Saturday, 18 January 2020

Access Bank Plc has expanded into Kenya, to take over Nairobi-headquartered Transnational Bank Plc.

A strategic masterstroke by all measure, venturing into Kenya positions the bank to leverage commercial and economic benefits available in the country reputed to be East Africa’s largest economy.

“The acquisition will further complement the bank’s franchise in Rwanda, Congo DRC and Zambia,” its statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) reads.

The feat is the second international milestone recorded by Access, itself Nigeria’s biggest bank by asset, in just one week, having ventured into Cameroon, Nigeria’s eastern neighbour only two days ago.

It is probable that Access’s landing on Kenya’s shores could prove a baptism of fire, given Kenya’ stringent banking regulatory framework, where a cap on lending rates, stricter oversight by the central bank and an explosion of lenders has ignited several consolidation deals since 2017.

Already, Access has footprints in seven African economies and the United Kingdom with representative offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, India and Lebanon.

Published in Bank & Finance
Saturday, 18 January 2020 11:38

HIV: Nigeria govt approves CD4 Rapid Test kit

The Federal Government has approved the evaluation of Omega Visitect Cluster Differentiation Molecule 4 (Omega CD4) Rapid Test Kit to monitor patients living with HIV, responding to Anti-Retroviral Therapy.

CD4 is a diagnostic device for the detection and monitoring of HIV infection.

In people with HIV Infection, the CD4 count is one of the important laboratory indicators of immune function and predictor of HIV progression.

Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, disclosed this at the Dissemination Meeting of Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test kit Laboratory-Based Evaluation Report and Kit on Friday in Abuja.

“The Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test Kit Performed well in Identifying persons with low CD4 count with a sensitivity of 97.9 percent.

“It is noted that the detection of higher CD4 count is poor, with a specificity of 46.4 percent.

“The kit, however, meets the requirement to be recommended for use in the National HIV testing algorithm.

“I hereby officially disseminate the Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test Kit Laboratory-Based Evaluation and approve its use in Nigeria,’’ he said.

According to him, current data indicates that Nigeria has 1.9 million persons infected with HIV and about 1.1 million on Anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

The minister said in line with the global 90-90-90 targets, there should be 1.71 million people who know their status.

“This means that up to 600,000 HIV Positive persons need to be identified and tested by December 2020.

“The second “90” target is to have 1.54 million persons living with HIV/AIDs (PLHIV) on ART by December; this underscores the need for appropriate diagnostic tools,’’ he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said the dissemination of the testing kit was coming at a time when the ministry was concern about the quality of healthcare.

The permanent secretary said dissemination of testing kit was also coming at the time when the ministry was concern about effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.

“Nigeria has to expand HIV testing algorithm to accommodate the yearning and aspiration of all of us bearing in mind the WHO specifications on sustainability of HIV Testing kits in the country,’’ he said.

According to him, the major focus of the meeting will be the presentation of Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test kit Laboratory-Based Evaluation Report.

“We hope with the approval from the minister, in addition to other kits, it will make the quality of test kit readily available in the country.’’

Giving an overview of the report, Mr Manason Rubainu, Chair, Laboratory Evaluation Team, said the overview was necessary to be able to know the performance of the device used in laboratory.

Rubainu said the team did phase one evaluation and got samples from the six geopolitical zones; characterised the testing and used some specimens to evaluate the performance of the test kit.

“For CD4 testing, it was used to measure if the patient could fight disease or not; it was also used to diagnose advance HIV, depending on CD4 count,’’ he said.

Mr Majekodunmi Aborode, Nigerian Representative, Omega Diagnostics Limited, assured of the availability of the CD4 testing kit.

“One of the objectives of the company apart from enriching the health sector in the country is economic aspect of it.

“I have discussed with the manufacturer if they can bring the technology to Nigeria and they have promised to bring the plant to the country; that is part of the agreement I had with the manufacturer,’’ he said.

According to him, one Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test kit costs six 6 dollars (about N2,160) and it is more avoidable.

“It is less expensive, it does not require any maintenance, it does not require any electricity; also you will know your count result in 40 minutes.’’

Similarly, Mr Araoye Segilola, the National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI and Hepatitis Control Programme, said the kit could be used to test other diseases such as Malaria and Tuberculosis in patients living with HIV.

Segilola, an official of the Department of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said the kit could also be used to detect the response of the patient to medicine.

The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the 35-page report of Laboratory Evaluation of Omega Visitect CD4 Rapid Test Kit to the minister, NAN reports.

Published in World

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) posted its first two losses for 2020 this week as profit-taking dragged performance down on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It rallied on Thursday thanks to investors’ swelling interest in blue-chip stocks.

However, three days of gain tempered the impact of two straight days of losses on the overall market performance, causing market capitalisation to climbed up by N81 billion as the wound down.

Investors had reason to be happy as all the key market performance indicators appreciated. However, a negative market breadth was recorded this week as 21 gainers were recorded compared to 42 losers. The All Share Index (ASI) grew marginally by 0.69% to 29,618.52 basis points. Market Capitalisation similarly grew, in this case by 0.54% to close at N15.256 trillion.

Trade Volume of 2.087 billion shares worth N26.470 billion was recorded in 24,262 deals this week compared to the 2.683 billion shares valued at N21.675 billion posted in 30,956 deals last week.

On the Activity Chart, the Financial Services sector dominated trade with 1.117 billion shares estimated at N13.693 billion traded in 13,739 transactions. In other words, it contributed 53.51% and 51.73% to the total equity volume and value respectively. The Healthcare sector traded 521.893 million shares worth N182.965 million in 420 deals. The Conglomerates sector came third, trading 123.606 million shares priced at N573.907 million in 1,164 deals.

As regards Index Movement, all indices slumped save for the NSE 30, NSE CG, NSE Premium, NSE Banking, NSE Afri Bank Value, NSE MERI Value and NSE Oil and Gas Index, which grew by 0.66%, 0.64%, 3.85%, 2.30%, 2.67%, 1.74% and 0.57% respectively. The NSE ASem Index closed flat.

MAJOR DEVELOPMENT

Continental Reinsurance Plc delisted its entire issued share capital from the NSE on Friday following a Scheme
of Arrangement by which CRe African Investments Limited will acquire all the 10,372,744,312 ordinary shares of Continental Reinsurance. By this move, the firm ceased to be a quoted company on the Exchange.

Published in Business
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