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AFDB, Fidelity Bank Sign $50m Financing Agreement For MSMEs

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Fidelity Bank Plc Tuesday signed a $50 million financing agreement, designed to boost the Nigerian bank’s impetus in promoting the growth of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) segment of the economy.

The agreement-signing ceremony in Abuja Tuesday was a formal consummation of the AfDB Board’s October 10, 2018 approval of the facility, which is totally dedicated to financing the MSMEs.

A minimum of 30 per cent of the entire facility will be devoted to wholly women-owned enterprises.

In his remarks at the ceremony in Abuja, the AfDB Senior Director/Country Representative, Ebrima Faao, who signed on behalf of his bank, said the pan-African financial institution was excited with the Fidelity Bank partnership.

“We are excited about this partnership. The lines of credit tended to be general support for SMEs. This one has strong emphasis on gender. It can be considered as a vanguard credit for us.

“Our main focus is to reach out to SMEs to give the much needed impact. We count on you to ensure that the requirement for loan disbursement is okay to enable it reach out to the target audience,” Faao said.

He had previously described Fidelity Bank as a niche player, focused on the SME space, adding that the $50 million credit line will contribute to strengthening its presence in its key market segments.

The Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mohammed Balarabe, who also signed for his bank, stated that this line of credit granted to his bank was principally targeted at the MSMEs.

In an interview with THISDAY, he said: “It’s particularly unique because gender has been brought in mainly because 30 per cent of this loan is to be targeted at MSMEs that are driven by women.

“So, that makes it unique. We are very proud to be partners,” he added.

On the criteria for determining the businesses of the 30 per cent of the loan designed for women, Balarabe said: “Obviously, they have to be run by women. Most importantly, it is aimed at businesses at that low level so that they can catalyse development in the country.”

He noted that the MSMEs sector remains the most active in terms of generating employment and fostering development.

According to him, these accounted for his bank’s consistent targeting of that segment.

“That’s why the AfDB has found us fitting to be one of the banks that will be benefiting for onward lending to MSMEs.

“Fidelity is one of the leading lenders to the segment, but for us, it’s not all about lending. Our engagement with MSMEs is more. We take time to find the needs of such businesses, and work with them on how to run the businesses,” he stated.

He disclosed that when it is absolutely necessary, Fidelity extends a line of credit to such businesses at cheap rates, which are far lower than market rates.

The $50 million AfDB facility is aimed at enhancing Fidelity Bank’s liquidity and helping to meet the demand for medium-term funding to players in the MSMEs segment.

The MSMEs, AfDB believes, account for 30 per cent of Fidelity Bank’s loan portfolio. The selection of the Nigerian bank for the seven-year credit facility, with a two-year moratorium, is based on its strong presence in the MSMEs.

It is also in recognition of the bank’s credit management and strong track record with AfDB.

It had previously received $18 million and $75 million lines of credit from the development finance institution in 2001 and 2013, respectively.

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BUSINESS

The Next Titan Season-6: Heritage Bank Continues To Boosts Entrepreneurship Among Youths

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has again thrown its usual support behind the organizer of The Next Titan, so as to have a better and improved season six of the programme.

This year’s edition of the reality TV show is again headlined by Heritage Bank and is targeted at giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to display their ingenuity and talents.

The programme, which also, focuses on ensuring that the entrepreneurial goals of the Nigerian youths are achieved, had its auditions in four of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Speaking during the audition at the Sheba Event Centre in Lagos, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that the Heritage Bank has continued to make seamless efforts to demonstrate its commitment towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasingly competitive workforce.

“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the entrepreneurial growth and welfare of the youths is to see young men and women play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” Sekibo said.

The MD, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu, said Heritage Bank is positioned to lead the recovery of the economy through enhancing youth entrepreneurship development and engendering self-employment via its various initiatives and products.

