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BIG STORY

UBA Records Significant Growth In Revenue, Profit And Key Metrics, With A PBT Of N404bn

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  • Further Demonstrates Pan-African and Global Growth
  • Declares Interim Dividend of 50k per share.
  • Gross Earnings Rises to N981.78 billion.
  • Bank’s Total Assets Hits N15.38 trillion.
  • Shareholders’ Funds at N1.712 trillion.

 

Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, delivered an outstanding performance for the half year ended June 30, 2023, as announced in its audited financial report.

The results released to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Tuesday showed that the Group recorded double and triple-digit growth across its major income lines, as it continued to show substantial progress in increasing the contribution and market share from its subsidiaries in Africa and globally.

Specifically, at the end of the first two quarters of the year, and despite the tough global macroeconomic backdrop and geo-political challenges in

Africa, UBA Group reported a profit before tax of N404 billion, representing an extraordinary increase of 371 per cent, when compared to N85.75 billion recorded in the first half of 2022. This translated to an annualised Return on Average Equity of 57.7 per cent as against 17.1 per cent a year earlier.

In addition:

• The results also showed as of June 30, 2023, a profit after tax (PAT) of N378.24 billion, representing a leap of 437.8 percent over H1 2022.

• Operating Income grew by 206.6 per cent to N783.96 billion in June 2023; higher than N255.67 billion reported a year earlier.

• The Group delivered a 164 per cent growth in its Gross Earnings which rose to N981.78 billion as at June 2023, up from N372.36 billion recorded last year in June 2022.

• Total Assets continued a strong upward trajectory, rising above the N15trn mark, as it hits N15.38 trillion, representing a 41.7 per cent leap up from N10.86 trillion recorded at the end of last year.

• Customer Deposits also rose by a sharp 42.4 per cent to N11.14 trillion in the period under consideration; as against N7.8 trillion recorded at the end of 2022.

• Shareholders’ Funds increased to N1.712 trillion reflecting the Group’s strong capacity for internal capital generation.

In line with the Group’s culture of paying both interim and final cash dividends, the Board has approved an interim dividend of 50k per share, which represents over 150% increase over the prior year.

UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oliver Alawuba commenting on the results said the exceptional performance underscored the Group’s commitment to consistently deliver value to its shareholders; he added that the Group made progress in digital payments, retail penetration and also benefitted from the effect of revaluation gains, arising from the harmonization of foreign exchange rates at the different access windows in Nigeria.

He said, “The Group recorded strong double-digit growth in revenues and profits from its operations, the result also reflects the effect of sizeable revaluation gains, arising from the harmonization of currency exchange rates in Nigeria. Our reporting currency found a new exchange level at about N756 to 1US$ as of 30 June 2023, compared to N465 at the beginning of the year. The results again demonstrate the benefits of our long-held diversification strategy across Africa and globally. The growth of our international business, most recently in the UAE, only reinforces this earnings quality.

Continuing he added, “Our business is on a steady growth trajectory, as we further strengthen our risk management traditions and practices necessary technology investments to deliver premium service to our customers. We have also continued to finance landmark projects in critical sectors of the economies across Africa, facilitating intra-Africa trade with our valuable offerings and provide a versatile last-mile distribution network for Africa-bound donor and multilateral agency funds.”

“The three core geographical pillars of our business (Nigeria, Rest of Africa and Rest of the World) are making strong contributions to the Group profit, further justifying our global strategy and business positioning across Africa, UAE, France, UK and USA, and demonstrating the benefits of positioning UBA as the financial intermediary for Africa and the rest of the world.” Alawuba said.

On the plans for the rest of the year, Alawuba said, “As we approach the last quarter of the year, the Group remains strategically positioned to sustain the strong performance, consolidating on H1 2023 results, to deliver superior returns to our esteemed shareholders.”

UBA’s Executive Director Finance & Risk, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said the half year 2023 financial numbers reflect an excellent performance across key metrics, as the bank diligently executes its strategic priorities.

“Our HY2023 financial numbers reflect excellent performance across key metrics, as we diligently execute our priorities for the year. Annualized return on average equity at 57.7% was bolstered by improved operating income and revaluation gains.” he explained.

Nwaghodoh also pointed out that the Group maintains robust capital buffers to support business growth and loss absorbency. The Group’s shareholders’ funds stood at N1.7trillion, with a capital adequacy ratio of 36.4%”.

