- Forex Restriction: CBN Rejects IMF’s Call for Reversal
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rejected calls by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reverse the foreign exchange policy that restricts importers of 43 items that can be manufactured locally from accessing forex at the official rate.
Governor Godwin Emefiele, CBN, who spoke at the end of the 2019 International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington Dc, disagreed with the fund and insisted that investors interested in doing business in Nigeria must do so by producing locally instead of just importing and selling to the Nigerian people.
He said: “Nigeria is a market of over 200 million people. So, you do not have a choice than to come, bring your investment plans and equipment and produce that item in Nigeria so that Nigerians can consume it.
“Then, you will make your profit and take your dividend out of the country.
“So, I disagree with that position that foreign exchange restriction is hurting investment inflow into Nigeria.”
On the new Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) fees, he said the disagreement is between telecom operators and deposit money banks.
He said: “I understand that about three to four weeks ago, rather than reduce it, they went ahead to increase from N1500 to N4500, which is a 300 percent increase. I opposed it and I have told the banks that we would not allow this to happen.
“The banks are the people who give these businesses to the telecoms companies and I leave the banks and the telecoms companies to engage.
“I have told the banks that they have to move their business and move their traffic to a telecoms company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible cost if not at zero cost and that is where we stand and we must achieve it.”
The Governor, however, said lenders had done well concerning the 60 percent Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy.
“Most of them have worked with us and we saw loans rising from about N15.3 trillion in the banking industry in July to, as at the last time we held the meeting, about N16.3 trillion, which is a remarkable and phenomenal increase.
“These loans are being channeled not only to agriculture, but to manufacturing, to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and consumer credit.”
Unity Bank Grows Profit by 34 Percent But Net Trading Income Dips 443% in H1 2021
Unity Bank Plc, a community-oriented commercial bank, extended its positive momentum in the first half (H1) of 2021 as gross income grew by 3 percent to N23.609 billion, up from N22.863 billion filed in the first half of 2020.
The bank disclosed in its unaudited financial statement released on Friday.
Net interest income rose to N9.868 billion in the period under review, representing an increase of 9 percent from N9.059 billion filed in the corresponding period of 2020. Unity Bank increased net fee and commission income by 21 to N3.073 billion, up from N2.545 billion achieved in H1 2020.
However, net trading income dipped by 443 percent from N30.342 million recorded in H1 2020 to -N104.108 million. Other operating income also decreased by 27 percent to N366.067 million when compared to N500.721 million filed in H1 2020.
The bank’s net operating income expanded by 18 percent to N13.923 billion in H1 2021 from N11.824 billion in H1 2020. Profit before tax increased to N1.502 billion in the period under review, an increase of 34 percent from N1.120 billion filed in H1 2020.
Profit after tax rose to N1.382 billion in H1 2021, an increase of 34 percent from N1.031 billion recorded in H1 2020.
Speaking on the performance, the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, said “the bank is beginning to reflect greater consistency, steady outlook and resilience that places it on a performance pedestal ahead of the volatilities in the operating environment occasioned partly by the prevailing global pandemic and other market shocks that have far-reaching implications in the local and foreign economies.
“The double digits growth recorded in both earnings and profits, she further added, was the result of a portfolio plan which the Bank set out in the beginning of the year to diversify its portfolio whilst incrementally pursuing asset creation in petrochemical downstream, consumer, healthcare and general commerce with agribusiness providing the bulwark for identified business and brand benefits.”
FCMB Empowers Agribusiness, Healthcare and Others With AFDB’s $50 Million Credit
Women empowered businesses and local enterprises involved in agribusiness, manufacturing, health care, and renewable energy will have access to long term funding from First City Monument Bank (FCMB), courtesy of a $50m credit facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The $50m credit line will narrow the lending gap to underserved segments and complement FCMB’s lending efforts and operations in the Nigerian market. AfDB will disburse the funds to FCMB before the end of this year.
Mrs Yemisi Edun, Managing Director, FCMB, thanked the African Development Bank for having confidence in the Bank, saying the credit line would help it increase lending to high impact sectors of the Nigerian economy.
She said, “The $50m credit line will increase access to finance for women empowered businesses and enterprises involved in agribusiness, manufacturing, renewable energy and healthcare, enabling them to build back better post-COVID.
