- NIBSS, CBN, Others Target 80% Financial Inclusion By 2020
The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), banks and telecommunication firms in the country have entered into a partnership on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) payment solution to further deepen financial inclusion.
The new initiative tagged ‘microCash (mCash) was unveiled in Lagos, yesterday by the lead promoter -NIBSS, with the CBN projecting that it would to facilitate 80 per cent financial inclusion in the country by 2020.
‘Mcash’ is a solution designed to facilitate low-value retail payments and growing e-payments by providing accessible electronic channel which is USSD. This would enable merchants and customers conduct transactions instantly as fast as a cash transaction.
This product is presently being operated by Wema, Zenith, Fidelity, Diamond, Unity banks, with other banks expected to sign up before the end of the year.
Also signed up are Airtel, Mtn, Etisalat and Glo. Under this platform, transactions below N10,000 would be conducted at no cost.
Speaking at the launch of Mcash, the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi said: “With Mcash, the whole intention is to broaden the opportunity for people who today use cash to find a convenient means of making payments. The central bank has been pushing the cashless initiative for a long time and we have seen significant gains but a lot of the people who have benefited so far have the 27 million banking customers.”
“As we begin to deepen and reach out to a lot more people, we biennial to make real the dream for financial inclusion as we begin to realised that a lot of government social programs would touch a different set of people so we have to start creating opportunities for them to have commerce that is not just lied around cash.”
He further added: “To achieve that, the banking industry and telecoms have come together to partner and find a way to deliver a service at a reasonable value point which is in terms of efficiency and price and addressing concerns of being able to attain that their transactions are made.”
“The people we are trying to bring into this space use cash and the advantage of cash is that you can exchange it immediately. The ability to get your money almost immediately is the key. Secondly, if you are trying to move the. To something other than cash, it also has to be continent.”
On his part, the Director, Banking and Payment, CBN Mr. Dipo Fatokun, described the solution as another effort by the apex bank in increasing financial inclusion to meet its Payment Systems Vision 2020.
Fatokun who was represented by a Principal Manager at the CBN, Mr. Joe Ogbogu said: “We endorse this because it would take our payment system to the next level. Nigeria is at the top pendulum of payment system in the whole world. And because of this, various countries come to understudy our payment system and this is one product I hope they would understudy in the near future.
“Another reason for this endorsement is that it is going to drive our financial inclusion. We have have challenges of acceptance of POS transactions because they don’t get instant value for their services some cases the next. With this product, merchants get instant value which is a big plus.”
He further added: ” I am sure this product would drive financial inclusion to level the it is desired. We have projected that by 2020, Nigeria should be able to get inclusion level of 80 percent and I’m sure this is one of the initiatives that would drive that.”
Speaking on behalf of the banks, the Chairman Committee of E-banking Heads, Mr. Dele Adeyinka said: “As an association, we have a timeline that says we want to drive excellence through collaboration and for banks who are always looking for opportunities to serve our customers better.”
Also Head mobile financial services Etisalat, Mr. Seun Omotosho said: “We at Etisalat are excited about this solution and all all of us have heard on what is happening in east Africa with Mpesa and co and we believe this is going to rival this. We are going the direction of payment because we believe payment is what will drive inclusion. This solution is simple and addresses what customers need.”
Stanbic IBTC Reiterates Strategic Youth Agenda
Determined to further strengthen the strategic position young Nigerians occupy in the country, Stanbic IBTC, a member of Standard Bank Group, has continued to promote various programmes to get Nigerian youths engaged and empowered for better productivity and participation in the development of the nation.
The Group aimed one of its initiatives, the ‘Youth Leadership Series’ (YLS), at deepening financial and entrepreneurial knowledge among Nigeria’s younger generations. The initiative, which was launched in 2018, is held in institutions of higher learning across the nation and brings together mentors from across various sectors of the economy to encourage and inspire the next generation.
Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, spoke of the initiative. He stated that through one of the organisation’s CSI pillars, ‘economic empowerment’, the YLS was birthed as an avenue to get young Nigerians engaged and empowered to become future business leaders.
He said that Nigerian youths required support, guidance, and empowerment to propel them to the pinnacle of their various fields, and added that innovative projects and tech disruptions championed by youths in virtually every sector have proved their ingenuity, skill, brilliance, and resourcefulness.
Sogunle further stated that since youths easily get distracted by different challenges, the organisation wanted to ensure that they were aptly and constantly guided, mentored, inspired, and motivated, not just to attain their goals but to actualise their full potentials.