UBA is a leading pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than thirty-seven million customers across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London, and Paris and now the UAE, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

BIG STORY

Report Excessive Price Increases, Unscrupulous Exploitation Of Consumers — FCCPC Urges Nigerians

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said that business that engage in price-fixing will face swift legal action.

It called attention to the burden that this practice places on the financial security and well-being of consumers and exhorted them to denounce such acts.

This was revealed by the FCCPC in a statement that was published on its official X (formerly known as Twitter) handle on Sunday.

The statement read, “The FCCPC acknowledges that the rising cost of essential goods impacts consumers’ well-being and economic stability.

“While we recognise that the commission cannot directly control prices, we are committed to safeguarding consumers’ interests and ensuring fair market practices, necessitating fair pricing.

“Arbitrary price increases stemming from untoward practices like price gouging and conspiracy to manipulate supply violate existing laws.

“The commission will not hesitate to invoke Section 17(s) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018 against any perpetrator of such acts. This section prohibits obnoxious trade practices and unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.”

The statement urged Nigerians to stay vigilant and report any unfair trade practices they encounter.

It added, “We encourage consumers to remain vigilant and report unfair trade practices to the FCCPC.

“Consumers can provide details, including the conduct, location of perpetrators, and other relevant information for investigation, through [email protected].

“The FCCPC remains committed to promoting fair competition, protecting consumers, and fostering a regulated marketplace. We appreciate citizens’ vigilance and encourage active participation in reporting any violations.”

Earlier report in February had it that FCCPC closed a popular supermarket in the Garki area of Abuja, Sahad Store, for lack of transparency in products pricing.

Similarly, it also encouraged electricity consumers to report distribution companies that failed to comply with the capping of estimated bills for unmetered customers.

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BIG STORY

NLC, TUC Demand N615,000 Minimum Wage For Workers In Fresh Proposal

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Organised labour, comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), has made a fresh demand of N615,000 as the new minimum wage for workers in the country.

According to The Punch, an impeccable source, who is an executive of organised labour, under anonymity, said that the new wage of N615,000 monthly was reached after consultations by the NLC and TUC.

The source, who was a member of one of the sub-committees set up by the government to work on getting a new minimum wage for the country, however, said the wage might still increase, following the recent hike in electricity tariff.

Furthermore, the source said, “We (NLC and TUC) have given our figures to the government (on the minimum wage), and it is N615,000. That is the position of the NLC and TUC on the matter. The government has been informed as well.”

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, had on January 30, set up a 37-member panel at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.

With its membership cutting across federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, the panel was tasked with recommending a new national minimum wage.

At the inaugural meeting of the panel, Shettima urged members to ‘speedily’ arrive at a resolution, and submit their reports early as the current N30,000 minimum wage expired at the end of March 2024.

Chairing the panel is a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Bukar Aji, who, at the inauguration ceremony, affirmed that its members would come up with a ‘fair, practical, implementable and sustainable’ minimum wage.

The inauguration followed months of agitation from organised labour over the FG’s failure to inaugurate the new national minimum wage committee as promised during negotiations last October.

From the government’s side, members include the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing the Minister of Labour and Employment; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, who was represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Lydia Jafiya; the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Yemi Esan; and Permanent Secretary, GSO/OSGF, Dr Nnamdi Mbaeri, among others.

Representing the Nigeria Governors Forum are Mohammed Bago of Niger State, representing the North Central; Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, representing the North East; Umar Radda of Katsina State, representing the North West; Charles Soludo of Anambra State, representing the South East; Senator Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, for the South West; and Otu Bassey of Cross River State, on behalf of the South-South.

From the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association is the Director-General of the association, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde; Chuma Nwankwo, Thompson Akpabio; as well as members from the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, including Michael Olawale-Cole, Ahmed Rabiu, and Humphrey Ngonadi.

From organised labour, the Nigeria Labour Congress is represented by its president, Joe Ajaero; as well as President of the TUC, Festus Osifo; and his deputy, Tommy Etim-Okon, among others.

Ajaero had announced N1m as the new minimum wage, owing to the rising inflation in the country which, according to him, had pushed many of his members into poverty.

This led to several controversies, with some experts stating that the wage was unrealisable or sustainable.

