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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Services Provider has partnered Next Generation to educate and empower not fewer than 300 primary and secondary school pupils, in a bid to make them emotionally intelligent to take financial decisions in the future.

Ajiri Efeturi, Team Lead, Customer Insight and Business Support of the bank disclosed this at a seminar organised by Next Generation, a-non-governmental organisation to raise emotionally intelligent generation at the Centre for International and Advanced Professional Studies (CIAPS) in Lagos recently.

The theme of the seminar was braced yourself for the future and it was aimed at transforming the next generation of youths in the country. Heritage Bank was the headline sponsor of the programme.

Efeturi said, “We are passionate and committed to playing our role in the Nigerian society about how to make young people to be financially literate,” remarking that the Nigerian youths are quite knowledgeable about movies and the social media unlike financial matters.

She said in a bid to address the gap in financial literacy, the bank has launched a comic magazine that would teach students financial literacy at a very early age, adding that the basis of the financial literacy is needs and wants.

Efeturi enjoined the students to spend their money wisely and keep some for the future, remarking that there is need for goal mapping, budgeting and development of financial behaviour.

She encouraged them to belong to school financial clubs, open savings account with the bank so that the bank would allocate relationship manager to them who would help to develop them financially, especially in profit and loss account and also enjoy the benefits of bank tours and to work in the bank in day as a banker.

Besides the financial literacy programme, the students who were in the age brackets of nine to 17 years from Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ifako International Schools, Iju Road, Ifako-Ijaiye, Divine Offspring School among others were also exposed to talks on the beauty of virginity; trauma, abuse and addiction among teens as well as drug abuse.

Folashade Ajayi, a relationship and sexuality coach enjoined them to make personal decision to abstain from sex before marriage, avoid being alone with someone to whom they are not sexually and physically attached and avoid pornography and exotic films, literature (novels, magazines) and music among others.

The coach who is an executive director of Behind Door Initiative, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) also admonished them to be friends to people with good personalities, discipline and of good moral and religious values; dress modestly; avoid having sexual talks with people of opposite sex and avoid being with male friends that are more than one to avoid being rape.

The executive director also enjoined them not to be intimidated by threats and not succumb to blackmail and when everything else fails, they should open their mouths to shout.

Also speaking Timi Oyebode said for a victim to recover from trauma, abuse and addiction, such a person need to track the first experience, grieve her loss, state her gain, track triggers, create new coping mechanisms, response, friends, activities, life purpose and mantra.

Such a victim should also go for rehabilitation when necessary, plan to fall and to rise again; acknowledge that she is wounded and expose the wound to the open air, forgive herself; the abuser, God and discover the purpose of the pain because every pain has a purpose.

Earlier in her address of welcome, Mrs. Olufunke Fajusigbe, an advertising practitioner who also doubles as the founder and the convener of the forum said the purpose was for the participants to discover greatness from within themselves.

Also speaking, Professor Anthony Kila, CEO, Centre for International and Advanced Professional Studies (CIAPS) advised the students to see themselves as assets and their bodies as treasures, adding that successful people use their bodies and brains to achieve success.

BUSINESS

Heritage Bank Empowers 2000 Female Entrepreneurs Via Financial Inclusivity Initiatives

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Taking into consideration the importance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to the economy, Heritage Bank Plc has continued to structure financial inclusivity initiatives in empowering over 2000 female entrepreneurs towards economic enablement and self-realization.

This move is in line with the people-oriented policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Heritage Bank Plc is partnering with a Non-Governmental Organization, Prime Women Builders Foundation of Nigeria (PWOBFON) in providing skills training to the female entrepreneurs.

At the graduation ceremony/ certificate award ceremony held at Ikeja Local Government headquarters over the weekend, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo said the bank is keen on cultivating real partnerships with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Sekibo, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability Ozena Utulu explained that the lender is interested in initiatives that encourage people to start their own businesses and gradually grow them into conglomerates.

According to him, the partnership with PWOBFON is vital in many ways particularly in the area of job creation, economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

His words: “apart from skills training, the women have been told the importance of record-keeping in business, savings culture and the benefits of having bank accounts as a gateway to accessing other financial services.”

He said Heritage Bank has been a leading Nigerian bank with an excellent service culture hinged on working with each customer to create a name, wealth and heritage.

Also speaking, President/Convener Prime women Builders Foundation of Nigeria, Kemi Olofinkua applauded the bank for its support, and urged other corporate organizations to take a cue from the lender in supporting grassroots women empowerment.

She explained that through the support from the Heritage Bank and the Ikeja Local government, the women, based on their choices, have been equipped with 15 vocational skills covering event decoration, small chops making, baking, pastries, bead making, computer training , soap making, makeup, tailoring, digital marketing, Photography, hairdressing among others.

To underscore the importance of women empowerment, the CBN had earlier set aside 60 per cent of its N220 billion MSMED Fund for providing financial services to women.

According to Olofinkua, this training is important because when women are positively occupied, the level of poverty will reduce and great achievements will be recorded not only on the home front, but on several sectors of “our national life.”