According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations. He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank has always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as the agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining, and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and ICT.
Sekibo stated that the bank supported this initiative because of its belief in Nigerian youth, who make up about 80 percent of the country’s population. He further explained that Heritage Bank was impressed with the nature in which talents were sought out, the rigorous selection process and the integrity with which the overall scheme was delivered.

Sekibo expressed satisfaction in the long term sustainability of the initiative, stating, we will not support something that will not stand the test of time.

The Executive Producer, The Next Titan, and Managing Director, Bravopoints International Limited, Mide Kunle-Akinlaja explained, “the idea behind the next titans is to create a Nigeria of our dreams, the roll calls of entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who will boost the nation’s economy and become employers of labour. It is not just an ordinary show but a show that transforms lives.”

According to him, The Next Titan over the past five years has been the only major entrepreneurial reality show in Nigeria, which provides an opportunity for young aspiring entrepreneurs with good business ideas that can transform the economy to compete among themselves on television in order to win a grand cash prize and a brand new car to start their dreams.

He noted that it was a platform designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the generality of young Nigerians who may not have the opportunity to participate directly through its regional auditions, but who can watch the TV show, and who can, as a result, take a decision to ply the route of entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

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Zenith Bank Records Improved Half Year 2019 Results, With Interim Dividends Of 30 Kobo Per Share

Gbemileke Ajayi

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In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa.

As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.

Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by the significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.

Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but the cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.

Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with a liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.

Zenith Bank Half Year 2019 Abridged Financials

Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018

 

(BusinessDay).

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UBA Partners LCCI For 2019 Lagos International Trade Fair, Promises Customers 20% Discount On Registration

Peter Okunoren

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Pan African financial services institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI) have partnered to organize the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair.

The Fair, which holds between November 1st and 10th, 2019, is the 33rd edition and is expected to provide an avenue for networking and other business opportunities that will assist to catapult business activities in Africa’s largest and busiest city, Lagos and in Nigeria.

UBA, which is the headline partner will be working together with LCCI, to provide a veritable platform that is intended to grow both domestic and international trade. It further presents participants and visitors with opportunities to seal medium and top business deals.

In line with UBA’s unflinching support to the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the bank is giving a 20% discount to its Small and Medium business customers who register to attend the fair.

UBA’s Group Head, Marketing, Mrs. Dupe Olusola, who expressed excitement at the partnership, noted that the bank, with its extensive spread across Africa and other major economies of the world, is always on the lookout for partnership opportunities that will benefit the business environment and the economies where it operates.

Olusola noted that the Bank is delighted as this year’s Lagos International Trade Fair is coming after a very successful organization of UBAmarketplace by the Bank in Abuja, where over 120 SMEs from 20 African countries exhibited their products, attracting over 50,000 footfalls.

She said, “UBA, the Pan African financial institution, has branches in 20 African countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France and has always been involved in activities that aim to strengthen business connections and networks across key economies.

“Thus, we have decided to partner with LCCI to promote this year’s fair which is in its 33rd edition because the Lagos International Trade Fair has become a genuine avenue for both domestic and international trade through business to business meetings, product launches, enlightenment opportunities for government agencies’ programmes, and international trade partnership deals across borders” she explained.

She added that the partnership will also offer the bank the opportunities to showcase its array of products to its teeming and new customers, adding that the bank will set up stands at various points to serve its customers and attend to various concerns.

The Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf who praised the collaboration between both institutions, noted that it is a partnership that is expected to yield great benefits, owing to the fact that the LITF hosts an average of 2,000 exhibitors annually, with over 200 foreign exhibitors from 16 countries.

He also added that arrangements have been put in place to make this year’s fair even bigger and better than the previous editions, adding that already, existing and potential exhibitors have been responding positively to register and participate at the Fair.

“We at LCCI believe that this is part of the bold initiatives of the bank with a corporate culture founded upon strong organizational values and performance-driven operating standards”, Yusuf said.

Yusuf stressed that the Chamber would maintain the brand promise of the Fair, with the theme ‘Connecting businesses, Creating value’, adding that this will be sustained this year in all its marketing campaigns.

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