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Shareholders Commend FBN, Believe Future is Bright

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The shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc have been assured of brighter future and enhanced dividend at the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting in Lagos, Dr Oba Otudeko, FBN Holdings Group Chairman, assured the shareholders that the company had mapped out strategies aimed at ensuring enhanced value creation for the future.

Otudeko said that the board and management would work together to create shareholder value and build strong foundation for the future.

“We are not resting on our laurels, and our renewed approach to synergy and innovation will be major drivers to unlocking earnings potential for our group.

“We believe that our efforts to integrate our offerings and provide end-to-end solutions for our customers will create a competitive advantage in our markets,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Urum Kalu Eke,  Group Managing Director FBN Holdings, said that the company was committed to greater exploits in the future in its drive to deliver value to its shareholders.

” I would like to reiterate our promise to you and the entire market that 2019 represents for us the year of inflection.

“All leading indicators, derived from our numbers, point to the commencement of growth across businesses, markets and indices.

“As we transition to a new strategic planning cycle post-2019, we are confident that the focused execution  of our strategy, investment in future-enabling technologies, development of our talents and our re-engineered processes to repositioning the group for ultimate benefit of the shareholders,” Eke said.

He also commended the shareholders for their unwavering support to the group over the years.

The company for the period under review posted a profit after tax of N59.7 billion compared with N45. 5 billiin achieved in the comparative period of 2017, an increase of 31.4 per cent.

Profit before tax stood at N65. 3 billion against N54.5 billion recorded in 2017, representing a growth of 19.7 per cent.

Gross earnings stood at N583.5 billion compared with N595. 4 billion in 2017, a decrease of two per cent.

Its total assets rose by 6.3 per cent from N5.2 trillion in 2017 to N5.6 trillion during the review period.

Similarly, customers deposits expanded by 10.9 per cent from N3.1 trillion in 2017 to N3.5 trillion in 2018.

The year also recorded reduction in impairment charges which declined to N87. 3 billion from N150.4 billion, representing 42 per cent drop and a proof to the improving loan book of the commercial bank.

He assured the shareholders that the board and management had restructured the entire group for more sustainable growth.

“For liquidity perspective,  you have a strong institution that would pay dividend on a regular basis.

“We have built capital buffet at the commercial bank and the other entities are well capitalised also.

“2019 promises to be a much better year than 2018; all operating entities are in safe hands with good management teams.

“NPL ratio should be at single digit by end of 2019, we will pursue recovery and when it happens the commercial bank will contribute to dividend payment,” he stated.

Eke noted that significant growth in the bottom line was due to several factors including the improved risk management processes which endured that impairment changes dropped year-on-year.

He , also, attributed the growth to implementation of servers cost containment initiatives during the period.

Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Chief Executive Officer,  said that recovery efforts on all accounts provisioned were in progress.

Adeduntan said that the bank would ensure that no kobo would be left in the hands of third party, noting that, they bank would work harder to resolve all the legacy NPL.

He said that the number of banking agents had increased to 20,000, adding that the figure processed through  agency banking platform reached N1 trillion as at last week.

The shareholders at the meeting approved a total dividend of N9.3 billion, which translated to 26k per share.

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Ecobank Partners Vanguard Economic Forum Series, Convenes MSME Finance Summit

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Ecobank Nigeria and Vanguard Economic Forum Series have announced that they are convening an MSME virtual summit to promote and encourage lending support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the face of changing operating environment in the country.

The virtual summit with the theme: Unlocking Credit Growth in a Changing MSME Lending Landscape, will be broadcast and streamed live via zoom platform scheduled for May 21st by 11am.

The conference in strategic partnership with Nigerian Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) and Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) will convene keynote speakers and panelist from regulatory agencies of government, policy decision makers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business and industry thought leaders. The speakers and panelists carefully drawn from the banking, trade associations and other key sectors of the economy are subject matter experts in MSMEs and lending.

Confirmed speakers include Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Bank of Industry (BoI); Dr. Dikko Rada, Director General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN); Adenike Adeyemi, Executive Director, Fate Foundation; Eke Ubiji, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) and a representative of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), amongst others. The Guest Of Honour will be the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Jumoke Oduwole, while Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria will be the Chief Host.

Announcing the conference in Lagos, Emeka Agada, Country Head, SME Ecobank Nigeria Limited said the Summit as a thought leadership content platform would deeply dialogue on the critical role of MSMEs as the economic engine room of any prosperous nation and the need to support the sub sector with capital, including examination of key issues and ways of achieving the objective through digital financial inclusion for the MSMEs. He disclosed that there will be audience engagement of members of various trade groups such as NASME (Nigerian Association of Small & Medium Enterprises) and SMEDAN (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency ) with a view to detailing various lending options. He further reiterated that the ‘Ecobank Digital Series’ is in line with the Bank’s vision to consolidate a modern pan-African market, contribute to the economic development and financial integration of the continent.

Also speaking, Jude Ndu, Director, Vanguard Conferences and The Economic Forum Series says: “As a follow up to the hugely successful Ecobank Digital Financial Inclusion virtual summit, we are indeed pleased and delighted with the ongoing high-level strategic partnership with Ecobank Nigeria in the area of concept development, synthesis, design and execution of high profile thematic bespoke events. The upcoming conference speaks to the strong sense of confidence the bank has in us to help curate thought leadership content and context for the brand in line with its marketing objectives.