This year’s event which held virtually attracted youths from across Nigeria and various parts of the world including the UK, USA and UAE. It featured an array of speakers – Debo Adebayo, better known as Mr. Macaroni and Ms. Ifedayo Agoro, the founder of Diary of a Naija Girl (DANG), an online lifestyle website, who spoke on ‘Winning with Social Media’; the duo of Olumide Soyombo, co-Founder, Bluechip Technologies and Tracy Batta, co-Founder, Smoothie Express who spoke on ‘Winning with Entrepreneurship’; while Akin Bamidele Akintola, Head of Equity Sales, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers and Yanmo Omorogbe, co-founder of Bamboo Invest, an investment platform that allows Nigerians to invest in United States stocks, both spoke on ‘Winning with Investments’.
All speakers shared their entrepreneurial experiences, challenges, and success stories in these areas.
Speakers at previous editions of the YLS included Kechi Okwuchi, a survivor of the ill-fated Sosoliso plane crash of December 2005, who later went on to bag a First Class Degree from the University of Thomas Houston, Texas and emerged a finalist at America’s Got Talent; Member Feese, survivor of the United Nations Building bomb blast in Abuja and Cobhams Asuquo, renowned music producer, who was born blind.
Also, Stanbic IBTC Bank, in collaboration with Creative Youth Community Development Initiative (CYCDI), and Covenant University, Ota and in alignment with the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, engaged Nigerian youths on better understanding of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their role in its attainment.
The organisation also said that some needs of youths have been catered to with the Stanbic IBTC BluEdge Youth Account, targeted to help students and youths cultivate a savings culture very early in life.
United Capital Launches 150 Billion Naira Infrastructure Fund
United Capital Plc today announced the launch of its 150 Billion Naira Infrastructure Fund.
The United Capital Infrastructure Fund (UCIF) is a Naira-denominated fund that aims to provide long-term financing for the delivery of critical infrastructure in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The statement further said that the fund has been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a close-ended fund.
The infrastructure deficit in Nigeria is growing at an alarming rate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) estimating that the Federal Government would need about US$100 billion annually to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit.
This infrastructural deficit is a major constraint to the economic development of Nigeria and the United Capital fund is set to address this deficit by financing infrastructure assets that cut across sectors such as power and renewable energy, transportation, agribusiness and industrial infrastructure, healthcare, technology, mass housing, urban and social infrastructure.
Stanbic IBTC also launched a N100 Billion infrastructure fund earlier in the year in an attempt to close the infrastructural gap in the country.
According to United Capital, the Infrastructure Fund would be managed by United Capital Asset Management Limited (“UCAML”), its only sponsor. The Fund has retained Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) as the independent Financial Advisor, to provide additional layers of best practice of corporate governance which enhances the project appraisal and due diligence activities of the Fund Management team.
Speaking at the launching, Mr. Peter Ashade, the Group Chief Executive Officer of United Capital Plc stated that “the journey to launch the Fund has taken almost two years, during which period extensive preparatory studies and appraisals were carried out to establish the business case for the Fund, as well as to define a model and governance framework that would provide investors that have an appetite for long-term financing products (such as pension funds and insurance companies), with sufficient confidence of the attractiveness of UCIF, as an investment opportunity.”
United Capital Plc is a financial services group with activities that include Investment Banking, Asset Management, Trustees, Securities Trading, Wealth Management and Consumer Finance. The Group is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, with operations and presence in West Africa.
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Sustains Profitability in Q3, 2021, Grows Profit by 34.59 Percent
United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the leading financial services providers in Nigeria, sustained profitability in the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2021, according to the bank’s latest unaudited financial report released on Monday.
The lender’s interest income grew by 8.54 percent from N111.556 billion achieved in the third quarter of 2020 to N121.078 billion in the third quarter of 2021.
Interest expense moderated to N39.881 billion in the quarter under review despite the increase recorded in interest income. This represents an improvement of 12.47 percent when compared to the N44.858 billion filed in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
United Bank for Africa’s net interest income stood at N81.197 billion in Q3 2021, up by 21.73 percent from N66.698 billion recorded in Q3 2020.
The bank grew net fee and commission income by 25.40 percent from N17.663 billion in Q3 2020 to N22.150 billion in Q3 2021.
Similarly, the lender grew total non-interest income by 25.22 percent to N38.041 billion in the period under review, up from N30.377 billion achieved in the corresponding quarter.
Net operating income after impairment loss on loans and receivables jumped 22.8 percent to N119.970 billion, while the total operating expenses inched higher to N73.182 billion, an increase of 20.89 percent when compared to N60.533 billion filed in Q3 2020.
Profit before tax rose by 41.87 percent from N33.244 billion in Q3 2020 to N47.166 billion in Q3 2021. United Bank for Africa paid N3.152 billion in income tax in the third quarter of 2021.
Therefore, the bank’s profit after tax grew by an impressive 34.59 percent to N44.014 billion from N32.702 billion in Q3 2020. Earnings per share expanded from N0.70 in Q3 2020 to N1.25 in Q3 2021.
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