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Stats: 14,424 members, 49,488 Topics, 11,145 Comments. Date: November 15, 2018, 6:32 pm

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Reports from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday indicate that HSBC and UBS Nigeria had closed their representative offices and shutdown operations.

Reasons for this have not been provided.

This development follows news that foreign direct investment (FDI) into Nigeria has fallen from a year ago.

FDI into Nigeria totalled 379.84 billion naira ($1.2 billion) in the first half of 2018 compared with 532.63 billion naira ($1.7 billion) a year earlier.

HSBC had recently become entangled in the country’s political debate. An analyst at the bank recently warned that a second term for president Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election in February 2019, may stall economic recovery.

The presidency through the minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, replied the global giant bank as follows: “We have all read that the Intelligence Unit of the Economist said the PDP will defeat the ruling APC in 2019.

“We have also read that the international financial institution, HSBC, said Nigeria’s economic development will be stunted if President Buhari gets a second term.

“Let me state clearly that these reports are based on fake premises and, therefore, qualify as fake news. “It is a psychological warfare by those who have been badly hit by our policies”.

The minister explained: “Our fight against corruption has meant that many financial institutions, especially banks, that fed fat on the proceeds of corruption are no longer able to do that. “

Also, international publications that used to feed fat on questionable supplements paid for by the Federal Government have seen a drastic reduction in such patronage, as the Administration cuts down on frivolous spending that was the order of the day in the past.

“Therefore, it is natural that these institutions and publications would not wish to see another term for this Administration. “The truth, however, is that only the good people of Nigeria will determine who presides over the affairs of the country, not any bank or media establishment, irrespective of their influence or self importance”

An investigation also alleged HSBC had been involved in former military dictator Sani Abacha’s efforts to launder $100 million. HSBC has not commented on the accusation.

Furthermore, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a statement disclosed via the agencies official facebook handle, opined that it would not stop until every penny belonging to the country is returned.

UBS began efforts to expand its private banking and wealth management services in the country in 2013 after reports revealed that the country’s wealthy population was also surging.

In a ruling that has rattled many foreign investors, South African telecoms company MTN was ordered to return $8.1bn of “illegally” repatriated dividends back to Nigeria.

UBS and HSBC declined to comment on the closing of their offices. Both banks had opened representative offices in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital.

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