However, in an interview with one of our correspondents, another labour leader stated that the NLC and TUC had pegged the new wage at N615,000 tentatively.

Asked if the May 1 deadline was still on course, the labour leader said, “What I want you to know is that we are doing our best. Both the TUC and NLC have harmonised, and they have sent their position to the government.

“We are in the process. Be assured that once anything happens, I will, as usual, inform you. That is all I can tell you for now, because we have not met; even though we have submitted our unified positions to the Federal Government. We will be speaking with one voice.

“But, let me also hint you that with the removal of the electricity tariff subsidy, we are going to have another round of serious conversations with the government. Mind you, the tariff increase is also very good for us, because they (the government) did it when the new minimum wage process had not been concluded. So, it is going to be a good ground for us to ask for more.

“Our position will be defended based on the new price of N225 per kWh of electricity. Although we (the government and Labour) are not in agreement, we are waiting to meet and decide on the next point of action.”

The source added, “This is because if you look at the Electricity Act, it canvassed a position that before any increase at all, there must be stakeholders’ engagement. However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission unilaterally imposed the removal of the electricity tariff on the consumers, without recourse to stakeholders. That is in total defiance to the provisions of the Act.

“These are the issues that will be in the front burner of our next negotiation with the Federal Government.

“The new tariff will also give us another strategy to press the government on the need to move the minimum wage upward. This is because the government has not announced any new minimum wage yet, as we are still negotiating.

“As I said, the NLC and TUC have harmonised positions, which we have sent to the government. It is even now that the negotiation will start properly. All that we have done so far was to try to lay the foundation, and now that we have come up with our positions, the government will also come up with their own. We will then start a fresh negotiation.”

  • Economists Differ

Reacting, a professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Sheriffdeen Tella, said, “If internationally, they say there is poverty in Nigeria, what they mean is that Nigerians are earning less than two dollars per day. If you want to fix the minimum wage to end poverty, what you should do is fix the minimum wage above that.

“Whatever the labour unions have presented to the Federal Government is for negotiation and to serve as a benchmark. It is left for the Federal Government to negotiate.

“There is a law that has been established to make them comply. But, they (state governments) decide to flout the law. When it is agreed as minimum wage, that is what the private and public sectors should pay. If they don’t pay, they should be taken to court.”

A professor of Microeconomics at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Adeola Adenikinju, noted that while the Federal Government would bear a significant burden, it was imperative to recognise the involvement of state governments and the private sector in the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Adenikinju, who is also the President of the Nigerian Economic Society, harped on the importance of acknowledging the diverse economic landscapes across states, suggesting that a uniform minimum wage might not be feasible, due to varying levels of affordability.

He said, “The proposed minimum wage by the NLC should be looked at. It is not only the Federal Government that is going to pay this. The state government and private sector are also involved.

“It must be noted that the minimum wage varies by state, as some states are richer than others.”

In a similar vein, another economist, Paul Alaje, explained that there was a high possibility of President Bola Tinubu declaring between N100,000 and N200,000 as the minimum wages for both the private and public sectors if the exchange rate of naira improved to N1,000 per dollar by May.

He added that 30 out of the 36 states would struggle and might not align with the payment of the new minimum wage if it was pegged at N615,000.

According to him, getting special assistance from the Federal Government and intervention funds from international communities should be tied to states having zero clearance of previous salaries.

He also stated while the proposed minimum wage might not be so much of a challenge for the Federal Government and six states, the other 30 states will struggle to pay that amount.”

 

Credit: The Punch

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New National ID Card To Be Issued Through Banks — FG

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) states that applicants’ banks will provide them with the anticipated national ID card.

In order to provide the cards to applicants, NIMC stated that it is collaborating with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).

“The card will be issued through the applicants’ respective banks in line with existing protocols with the issuance of the Debit/Credit cards,” the agency said in a Friday update on its official X (formerly known as Twitter) handle.

It said applicants need to request their cards with their NIN “through the self-service online portal, NIMC offices, or their respective banks”.

“The card will be powered by the AFRIGO card scheme, an indigenous scheme powered by NIBSS,” NIMC said.

“The card can be picked up by holders at the designated center or delivered to the applicants at the requested location at an extra cost to be borne by the applicants,” the update read.

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