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Unity Bank Posts N33.9bn Gross Earnings in Nine Months, Grows Assets Base by 44%

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Unity Bank Plc has declared gross earnings of N33.906 billion for the nine months’ period ended September 30, 2020 and also recorded a 44% asset growth during the period.

A review of the unaudited results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that the gross earnings of N33.906 billion represents an 8 per cent growth from N31.256 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

The lender’s total assets rose significantly to N420.870 billion in the nine-month period ended September 30, 2020, from N293.052 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a whopping 44% growth.

This is even as the Bank grew its bottom-line by 6% as Profit Before Tax, PBT moved up to close at N1.710 billion from N1.611 billion in 2019.

Profit After Tax, PAT equally grew by 6% to N1.573 billion compared to the N1.482 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

Specifically, in the Q3, the lender declared a N590 million Profit Before Tax, PBT, representing another 6% increase from the N559.381 million recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

This performance comes on the heels of the unmitigated impact of the global pandemic on the economy, which lingered throughout the quarter with its attendant headwinds that slowed down economic activities.

The lender also substantially grew its customers’ deposit portfolio to N332.362 billion from N257.691 billion for the same period in 2019, creating a 29 per cent increase, affirming the confidence reposed by its wide spectrum of the banking public. The lender, it was gathered, rolled out massive customer-centric products to the public especially in the retail space which accelerated the banking patronage during the period.

Commenting on the result, Unity Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tomi Somefun welcomed the steady growth of the balance sheet especially from both assets and liability side of the business and across key performance indices.

She said that this has had sustained impact on the bottom-line, even as the Bank continues to innovate in its e-business product bouquet to target and support value chain business with robust technology and thus diversify its earnings base’’.

Looking ahead, Mrs. Somefun stated that “One of the areas that will define our strategic direction going forward is investment in alternative channels leveraging further deployment of resources in technology. COVID-19 gave us a chance to test the integrity and scalability of our technology, the IT infrastructure, and the electronic banking channels, and provided us an opportunity to see where we needed to improve and strengthen, knowing that the future of sustainable banking business is in alternative channels”.

The results can also be attributable to the Bank’s growing brand profile and leadership in agribusiness, especially having provided loans and financing to over one million smallholder farmers especially those in primary production and other value chain businesses in the agricultural sector.

During the period under review, the Bank enhanced and deepened its collaboration and partnership with major commodity associations including the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria and the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) to finance over 400 smallholder farmers’ crop production with its overall strategic intent of fostering food security, employment generation and aggregate economic welfare of citizens across the value chains.

The Bank also worked with processors and members of Millers’ Association of Nigeria to provide working capital through the CBN’s various intervention funds, while providing credit facilities to large number of input suppliers and vendors through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme.

In recognition of the above, Mrs Somefun added that the Bank will continue to focus on agriculture, while deepening business in various new markets that have been developed alongside to pull more resources and enhance multiple streams of income.

In the view of analysts, the consistent upward trajectory in the performance of the Bank as shown in Q1, H1 and Q3, 2020 results continue to reinforce growing market confidence as well as demonstrates the commitment and drive of the management to enhance shareholder’s value.

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IMF Outlines Three Reforms Needed to Boost Nigeria’s Economic Growth

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the Nigerian government to implement a minimum of three reforms to boost the country’s economy.

Abebe Selassie, IMF director of African department, spoke on Thursday at a virtual briefing on economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nigeria exited recession with a 0.11 percent growth in the fourth of 2020.

IMF had projected growth of 2.5 percent for Nigeria in 2021 from 1.5 percent announced in January.

The Washington-based institution also forecast a growth of 3.4 percent for the Sub-Saharan Africa region in 2021, up 0.2 percent from the previous forecast.

Selassie said reforms are needed in the area of fiscal space and energy sector to boost growth in the economy.

“In the case of Nigeria, ensuring that the country enjoys its tremendous potential requires reforms in three areas in our view,” he said.

“First and foremost, more fiscal space needs to be created through domestic revenue mobilisation, investments in health, education, and infrastructure which Nigeria expressly needs.

“Second, good reform in the energy sector is going to be paramount. Cost of doing business is very high on account of the inefficiencies of the energy sector, power supply, cost of highly inefficient and hurtful use of generators in the country can hinder power supply. Getting policies to make sure that Nigeria resolves this case once and for all is also paramount.

“Third, macroeconomic policy calibration, involving the foreign exchange market will be really important.”

