- Bank Customers Drop by Two Million
Despite Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) effort to promote financial inclusion, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) banking industry statistics shows that the number of customers using financial services reduced in 2017.
The statistics obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the NIBSS website yesterday, showed that the total number of bank customers dropped from 61 million in 2016 to 59 million in 2017.
Similarly, active bank accounts reduced from 65 million in 2016 to 63.5 million accounts in 2017.
According to NIBSS, the banking sector, however, made great strides in linking customers’ account using the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The report showed that linked BVN accounts grew from 26 million in 2016, to 41.3 million in 2017.
According to a banking industry source, the reduction in banking customers is not unconnected to the federal government’s anti-graft battle.
“When Buhari assumed office, many people abandoned their accounts, especially civil servants because of fear of investigation.
“While some closed down their accounts outright, others opted for gradual withdrawal so as not to raise the alarm,’’ the source said.
The source, who works at one of the top banks, blamed the BVN for the low patronage of banking products, especially in the rural areas, where awareness was very low.
A bank customer, Olaitan Alagbe told NAN that she closed some of her accounts due to unnecessary and illegal charges by banks.
“First of all, the interest rate is next to nothing, so there is little reason to keep your money at the bank when you can turn it over doing other businesses,” she said.
Another customer, who preferred to remain anonymous said he opened several accounts during the Ponzi scheme boom in the country, but was forced to abandon them after the schemes crashed in late 2016 and early 2017.
However, a source at the CBN told NAN that the reduction in the number of banking customers was caused mainly by the introduction of BVN.
“The reduction may not necessarily be a bad thing. For example, many people opened accounts using different variations of their names.
“A person bearing Musa Salisu Mohammed, may have other accounts as Salisu Mohammed or Musa Salisu.
“So with the introduction of BVN, such customers were forced to regularise their names, however, some opted to close down their accounts, which resulted in the reduction of active bank accounts and customers,’’ the source said.
The CBN source was, however, optimistic that the financial inclusion strategy of the bank would succeed in bringing in more people into the formal banking system.
The Financial Inclusion strategy aims to ensure that major bulk of the money in the economy remains within the banking sector.
A major challenge in the financial inclusion process is how to ensure that the poor rural dwellers are carried along considering the lack of financial sophistication among this segment.
The CBN, Money Deposit Banks, Micro Finance Banks and other stakeholders are currently implementing different policies designed to enhance financial inclusion in the country.
Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year
Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.
The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.
In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.
Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.
However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.
Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.
He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.
Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.
The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.
South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus
South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”
Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.
However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.
Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.
He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.
Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.
In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.
Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.
He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.
Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.
In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.
Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.
Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.
In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.
The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.
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