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Economy

Ambitious SunTrust Bank Commences Operations

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SunTrust Bank

The management of SunTrust Bank Limited, one of the recently licensed commercial banks in the country officially opened its doors to customers Monday. The bank has a regional banking licence.

Speaking at the opening ceremony which attracted top government officials, politicians as well as traditional rulers in Lagos yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Muhammad Jibrin, said the bank was the first fresh banking licence to be issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2001.

Jibrin said SunTrust Bank started about six years ago as a mortgage bank, adding that the board and management were able to grow its balance to a reasonable size before they decided to pursue a commercial banking licence from the CBN which they got in September last year.

He said the bank would be a financial technology institution that would focus electronic channels by offering telephone, mobile and internet banking services.

“Banking is no longer where you go, it is what people do. Therefore, the only thing that can stand the future is no longer physical branches, but banking services that would be driven by technology. “So, most customers of tomorrow would no longer be the customers that they want to go to the banking hall. So, you need to be able to position the institution to respond positively to the needs and expectations of customers of tomorrow. That is at the heart of our own vision and strategy as tomorrow’s bank today,” Jibrin said.

In his presentation, the Chairman of the bank, Mr. Charles Onyema Ugboko, said establishing a bank amid the present economic situation showed that the board and management are committed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

In his goodwill message, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, urged the management of the bank to remain focused, even as he appealed to them to employ at least 30 per cent of Lagos indigenes.

Also, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, pointed out that going into business at this time when “everybody else is trying to get out of business, takes a lot of courage, and to go particularly into banking takes triple courage.

“But such occasion throws up opportunities to those who can see far and beyond. It is the courage of the founders of this bank that I want to applaud. If you are just coming in to be another bank, then it is not worth coming in.

“So, you have to come in as a bank with a difference. You must change the game. Service and quality should be your focus. I personally believe that the cost level of banks is very high, so if you can bring your own down, you will win,” the traditional ruler said.

On his part, the Lagos branch controller of CBN, Mr. J. Iyari, who represented the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, urged the board and management of the bank to keep to the rules and be good corporate citizen.

“The bank should try to create market niche, be special and be the bank of choice. I assure you that the CBN will continue to provide a level playing field for all operators in the financial services industry to support the growth and development of our country,” he said.

Also, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who was at the ceremony, commended the bank for taking such as abold step.

“As we speak here today, it might be easy for us to be overwhelmed by many challenges we face as business people. The lack of growth in the major economies of the world, the declining commodity prices in general, the weakness in our economy and the difficulty faced by the banking sector all over the world.”

“But throughout my business life, I have learnt that problems and difficulties are also great opportunities. People can make quite a lot out of difficulties and I think our difficulties in Nigeria today should be turned to opportunities. In this period, you need the courage to attack when others are retreating.

“As you know, in Lagos, we have many projects that we are doing and we are not retreating. We have continued to invest in this downturn, with expectation that our investment would actually pay a handsome reward as the cycle turns. I congratulate you for taking this step when banks all over the world are facing multiple headwinds. I am excited that their courage would be rewarded in the near future,” Dangote added.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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Economy

Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom

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Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.

The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.

Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.

Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.

“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.

“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.

“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.

“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.

“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?

“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.

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