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FirstBank Hosts Webinar to Sensitise Individuals, Businesses on Staying Protected in Information Age

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider has announced a webinar to sensitise individuals and businesses with useful information on being protected in today’s digital age. 

The virtual event is scheduled to hold by noon on Friday, 16 April 2021 with “Staying Protected Amidst the Pandemic Chaos” being the topic to be discussed at the event. Registration is ongoing for the event via the link https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PUnqA7enTMG8o0OfOaWxlg 

Today’s world, largely referred to as the digital age has been influenced by information technology which has optimised the way we carry out our individual and business activities. 

However, the current age has been marred by illicit activities like identity theft, internet fraud amongst many others which poses a risk to the safety of individuals and businesses. Attending the webinar will have participants knowledgeably equipped with vital information that will ensure they make informed decisions, thereby promoting their safety whilst staying protected against possible risks and malicious attacks.

Tope Aladenusi, Chief Strategy Officer & Cyber Risk Services Leader, Deloitte West Africa; Confidence Staveley, Cyber Security Evangelist/ Founder, Cybersafe Foundation and Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer, FirstBank will lead the discussion at the event.

Speaking on the planned Webinar, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group noted that “the world as a global village is associated with not just benefits but also risks of cyberattack and for individuals, businesses and governments to make the best out of the digital and online opportunities, they need to be deliberate in protecting themselves against cybersecurity threats”.

He further noted that, “in today’s digital age, which the pandemic has accelerated the embrace, cyberattacks are occurring at an alarming rate across the world. As such, no individual, business or government entity with digital and online presence is immune to cyberattacks; and the financial, physical and legal implications of an attack can be significantly upsetting.’’

In concluding, he enjoined everyone to participate in the forthcoming webinar as it is a viable opportunity to stay informed whilst being abreast with current trends that are pivotal to promoting safety in today’s world that is driven by information technology”.

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DPR Declares BUA, 31 Other Refinery Licences Invalid

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Thirty-two refinery project licences issued to private investors in the country have become invalid in the past three years, according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.

The DPR said on Monday that the number of valid refinery project licences stood at 23 as of March 2021, down from 44 in April 2018.

An analysis of the agency’s new list of valid refinery project licences and that of April 2018 showed that 32 licences had become invalid while 11 new licences were granted between May 2018 and March 2021.

As of April 2018, there were 38 proposed modular refineries with capacity ranging from 5,000 barrels per stream day to 30,000bpsd, and six conventional plants with a total capacity of 1.35 million bpsd.

The DPR had said then that 20 of the licences were active, adding that 24 of the licence holders were still sourcing funds, although most of the licences had expired as of April 2018.

The agency’s updated list showed that the construction of four modular refineries, with a total capacity of 23,000bpsd, had been completed.

The refineries are Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited in Imo State, OPAC Refineries in Delta, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (Train 3) in Rivers, and Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited in Edo.
The biggest refinery project, which is being built by Dangote Oil Refinery Company in Lagos, is more than 80.3 per cent completed, according to the DPR.

The refinery projects whose licences were declared invalid by the agency include BUA Refinery & Petrochemicals (Akwa Ibom); Dee Jones (Cross River); Energia Limited (Delta State); Southfield Petrochemical & Refinery Ltd (Edo); Starex Petroleum Refinery (Onne Oil & Gas Free Trade Zone); RG Shinjin Petrochemicals (Delta); Don Mac (Edo), and Platinum Hydrocarbon Resources (Delta).

Others are Mondonat Nigeria Ltd (Delta); Ikwe-Onna Refinery (Akwa Ibom); Shepha Petroleum & Petrochemicals Company (Delta); JIL-Amber (Port Harcourt Refinery); Gazingstock Petroleum Company (Delta); Petrolex Oil & Gas Limited (Ogun); Eghudu Refinery (Edo); Ibafon Refinery FZE (Calabar FTZ, Cross River); and Kainji Resources (Imo).

Among them are Eko Petrochem & Refining Company (Lagos); Hi Rev Oil (Akwa Ibom); Epic Refinery & Petrochemical Industries (Bayelsa); Masters Energy Oil & Gas (Rivers); Cross Country Oil & Gas (Imo); Grifon Energy (Ondo); Sifax Oil & Gas Company (Lagos); and Capital Oil & Gas Industries (Lagos);

Others are All Grace Energy (Rivers); Green Energy International (Rivers); Fresh Energy Limited (Bayelsa); Chyzob Oil & Gas (Abia); Aiteo Energy Resources Limited (Delta); Associated Worldwide Company (Akwa Ibom); and Amakpe International Refinery (Akwa Ibom).

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