He noted that the MSME conference would help Ecobank communicate and connect with Nigeria’s largely MSMEs on its lending options and support, adding that the bank will also showcase its strength in the digital banking space such as its innovative digital payment channels like the OmniPlus, Omnilite and digital sales collections channels like Ecobankpay NQR amongst other financial service offerings to close the large financial Inclusion gap and a direct response to mitigating the economic challenge post-COVID-19.

The Ecobank Digital Series is a virtual programme organised by Ecobank to educate and enlighten the public on crucial issues of public interest, especially as it relates to their financial empowerment.

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Listing on LCFE: Heritage Bank-Dukia Gold Set to Unlock N344trn Market Worth of Gold

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Heritage Bank for being part of valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Limited is set to unlock the over N344 trillion market worth of gold investible instruments in the solid minerals sector with the concluded plans of being listed on the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE).

This move that will entrench expand revenue in the non-oil sector through diversification, by stimulating growth in solid minerals in line with the objectives of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) will also put Nigeria on the global map with regards to standardized gold tracing, sourcing procurement and trading it.

In summary, this was disclosed at the LCFE-Dukia Gold media parley held yesterday at the LCFE Trading Floor in Lagos.

Speaking at the parley, the Chairman of Dukia Gold, Tunde Fagbemi who commended Heritage Bank as the project financier and for its other pertinent supports, said Heritage had so far been the banker’s bank for playing key role in backing to promote the first solid mineral listing on Exchange in West Africa.

Specifically, he explained that the instruments which would be in the form of Exchange Traded Notes (ETN), Commercial Papers (CP), and other gold-backed securities would enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria. He added that it would increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the government to diversify external reserves and create massive employment across the metal production value chain.

“We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.

“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds.

“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. “Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located. “There must be constant power supply, good road network and other social amenities, apart from employment opportunities for the rural dwellers,” Fagbemi explained.

He also noted that with its current 25 production capacity pound and further room for expansion, Dukia Gold has the ability to meet both local and international demand through its gold refinery services to smelt melts.

Commenting on the collaboration, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo said that the partnership was one of the many initiatives of the bank’s foundational objectives of wealth creation, preservation and transfer across generations.

He further disclosed that the bank offer the gold commodity market three focal contact point in partnership, knowledge and perspective sharing, which ensure that every transaction was auditable to protect investors.

Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, of the Bank, Olusegun Akanji, said the bank had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.

Speaking, the MD, LCFE, Akin Akeredolu-Ale, who also commended Heritage Bank for its critical role in aiding the fundraising and the financier institution for the Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments, affirmed that this would enhance the company credibility rating and put Nigeria on the global map.

He noted that the LCFE was ready to support all the stakeholders in the gold sector in the areas of market creation, price discovery, and dissemination of market information, among others.

Gbenga Awe, Divisional Head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources & Project Devt., of Heritage Bank noted that one of the benefits of this initiative was that the local miners could now trade their gold at the bank’s designated experience centers, as solid foundation had been created for market, price and asset discovery.

Akintola noted that the firm had the capability, technicalities and the necessary accreditation to operate in the gold value chain.

He stated that the listing on the Lagos Commodities would raise awareness of performance of Dukia Gold to the investing world and position it as foremost number one Precious Metals Refining Company in Nigeria.

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Financial Literacy: Unity Bank Begins One Minute Genius 2.0

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In its drive to boost financial literacy among students in primary and secondary schools across the nation, Nigerian lender, Unity Bank Plc has flagged off Season 2 of its pioneer educational gameplay, the One Minute Genius, OMG.

The OMG 2.0 game play, which kicked off in May 3, 2021, on the Unity Bank’s Website (www.omg.unitybankng.com) is an expanded version of the maiden edition to be played virtually.

Over 200 winners will emerge at the end of the 25-day contest. To win prizes in any of categories, participating students can play the virtual game from Monday to Friday between 8 AM – 6 PM.

The One Minute Genius (OMG) is an initiative that underscores Unity Bank’s commitment to the development of the next generation, as it seeks to connect with their aspirations and reinforce the importance of education as a vehicle to empower the Nigerian child. Children and students between the ages of 6 –17 years can participate in the game.

According to the Divisional Head, Retail/SME & E-business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, the idea is to enable the participants improve their intelligence quotient and unleash the genius in them.

Mr Olufunwa further explained that the game will be played as a blend of quizzes containing spelling Bee and Arithmetic questions. “The children that answer the questions correctly within the one-minute stipulated timeframe will be rewarded with cash prizes”, he quips.

Throwing more light on the initiative, Mr. Olufunwa said, “the Bank has decided to continue investing in the game play because it is pleased with the impact which the previous editions of the contest had created being a vehicle for reinvigorating the values of education through gamification and fun”.

Still speaking, Mr, Olufunwa stated: “Unity Bank remains committed to playing a critical role in advancing learning for a better society by developing the minds of our children. And this virtual, participatory learning and reward contest has proved quite effective in achieving the goals of motivating the students towards subject mastery using a branch of reinforcement model”

He added: “On the heels of COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted negatively on the education sector in Nigeria by disrupted learning, an activity such as the OMG provides a veritable opportunity to boost learning, even as all stakeholders continue to make deliberate efforts to cater to the needs of our future generation.

“We hope that parents and guardians will encourage their wards with every support needed to enable the students explore the opportunity that this provides.”

Recall that the 2o20 edition of the OMG attracted massive interests from across Nigeria, producing no fewer than 120 winners who coasted home with millions of naira in cash rewards.

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