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To Enhance Ease of Doing Business, Banks in Ghana Commence Use of GH QR Code

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Six banks in Ghana have initiated services to allow the public pay for goods and services through the universal Gh QR code.

The banks are Ecobank, GCB Bank, Zenith Bank, Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank and Agriculture Development Bank. Other banks are still in the process to enable them begin the rollout.

The Ghana Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, launched the universal QR code in March this year. The service adds on to the plethora of electronic payment solutions that the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has rolled out over the years.

With the QR code, customers only need to scan the codes displayed at various shops and other outlets with their smartphones to make payment. Those who do not have smart phones can pay with their feature phones by dialling a code that will also be displayed at the merchant’s location. QR code is cheap and easy to set up. It is also a quick and secure way to make payment.

It takes away the direct contact associated with cash transactions, which makes it safer to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ecobank had earlier deplored QR codes but could only be used by their customers. However with the introduction of the Gh QR code, Ecobank has converted most of their existing QR codes of clients, to make them acceptable to all customers regardless of their banks. The other five banks have begun deploying their Gh QR codes at various outlets.

Chief Executive of GhIPSS Mr. Archie Hesse commended the banks that have started deployment and encouraged businesses to liaise with banks to have the Gh QR code installed to increase their payment options to customers. Mr. Hesse also challenged the remaining banks to quicken up the processes, as they risk losing their clients to other banks.

The QR code for payment is simple to set up as it only involves generating unique QR codes which can be a mere sticker posted on the wall of the shops or on a small stand.

“Once you find the QR Code displayed, you just have to scan and you pay or dial the USSD code and pay, it is that convenient. Gh QR is universal so anyone can use any of them, regardless of your bank”, Mr. Hesse stressed.

A wide range of businesses including taxi drivers, small shops, super markets, pharmacies, chop bars, restaurants as well as major service providers can all use QR codes to accept payments, the GhIPSS Boss noted.

Ghana’s payment system has been modernised with the introduction of many electronic payment solutions that have made payment a lot more convenient, secure and faster.

The addition of the Gh QR code has increased the choice that customers have to pay for goods and services. This will eliminate the several instances where businesses lose out, because the customer has run out of cash.

Currently customers can pay from either their bank account or mobile money wallet through different channels such as MoMo pay, POS and now Gh QR code among others.

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‘Unity Bank Continues to Operate on Improved Key Performance Indicator’

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Unity Bank Plc has debunked the rumours making the rounds about the action of the bank on its performance.

In a statement, the bank made clarifications as follows:

Our attention has been drawn to some online reports on purported action of the board of Unity Bank on the performance of the Bank.

The Bank has a cohesive board that is working harmoniously with the Executive Management team led by Mrs. Tomi Somefun (MD/CEO) to drive the growth of the Bank.

The management of the Bank, with the support of its Board has made inroads into key sectors of the economy through initiatives and programmes that have improved the fortunes of the Bank over that past five years.

Notable amongst these are sale of the Bank’s legacy non- performing legacy loans, the relocation of its corporate head office to Lagos (the commercial hub of Nigeria), deliberate focus on digital, retail and commercial business as well as supporting the growth of the real sector of the economy through its participation in the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) intervention funds to promote agri-business in Nigeria.

It is worthy of note that through the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (APB), the Bank has enrolled over one million farmers over the last three years which has boosted the production of critical food items in Nigeria (Rice, Maize, Cotton and Wheat) as well as creating of various value-chain opportunities and employment within the Agric Sector.

The Bank’s gross earnings for the 9 months ended September 2020 grew by 8 per cent to 33.906 billion from N31.256 billion in the same period in 2019.

The lender’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) for the 9 months grew by 6 per cent to N1.710 billion from N1.611 billion in 2019, while Profit After Tax, PAT equally grew by 6 per cent to N1.573 billion compared to the N1.482 billion recorded in the same period in 2019. Profit After Tax for the period stood at N543.135 million, an equally 6 per cent increase from the N514.631 billion recorded in Q3, 2019.

A further review of the result showed that the Bank recorded an impressive 44 per cent rise in total assets to N420.870 billion for the 9- month period ended September 2020, from N293.052 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

The lender also substantially grew deposits to N332.362 billion from N257.691 billion for the same period in 2019 – a 29 per cent increase showing improved customers confidence in the Bank.

The Bank in its statement issued through Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday, April 09, 2021 submitted its 2021 audited report to the CBN and currently awaiting final approval by the regulators.

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Again, FG Extends Deadline for NIN-SIM Card Linkage

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The Federal Government has announced the extension of the deadline for Nigerians to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) by one month.

The deadline extension follows a request presented to President Muhammadu Buhari to that effect and his subsequent endorsement.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued on Friday, April 2, 2021. It was jointly signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde and the Head of Corporate Communications at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr Kayode Adegoke.

The approval to extend the period of the NIN-SIM linkage to May 6 was given at the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on NIN-SIM data linkage and key stakeholders held on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement noted that over 51 million people now have their NINs with a significant increase in the monthly enrolments.

The statement partly reads, “Based on the updates of the NIN-registration process, over 51 million people have been assigned NINs. There are many people who have enrolled and are in the process of being assigned NINs. With each individual having an average of three to four SIMs, the total number of SIMs tied to NINs would be close to the total number of registered SIMs in the country.

The current number of monthly enrollments has increased significantly to about 2.6 million registrations. There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrollments. There are also many more new centres in the pipeline,”the statement said.

The meeting chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, was attended by various key stakeholders, including the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.

The EFCC boss, while addressing the meeting said that the NIN-SIM card linkage would support the Federal Government’s effort in checkmating the activities of fraudsters and cybercriminals.

Pantami, thanked Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise and reiterated the government’s commitment to continue taking decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.

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Access Bank Acquires GroBank of South Africa for $60m

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Access Bank Plc has acquired Grobank of South Africa, shelling out a whopping $60million in the transaction.

The South African acquisition is its third in eight months, having taken over Kenya’s Transnational Bank in July and Zambia-based Cavmont Bank in January.
Access Bank paid about $60 million to purchase a controlling interest in South Africa’s 74-year-old Grobank, its CEO said on Tuesday, signaling the culmination of the tier 1 lender’s aspiration to foray into Africa’s most industrialised nation and tap its market.

The move makes it Nigeria’s first bank to do so, with Access Bank ploughing in both equity and debt in Grobank as part of the grand plan to explore trade banking deals on its way to becoming “Africa’s Gateway to the World,” Managing Director Herbert Wigwe told CNBC Africa.

It will open up the means to widen trade finance capacity in Grobank, which is presently increasing its attention on the country’s agriculture industry.

No mention was made of the precise stake size but the lender said in a note in September “the first is an initial cash consideration for a 49 per cent shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche”.

Banks in Nigeria are stepping up efforts to create new ways of bolstering earnings beyond its shores as a buffer to an economic downturn that has triggered a fall in government bond yields and accelerated the incidence of restructured loan, helped by the pandemic.

“We have a full retail banking licence in South Africa. We will pursue a wholesale banking franchise. We will pursue trade finance,” Wigwe said.

The South African acquisition is its third in eight months, having taken over Kenya’s Transnational Bank in July and Zambia-based Cavmont Bank in January.

It hopes to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement to enter Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Angola, Namibia and Ethiopia.

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