are aware, the PCN Act established the PCN, a body charged with responsibility for regulating the practice of the pharmacy profession in Nigeria, and also charged with the responsibility for maintaining a register of qualified pharmacists and pharmaceutical businesses.

“The combined provisions of the PCN Act and the PCN Regulations stipulate that a retail pharmacy can only be owned by a registered pharmacist or in partnership with other registered pharmacists.

“So it was shocking to learn that by a letter dated 30 October 2017, the PCN Registrar granted a waiver to an equity investment relationship between Health Plus Limited and Alta Semper Capital UK (a.k.a. Idi Holdings) in March 2018 – in defiance of the clear stipulation of our laws, which does not permit unqualified persons to own or operate a retail pharmacy business in Nigeria.

“A mere letter cannot and must not be allowed to abrogate an Act of the National Assembly. Therefore, any structure put on that weak foundation should not be allowed to stand because it was not birthed by legality.

“The only remedy for the Alta Semper-HealthPlus anomaly is for parties to be returned to status quo. While we are open to foreign direct investment, private equity companies must come through the front door and not the back door. We are a rule of law compliant nation. Investors must understand this and comply with our laws.

“The Covid-19 scourge has critically impacted medicine security in Nigeria. So, as we navigate the challenges of the pandemic, now more than ever, there is a grave responsibility on the government to ensure best practices and a healthy regulatory space for local pharmaceutical businesses to thrive.

“Pharmaceutical practice standards and the integrity of the supply chain should not be distorted or compromised. We cannot allow unlicensed practitioners in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical space because it could create a window for fake or substandard drugs to be introduced into the system.”

According to Kalu, the Committee on Public Petitions has been mandated by the House to investigate this issue, adding that the management of Health Plus, Alta Semper Capital, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and every other person who had played a role in the issue would soon be invited to the House.

He said he was confident that in reviewing the petition, the House would do justice to the concerns raised by the petitioner and ensure that the health and safety of Nigerian citizens were safeguarded against predatory or charlatan practitioners in the pharmaceutical sector.

Further investigation by reporters showed that pharmacists in Nigeria were displeased with the relationship between Alta Semper Capital and HealthPlus, arguing that the union is based on an illegality which is harmful to the pharmaceutical sector.

Speaking to reporters, a pharmacist based in Abuja who preferred to remain anonymous said: “What happened with HealthPlus and the foreign investors sets the wrong precedence in the pharmaceutical industry if allowed to stand. It is an affront to the integrity of the profession that an unqualified person will be allowed to run a pharmacy in Nigeria simply because he is a foreign investor. This cannot happen in the legal profession or the medical profession, so why should it happen to pharmacists?

“We are happy that the House has risen up to this and we hope it will return sanity to the profession by returning all parties, both Health Plus and Alta Semper to their initial positions before the letter of no objection.”

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Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport Abuja Named Best Airport In Africa By ACI

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The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja has been awarded the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award 2020 as judged by their customers as the Best Airport by Size and Region (5 to 15 million passengers per year in Africa).

This award represents the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) commitment to continuously improving customer experience across all Nigerian airports according to a statement by Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN.

“The recognition comes at a time when we are geared towards ensuring seamless airport facilitation with the opening of new terminals and upgrading of our current infrastructures across the board.

“Despite a turbulent year plagued by COVID-19 induced financial struggles, the authority has endeavoured to prioritize customer satisfaction while ensuring that health and safety remain topmost,” Yakubu said in the statement.

FAAN MD/CEO, Captain Rabiu Yadudu accepted the award on behalf of the Authority and restated FAAN’s commitment to ensuring the safety, security and comfort of passengers at all airports across the country.

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BREAKING: Crowdyvest Exits EMFATO Holdings, Raises New Investment

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……As Farmcrowdy Fully Leaves The Crowdfunding Space

EMFATO Holdings (owners of Farmcrowdy and investors in Plentywaka) have announced the exit of one of its portfolio companies – Crowdyvest, following up on new investments into the startup to grow as a digital savings company in Nigeria.

Crowdyvest, an impact-driven fintech platform, which was launched just over a year ago, has over 10,000 members who have used opportunities on its platform to sponsor projects in Agriculture, Real Estate, Transportation, Health and Education sectors.