“We are delighted that a minimum of 30 per cent of the funds will go specifically to women empowered businesses, which would, in turn, contribute to stimulating gender equality and empowerment. Remarkably, it aligns with FCMB’s transformative agenda of boosting household economic resilience by improving women’s access to credit and work opportunities.”
In addition to the $50m, the AfDB will provide a technical assistance grant of $200,000 to FCMB through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). The Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative, an international partnership supporting women entrepreneurs in developing countries, supports AFAWA. The assistance grant complements the loan and will further strengthen training, monitoring and reporting by the Bank.
In a statement, AfDB’s Director of Financial Sector Development, Mr Stefan Nalletamby, said, “We are pleased to support FCMB’s strategy to become a dominant player in addressing the funding needs of women-empowered and local enterprises. This project will extend valuable resources to critical but underserved segments during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with its adverse macroeconomic impact”.
AfDB added that the project also advances its ten-year strategy and is consistent with three of its high-five strategic priorities. These are industrialise Africa, Feed Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. This also aligns with the Nigeria Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024.
Recently, FCMB secured a $10 million facility from Oikocredit, a major global social impact investor and co-operative institution based in The Netherlands, to upscale its impressive financial support to SMEs and the agribusiness sectors in Nigeria.
FCMB is a member of FCMB Group Plc, Nigeria’s leading and most diversified financial holding company with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. The Bank has built a strong base in various sectors of the nation’s economy by consistently offering cutting-edge solutions to its customers across segments.
Having successfully transformed into a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.
To find out more about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com.
Fidelity Bank Doles Out N39 Million to 15 Lucky Customers
In yet another show of its commitment to reward loyal customers for maintaining a savings habit, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank PLC has presented cash gifts worth N39million to lucky customers at the closing ceremony of the Fidelity Bank’s Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) Promo.
Held at Fidelity Bank’s head office in Lagos on Thursday, 29 July 2021, the well-attended event was conducted in the presence of relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB), and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, ably represented by the bank’s Executive Director -Lagos and SouthWest, Dr. Ken Opara, reiterated the bank’s devotion to supporting initiatives that enrich the lives of its loyal customers even in times of economic uncertainties. She said “Encouraging savings and financially empowering our loyal customers have been a long-standing heritage at Fidelity Bank. We are elated at yet another opportunity to dole out up to N39Million to 15 Nigerians even in this time of economic uncertainty”. She further stressed the bank’s intentional drive towards enhancing CBN’s financial inclusion goal. “As a bank, we continuously position ourselves as key drivers for financial inclusion. Beyond encouraging savings, we believe that our GAIM campaign is a suitable initiative to attract the unbanked to the banking side of life”, Nneka added.
At the event, the duo of Mr. Sunday Okechukwu and Mr. Justine Nwaozor, who won the star prize of N10 million each were credited with their winnings. 13 other winners were credited with N3 million, N2 million, and N1 million accordingly; while 18 lucky customers walked home with consolation prizes including TV sets, refrigerators and generators.
Expressing his delight, a star prize winner, Mr. Sunday Okechukwu said, “I am grateful for this reward and most especially, the initiative. It’s common knowledge that having a healthy savings culture is good for one’s financial wellbeing, however, staying true to savings is sometimes difficult given the times we are in. However, with initiatives like this, savings become easier as we stand a chance to win big. I am glad to have won big, so big enough to turn my life and business around. Truly, Fidelity Bank keeps their word”.
Launched in 2019, Fidelity Bank’s GAIM Season 4 promo is a savings initiative of the bank specifically aimed at promoting a savings culture among Nigerians. Through this campaign, a total of N120 million has been seeded to several Fidelity Bank customers.
“As a bank, we are pleased with the outcome of this initiative so far. Having wound up the fourth season of this campaign, it is exciting to see the number of people whose fortunes have changed. Although GAIM Season 4 is over, we will continue to drive initiatives that will, directly and indirectly impact the lives of our customers and Nigerians at large”, disclosed the Head of Savings and Sales, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Ukpai Ibe.
Over the years, the leading tier two Bank has continued to intensify its efforts and innovate ways towards ensuring customer and stakeholder satisfaction. Through this promo, Fidelity Bank has promoted financial inclusion through digital channels and enriched the lives of its customers.
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