LAGOS – In a move that has sent shockwaves through Nigeria’s tech and finance sectors, Chams Holdings Plc, the renowned identity management and verification services provider, announced its decision to halt any future projects with the federal government of Nigeria. The bold step comes in the wake of a staggering $100 million debt that the company squarely places on the government’s shoulders.
- Chams Holdings Plc announces the termination of all future projects with the federal government of Nigeria, citing a $100 million debt.
- The friction dates back to 2015 when the NIMC terminated its contract with Chams Plc. Counter-claims, allegations of poaching, and intellectual property theft have added fuel to the fire.
- Chams emphasizes rapid growth over the past six quarters and a future focus on consumer and digital projects within Nigeria, expanding to West Africa later.
- The ongoing saga raises questions about the transparency, trust, and commitment of public-private collaborations in Nigeria.
The announcement was made during the company’s “Facts Behind The Figures” presentation, a significant event held at the Nigerian Exchange Limited. Demola Aladekomo, the Chairman of Chams Group, while addressing a room filled with industry stakeholders, shed light on the company’s grievances and future strategies.
Reflecting on the past, Aladekomo said, “The major project that you all supported us to get done, based on the antecedents that you saw, after we pioneered the e-payment system and other technologies, and we just delivered the Independent National Electoral Commission project at that time, unfortunately, failed.” He elaborated that the government’s mishandling, particularly during the National ID initiative, led to the company incurring a monumental loss of $100 million.
But it wasn’t all about looking back. The Chairman also shared the company’s future strategies and reassured stakeholders about Chams’ growth and stability. Aladekomo emphasized the company’s rapid growth in the last six quarters, attributing it to a focused approach by the leadership team. In what seemed like a bid to insulate the company from further potential government-related setbacks, he announced, “Chams will no longer collaborate with the government or any organization connected to it. We will strictly focus on consumer and digital projects, with our immediate attention on Nigeria and soon branching out to West Africa.”
Diving deeper into the company’s forward-looking strategy, Aladekomo added, “We solely work on consumer projects; we are here to serve you. With an exclusive focus on digital products, our mission is to cover Nigeria comprehensively over the next few months. And as we shift our gaze to West Africa, let me reiterate: Apart from our regulators, we have no intentions of liaising with the government.”
The roots of the tussle between Chams and the government date back to 2015. That year marked a significant turning point when the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) abruptly terminated its contract with Chams Plc. The reason cited was the company’s alleged underperformance. However, the narrative took a twist when Chams Plc shot back with counter-claims. The company argued that the NIMC’s involvement was a detrimental factor in their performance.
The waters were further muddied when Aladekomo made a rather serious allegation, accusing the NIMC of poaching Chams’ technical partners and misappropriating their intellectual property. While these accusations cast a long shadow, it’s worth noting that the NIMC has categorically denied the allegations through a press release.
In conclusion, this development serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges private enterprises can face while navigating collaborations with government entities. The need for transparency, trust, clear communication, and honoring commitments stands out as the pillars for successful public-private partnerships. Whether this incident will pave the way for a more transparent operational environment or further widen the trust deficit remains to be seen.