- First Bank, World Remit Collaborate on Digital Money Transfers
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has struck a partnership with WorldRemit to provide digital money transfer service to its customers.
The Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, described the initiative as a collaboration of industry leaders.
“The WorldRemit/FirstBank partnership signifies another landmark in FirstBank’s virtual payment and money transfer services in the Nigerian and global financial space,” he said on Tuesday at the launch in Lagos.
He said the bank had, over the years, taken the lead in providing relevant e-payment options for its customers.
Shobo said, “We pioneered with Western Union Money Transfer in 1996, then Transfast Money Transfer, MoneyGram, Ria, PayPal, Pay Attitude and now, WorldRemit.
“FirstBank has extended its frontiers to WorldRemit in order to leverage the wide e-platform capabilities it offers to further ease the money transfer process for our numerous customers across the globe who seek new and easier payment transaction options regularly.”
According to him, WorldRemit’s mobile-first, digital model complements FirstBank’s digital strategy to drive convenient banking transactions from the comfort of homes and offices using the FirstMobile and FirstOnline banking platforms.
Shobo said, “People from some of the 50 countries across the world where WorldRemit operates can now send money directly from their mobile phones into FirstBank accounts in Nigeria without visiting brick-and-mortar agent locations, and this is the first of its kind in money transfer business in our country.”
“It is worthy of note that this service is available to senders in 50 countries and over 145 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. At FirstBank, we are excited at this partnership. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate ‘gold standard’ of value and excellence, and this collaboration with WorldRemit is one of the many ways we provide value to our customers as we continue to devise innovative ways to provide convenience and ease of banking for them.”
The Regional Head, Middle East and Africa at WorldRemit, Andrew Stewart, said the new partnership would considerably expand the company’s footprint in the country, allowing its customers in over 50 countries to send money to First Bank accounts directly from their phones.
He said the deal would support WorldRemit’s plan to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020.
Stewart said, “We are delighted to be partnering First Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading banks, to give its 14 million customers access to our best-in-class money transfer experience. Nigeria remains our largest and fastest growing market in Africa, and WorldRemit’s second biggest market globally.
“This is a key partnership in the country that will further support Nigeria’s transition from offline remittances to online, safer, faster and lower-cost money transfer methods.”
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
Falcon Corporation Secures N19.41bn Debt Facility for State-of-the-Art LPG Facility in Port Harcourt
Falcon Corporation Limited, a prominent player in Nigeria’s energy sector, has successfully secured a N19.41 billion debt facility from the Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria-managed Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF).
The financing will be used for the development of a cutting-edge 15,000 metric ton Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage facility and a dedicated jetty in Rumuolumeni, Saipem/Aker Base Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Managing Director of Falcon Corporation, Prof. Joe Ezigbo, emphasized the company’s commitment to national service through investments in the gas industry.
He highlighted the strategic positioning of the LPG facility in proximity to major gas sources and navigable water routes, anticipating economic gains, job creation, income growth, health improvements, and environmental sustainability.
“We positioned our LPG facility strategically in proximity to major Gas sources and navigable water routes. The Project is set to facilitate and enhance more direct procurement and distribution of LPG, which will dramatically lower conventional delivery and storage costs,” said Prof. Joe Ezigbo.
The project has achieved significant milestones, reaching a completion rate of 65% as of October 2023. Various phases of development, including the completion of the jetty, shoreline protection, and engineering activities, have contributed to this progress.
The entire project is expected to be completed and commissioned by Q4 2024.
Falcon’s General Manager, Finance, Nelson Walter, expressed satisfaction with the partnership with NIDF, highlighting their reputation for providing reasonable terms for impactful infrastructure projects.
The flexible long-term loan repayment structure aligns with Falcon’s goals, making the collaboration instrumental in realizing this groundbreaking project.
Financial advisers Vetiva Capital Management Limited and Chapel Hill Denham Advisory, along with legal counsel Detail Commercial Solicitors, played crucial roles in facilitating this strategic debt facility for Falcon Corporation’s ambitious LPG infrastructure development in Rivers State.
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