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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Services Provider, has taken its campaign for concerted efforts for the growth of agribusiness and commerce in Nigeria to another level as it wants the bilateral agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States to provide for a Commodity Exchange.
The two states signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on yesterday at the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit held at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe, Lagos. The goal of the pact was to ensure the collaboration between the two states boost commerce and agribusiness and consequently increase the revenue generation by the states.
Speaking at the event during the plenary session on: Growth & Investment Opportunities in Agribusiness – Value Chain Approach, Olugbenga Awe, Group Head, Agric Financing, Heritage Bank, said there was an urgent need for the establishment of a Commodity Exchange; stating that it would provide the platform necessary for the success of the MoU signed by the states.
Awe said if the Exchange was established, it would make future contracts between traders and speculators in both states and others more possible and thereby enhance agribusiness in the country generally. Specifically, he stated that the establishment of a Commodity Exchange would help to put the activities of grain farmers and others in Dawanau market, Kano; and others in spotlight.
According to him, the volume of agribusiness and commerce going on daily in Dawanau market, which is the hub of grains and seeds trading across the world, needs to be complemented by appropriate policies.
Based on this, Awe advised the two states to ensure that the MoU they signed captures the establishment of a Commodity Exchange. Doing that, he stated, would make traceability possible for every produce traded on the floor of the exchange unlike now when grains sourced in Kano or Lagos could be sold and consumed in other part of the country without knowing its source.
Today, goods sourced at Dawanau are, daily, transported to Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Ghana Central African Republic, South Africa, Libya and other African countries. Again, traders from Burma, Dubai, India, China, Britain, America, Saudi and other countries patronize the grains/seeds market for items like Moringa seed and leaf, Sesame seed, Hibiscus flower (Sobo) and other items such as Soya beans, Beans, Cassava, Millet, and Guinea corn without any credit given to their farmers and Nigeria.
Awe therefore said the Commodity Exchange would help to address issues like that, adding that it would also encourage farmers to put in more efforts in planting more grains. 
Similarly, Dr. Sani Hussaini Sagagi, Deputy Country Director, Sasakwa Africa Association, Nigeria; said any country that wants to progress must take cognizance of its population structure when formulating policies.
According to him, the Africa’s population would increase to 1.4 billion in the next 12 years, while it would be 2.5 billion in 2030. Sagagi warned that over 50% of that would be majorly young men and women who would choose to live in urban areas with the motive of getting white collar jobs. He disclosed that there would be food shortage and climate change, which would cause 50% yield reduction in agribusiness.
Sagagi therefore said the two state governments must, as from today, begin to put the mechanism in place to address the social menace that would arise because of the surge in populace. He expressed optimism that the agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States would help a lot in finding solace to the possible challenges that would arise in the future.
Also present at the occasion was Richard Sandall, Senior Private Sector Development Adviser, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Sandall identified financing, security and land as some of the challenges militating against smooth agribusiness in Africa. However, he said the DFID was established with the aim of supporting Africa to address issues like that.
Sandall stated: “Apart from working on alleviating the constraints, DFID also focuses on assisting in formulating appropriate policies that would nip those challenges in the bud”.

BUSINESS

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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BUSINESS

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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BUSINESS

Win N200,000 Cash Prize In The Zenith Bank #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Win big in the Zenith Bank #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge ⠀
How to win?
(1) ‎Post your one minute video on Instagram before 12 noon on Sunday the 18th of August 2019.⠀
(2) Use the hashtag #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge and tag + follow @zenithbankplc on Instagram.⠀
Click Here to view and download the Zero Balance song.⠀
Note!  ‎
  • Winners will be announced on Tuesday the 20th of August 2019.
  • The participant must have zenith zero account
  • To Open zero account, kindly dial #966*0# and follow the prompts

Prizes🎁

1st prize: N200,000 
2nd prize: N100,000 
3rd prize: N50,000 ‎
The promos run from Sunday the 18th of August 2019.
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