“Heritage Bank has been very supportive and our desire is to see participants of PWOBFON Empowerment Day, doing great in their various vocations. Each and every one of us must deliberately find something to occupy us and bring good profit. There are lots of vocations that each and every one of us can excel in; so that we will not be frustrated along the part of life,” Olofinkua stated.

The executive chairman, Ikeja Local Government Development Council, Dr. Mojeed Alabi Balogun, represented by his vice, Yomi Mayungba said the local government is interested in the initiative because it is in line with its grassroots skills training program . According to him, this is a way of keeping not only women, but men also out of the streets.

He disclosed that the first batch of trainees started from Ikeja and this is the 10th year anniversary. “The local government is delighted to partner with the NGO, Heritage Bank and other interested parties,” Balogun said.

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BUSINESS

iCreate: Sterling Bank Tackles Unemployment Through Africa’s Biggest Skills Olympics

Gbemileke Ajayi

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iCreate Africa, the organiser of the iCreate Africa Skills Festival, has said Nigeria’s best artisans will converge on Lagos from December 4 -5 to compete for laurels at the grand finale of the festival following the conclusion of the regional finals in Kaduna and Enugu.

The festival which is the biggest of its kind in Africa is in its second edition.

Sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc, from inception, the festival also enjoys support from Bosch Nigeria Limited, GIZ, Trace TV, Siemens, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), and Universal Learn Direct Academia Limited (ULDA), among others.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, Chief Client Engagement Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Moronfolu Fasinro, said the bank is partnering with iCreate Africa to boost acquisition of technical skills because it is committed to solving the unemployment challenge among young people on the African continent.

He said the way to resolve the unemployment challenge going forward is through skills acquisition by young men and women rather than focusing on white-collar jobs, adding that “We know that youth employment is a key part of creating a society that is harmonious and productive.”

Fasinro noted that vocational jobs are what move an economy in its day-to-day operations and iCreate was bringing various people together to work on how to change the narrative about the labour market.

“We are very happy to partner with iCreate to produce this sort of opportunity so that these people could change the face of employment on the continent in the future,” Fasinro said.

Also speaking, Chief Marketing Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Dapo Martins, said Nigeria needs to also focus on the export of skills instead of concentrating on the export of crude oil and agricultural products alone. He noted that most Nigerian graduates who travel abroad either find themselves washing plates in restaurants or doing other menial jobs.

He lamented the situation whereby skilled technicians are usually shipped in from outside the country because they are not available locally.

Also speaking, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCreate Africa Skills Festival, Mr. Bright Jaja, explained that it was clear to him at the beginning of the journey that the idea of the festival was different and unique, and would probably not make sense to a lot of people.

“But we were consistent because we understood the concept and background. Having done thorough research on the employment situation in Nigeria, we realised that the only solution to the challenge was to rebrand jobs away from the existing perception and notion that if one is not a medical doctor, lawyer or an engineer, he has failed,” he said.

Jaja noted that over time a lot of young people had to go through tertiary education under stress and depression even though they knew that the courses they were studying were not what they wanted or had the interest to pursue.

The Founder/CEO said the objective of iCreate was to create five million jobs in five years by empowering about one million people who would, in turn, employ at least five people in their businesses.

He said the strategy is to rebrand the way society perceives vocational skills and get young people to be interested or attracted to what they have passion for in the overall interest of the economy.

Retail Marketing Manager of Bosch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Samson Ajayi, said the iCreate Skills Festival was pivotal to the company because it addressed a lot of structural issues in the Nigerian economy, adding that as an engineering company that makes mechanical parts, the festival provided a unique avenue for the company to contribute its quota to the Nigerian economy.

Also commenting, President of Universal Learn Direct Academia Limited (ULDA), Engineer Olawumi Gasper, said the company was very happy to work with iCreate and congratulated Mr. Jaja for inspiring young Nigerians to develop a passion for skills acquisition.

The press conference was attended by other stakeholders including Trace TV, Fashion Academy, House of Tara, and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

The iCreate Skills Festival is a platform that promotes skills excellence, showcases skills standards and careers, demonstrates benchmarks of excellence in teaching and learning and creates interest in public sector agencies and private organizations to invest in skills development.

The 10 winners from the first edition represented Nigeria in Russia in 2019. They include Otareh Alvin who won in the cooking category, Nejo Tolulope (graphics), Silas Adedoyin (web design), Patrick Obafemi (app development), Barnabas Kudi (robotics), Afolabi Caleb Kayode (art), Ms. Malissa Onojo (tailoring), Yusuf Abdullahi (barbing), Kingsley Ihejirika (hairdressing), Ms. Faiza Usman Adamu (make-up), Joshua Olalekan (carpentry), Oladoja Peter (tiling), Kumshuan Talgang (plumbing) and Prince Isitua (bricklaying).

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Heritage Bank Identifies High Prospects In Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, disclosed that Nigeria’s Gold market is worth £4 billion Pounds with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.

The MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo, who stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favorably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to added value to the smallholder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at the international market price.

He further stated that a metric tonne of gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured a $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”

He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector but maybe studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us, we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, in the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high-level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Waziri also said there is a need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

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