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Sanwo-Olu Unveils EcoBank Pan African Centre in Lagos

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Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the new ultra-modern Ecobank Nigeria head office, the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) has a strong connection that will enhance the state’s Smart City Project and modernize infrastructure within the metropolis. The governor who was speaking during the commissioning of the office complex in Lagos lauded the management of the Pan African bank for the vision behind the project as it is redefining building and infrastructure development in the state, stressing that the building meets the various vital parameter such as latest energy-efficient technology, environmental sustainability, sparkling ambience and state-of-the-art amenities that will further enhance staff sustainability and service delivery.

He expressed excitement over the state-of-the-art facilities at the complex, noting that “This Pan African center is indeed an intelligent building designed with energy efficiency and is one of the things we need in Nigeria. I know that this building will speak to a lot of the very best. It is  a state-of-the-art building focused on environmental sustainability and I am sure that from what I have seen around, it is a redefining building and infrastructural development.”

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reiterated that Lagos State will continue to create an environment that enhances and improve the efficiency of business and attract foreign direct investment. “The government of Lagos state is happy to let us know that we are building one of the audacious and vibrant infrastructure in the whole of Africa. You know that we are currently deploying over 3000 km of fiber connectivity to support businesses that require low-cost connectivity. We will continue to create enabling environment for you.” While lauding Ecobank management for its sustained attainments of the bank over the years, he urged them to continue to attract the underbanked to the banking space.

Welcoming guests, Chairman, Ecobank Nigeria, Bola Adesola said the Centre is a dream come true, noting that it is a tribute to the vision of the founding fathers in creating a world class Pan-African Banking group and providing excellent financial services across Africa. She said the Centre with sparkling ambience, boasts of state-of-the-art amenities, houses smart offices, a restaurant, multipurpose conference hall, gym, creche, parking lot that can accommodate 130 vehicles at a time, experience and game centre and a rooftop terrace, among others, stating it is targeted to further enhance productivity and service delivery to customers.

Also speaking, Group Chief Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporation (ETI), Ade Ayeyemi said EPAC is an important milestone as it consolidates achievements of several years of the company. According to him, “The office complex brings together our staff. It is a testament to the effort of the people that has come before us. It allows us to be able to create a new working environment where our staff can attend to customers and our customers can do business in the smart working environment. We can bring all our staff to one location instead of distributing them across multiple locations.”

Talking about the uniqueness of Ecobank brand, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan said the vision of the founding founders was to build a pan African centre, stressing that the bank is presently in 35 countries of Africa.

According to him, “In Nigeria, we are a major player in the financial industry. Recall we launched the first international credit card in the history of banking in Nigeria, the Ecobank Master card and Visa card in 2004. We are also a pioneer in mobile banking, *326# was one of the first mobile banking platform approved.

“In this era of AFCTA where Africa aims at operating as one market.  This pan African centre has opened its doors to every SMEs, individuals seeking to expand their business across Africa. We are the go-to bank for trade, payment, and collection in Africa because we have one pan African switch to make instant payment across Africa. The way you see Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) transfer within Nigeria is the way Ecobank is across Africa. Our mobile app is one bank that has 33 countries on it.” He stated.

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Business

Fitch Upgrades Fidelity Bank’s Issuer Default Rating from ‘B-’ to ‘B’

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Fitch Ratings has upgraded Fidelity Bank Plc’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) from ‘B-’ to ‘B’, reflecting the bank’s increased creditworthiness. The rating agency also upgraded Fidelity’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A(nga)’ from ‘BBB+(nga)’.

According to the global rating agency, the upgrade is a result of the Bank’s improving business profile and resilient financial metrics. The agency added that the improved rating reflected the bank’s increased creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria, emphasizing that, “Fidelity’s Long- and Short-Term IDRs are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b’ ’’.

The agency further stated that the VR reflects healthy asset quality, good business profile and reasonable capitalisation and liquidity. These are balanced against high sensitivity to Nigeria’s challenging operating environment as well as higher credit concentration as a percentage of equity and weaker profitability than larger domestic-rated peers.

Commenting on the upgraded rating, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, stated, “Receiving this upgrade at a time when the global economy is faced with a myriad of challenges, speaks to the strength of our business model, the efficacy of our risk management culture and the commitment of our staff towards creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.  As a bank, we will continue to execute our growth strategy in a prudent manner that allows us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in our various markets”.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge: Delta, Rivers Corps Members to Benefit from N10m Business Grant

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Unity Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurial Development Initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, is set to return for the 8th edition across 10 locations in Nigeria, including a debut in Delta and Rivers States.  

The Retail lender kick-started the Corpreneurship Challenge scheme in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states, which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja, but with the increasing traction of the initiative among corps entrepreneurs, the Bank has now expanded the programme to 10 states across the federation.

The first expanded edition covered Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, Katsina, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna. This edition will hold for the first time in Rivers and Delta as well as making a return to Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.

The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank a national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.

Previous editions saw participants pitching business plans from several sectors including software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, and piggery to beverages which were assessed based on originality, marketability, and future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.

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IPMAN Warns Members Against Selling PMS Above N165/Litre

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.

IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.

The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.

He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product. The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.

“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”

Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.

“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.

The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”

On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”

He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”

The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.

The Punch

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