Previously led by its Co-founder & CEO, Onyeka Akumah but today, along with the new investment, there is a change in its management of the company, with Tope Omotolani set to become its new CEO.

Onyeka Akumah explained that the change in leadership will not affect the management and staff of Crowdyvest as they will all be retained but hinted that there will be a new way Crowdyvest will operate.

Following this latest development, the one-year-old startup will set its sights on becoming a leading digital wealth and savings management company focused on a closed-community savings model under Tope Omotolani’s leadership.

“I have taken this decision to move on as the CEO of Crowdyvest as a result of the new investment in the company which provides opportunities for proper scale in the coming months.

“Today, Crowdyvest will also exit fully from EMFATO Holdings and we are very happy about the new investors and to see how Tope will lead this business to new heights.

“Now, I can focus my energy on leading Farmcrowdy and Plentywaka as CEO of both companies into new markets in 2021.

“Tope is a strong and amazing leader and I see her leading Crowdyvest to become one of the go-to wealth management and digital savings companies in Nigeria within the next 3-5 years with her team.

“I wish her all the best and will continue to advise them on their journey when needed,” Onyeka Akumah said.

DigitalTimesNG understands that with this change, Crowdyvest will no longer be an open crowdfunding platform.

An all-new Crowdyvest led by Temitope Omotolani will enter the Fintech industry fully with the launch of the Crowdyvest Savings Platform which gives savings options to over 10,000 subscribed users.

This savings platform will give its users a variety of plans to help build a savings culture based entirely on their pace, so they can reach their life goals faster.

Tope Omotolani will now lead the Fintech company, Crowdyvest to become a leading savings platform in Nigeria.

Farmcrowdy has in the past worked with Crowdyvest to crowdfund for farming projects.

Following this change, Farmcrowdy now fully exits the crowdfunding space with this sale and Crowdyvest will begin to operate a closed-community model for savings.

This new savings platform has been introduced with three new products. These platforms have been properly tailored to fit all categories of individuals, including the Millenials, Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, and each of these products has its unique features and benefits. They are; Flex Savings, Vault Savings, and Pace Savings.

The company said in a statement that every saver enjoys the benefits of high-interest rates from 12.5% to 15%, zero bank charges, plans tailored for everyone, and effective and prompt customer service.

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Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum 2021 Gets June Date

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ITREALMS Media, organizers of the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series, has unveiled the date for this year’s edition.

Editor-in-Chief/Lead Consulting Strategist at ITREALMS Media, Mr. Remmy Nweke, who disclosed this at the weekend, said the management has approved Thursday, June 10, 2021, as the date for the yearly NDSF which borders on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable respectively.

He also revealed that the main theme for 2021 is ‘Digital Cooperation: Enhancing Multistakeholder Governance for Digital Economy.’

According to Nweke, nowadays, a paradigm shift has shown that the digital era brought inconceivable benefits alongside many challenges not limited to growing digital divides, cyber threats, and human rights violations more so, online.

“In order to lay a roadmap for the Nigerian stakeholders towards improving what has become digital cooperation, ITREALMS Media, through its digital rights initiative of the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum (NDSF) series will be exploring the theme for safer, equitable world with positive future on Thursday, June 10 by 9 am at the Welcome Centre Hotels, International Airport Road, Ikeja, Lagos,” Nweke said in a statement.

The Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series is organised by ITREALMS Media and hosted under DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), an At-Large Structure certified by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in collaboration with critical stakeholders including regulators in the Information and Communication Technologies.

Nweke added that the Director of Publications at ITREALMS Media, Mrs Nkem Nweke would anchor by noon of the same day the Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable on ‘Scaling up IPv6 in a post-COVID-19 pandemic.’

He further said that “the NDSF series motivates public discourse and create awareness on the technological cum business benefits of rapidly advancing technologies capable of impacting on ICT adaptation, Internet Governance, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain name industry, their effects on the eco-system and offers first-class platform for industry networking.”

He called on industry players to leverage this opportunity and take an active part in this year’s edition so as to form the digital cooperation required for the digital economy to thrive.

 

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