It’s the first in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the three such cutting-edge facilities on the continent, with top prime global certifications for smart card manufacturing and it is based in Lagos, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo relished yesterday afternoon while touring SecureID company’s premises, and affirmed Nigeria’s extremely bright economic future, which he said cannot be aborted despite current challenges.
According to him, “the economic future of our nation is extremely bright. Yes, we have challenges today and they may look daunting. But let me assure you that these issues will be resolved. The march of this nation to its manifest destiny as Africa’s leading economic power will not be aborted. We are more than able to overcome.”
An impressed Osinbajo said the Buhari administration in “following the recommendation of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, has determined that manufacturing will be our main focus in bringing about dynamic growth, jobs and exports. This will mean retooling our business environment for greater competitiveness, especially with the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
“We are rethinking our tax regimes, sorting out external and internal trade issues, getting our regulatory authorities; SON, NAFDAC, and even Customs, to see their roles more as business facilitators rather than policemen or revenue generators. Our environment must be friendly for local businesses first, foreign investments will follow enthusiastically.”
Commenting on the efforts of the administration to position the country as a leading economic beacon on the continent, the VP also stated that the Buhari administration was ramping up efforts in improving the country’s infrastructure and digital space.
He said, “aside from the work we are doing with other infrastructure such as rail, roads and power we are committed to a plan of democratizing broadband connectivity. Our program, which we have reiterated in our Economic Sustainability Plan, is broadband connectivity for all by 2023.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Broadband Plan which is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25mbps in urban areas and 10mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at affordable prices by the target date. Broadband connectivity is as important as electricity in the digital age, unlike electricity we do not have to make several mistakes before getting it right.”
While commending the efforts of the founder and Managing Director of SecureID, Kofo Akinkugbe, VP. Osinbajo described the SecureID facility as a place of history, innovation and creativity.
He said, “This world-class manufacturing facility is reputed to be the first certified smartcard manufacturing plant in sub-Saharan Africa, the only smart card production and personalization plant in West Africa and one of only six on the continent and one of only 80 in the world.
“The facility serves 21 countries across Africa and is fully certified by major commercial card companies – VISA, Verve and MasterCard. SecureID has shown that this country can be at the cutting edge of development in technology and digital enterprises. The world in which companies like SecureID operate, providing comprehensive end-to-end payment, identity management and digital security solutions is one that thrives on innovation.”
Continuing, the VP said, “the company has in these few years of her existence provided notable innovative offerings to the financial services sector, telecommunications, government, education, healthcare and private enterprises. Equally remarkable is the fact that with this facility, the company can produce all the payment cards, SIM cards, loyalty cards and the various identity management cards (residency cards, voter registration cards, drivers’ license and national identity cards) required here in Nigeria, with the capacity to spare.
“Congratulations also for your successes in getting the certifications that will help to meet the demands of customers, such as Global System of Mobile Applications (GSMA), Visa International, MasterCard Incorporated, Verve, Card Quality Management (CQM), and ISO 9001/2015 for Smart Card Manufacturing and Personalization of credit and debit cards.
“In particular, we must also congratulate SecureID for earning the GSMA certificate last year; this is a world-class security requirement for SIM card manufacturing and personalization. Your rapid expansion is also worthy of commendation, especially as you have added a number of subsidiaries, one of which is the digital arm of the business: SID Digital, while the other is involved in transport payment infrastructure. This has put the company in good stead to provide services ranging from identity management to tax collection, school management systems, health management systems, digital cards for the banks and, of course, e-ticketing for all forms of transportation, including road, rail and water.”
Speaking earlier at the event, the founder of SecureID, Kofo Akinkugbe, highlighted the significance of the Vice President’s visit, noting that the VP has come to see some of the much-touted potential being realized. She added that SecureID was a good entrepreneurial story of an abiding faith in God and the nation, proving the viability of investing and staying in the course.
Akinkugbe commended the federal government for establishing institutions and agencies to support and encourage start-ups, MSMEs and other enterprises that had offered assistance to the company.
The representative of the Governor of Lagos State, the Anglican Bishop of Lagos State, Humphrey Olumakaiye, alongside other top government functionaries, also attended the event.
Accompanying the Vice President was the Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice President, Ade Ipaye; and the Economic Adviser to the President, in the Office of the Vice President, Adeyemi Dipeolu.
Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
Ecobank Group Appoints Jubril Mobolaji Lawal as Regional Executive and Managing Director Designate for Ecobank Nigeria
Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group, announces that Jubril Mobolaji Lawal has been appointed as Regional Executive and Managing Director designate of Ecobank Nigeria, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The appointment is made ahead of Patrick Akinwuntan’s upcoming retirement, due to him reaching retirement age in January 2022.
Mobolaji Lawal joins Ecobank having been a versatile senior banking executive and digital transformation specialist for over 28 years with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He has deep involvement and experience in digital and retail banking, corporate and commercial banking, credit risk management and corporate finance. His previous experience includes being Executive Director at GTBank Plc Nigeria, and Non-Executive Director roles at both GTBank Ghana Limited and Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc. Mobolaji led the team that envisioned and implemented GTBank Plc’s retail and digital banking strategy to achieve industry-wide leadership over a ten-year period and he introduced new products and solutions that have helped to deepen payments and access to digital financial services in Nigeria.
Mobolaji was selected and appointed as Managing Director designate following a keenly contested selection process, which included both internal and external candidates.
Mobolaji Lawal holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; B.L. from the Nigerian Law School and a Master of Business Administration from Oxford University, United Kingdom. He has also attended several executive management and banking specific developmental programmes at leading educational institutions including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD).
Commenting on the appointment, Ade Ayeyemi, CEO, Ecobank Group said: “We welcome Mobolaji Lawal to the Ecobank Group and we stand to benefit from the extensive experience that he has acquired in various fields across banking, which will play a major role in continuing to rebuild our franchise in Nigeria. Nigeria is a key market for us, in which we have seen significant improvement over the past three years as we reposition and leverage upon our pan-African strengths in digital products and services, payments and as the go-to-bank for businesses seeking to grasp the growth opportunities being created by the AfCFTA, across all our markets on the continent. I wish Mobolaji the best and assure him of both my support and that of the entire Ecobank Group.”
Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Chairman of the Board of Ecobank Nigeria said: “We look forward to working with Mobolaji and assure him of the full support of the Board, Management and all the staff of Ecobank Nigeria. The business in Nigeria is on the path of transformation and we are confident that Mobolaji will have significant impact in advancing our positive trajectory.”
Mobolaji Lawal will assume the position of Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, upon receiving the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria and after Patrick Akinwuntan retires.
South Africa Encourages Nigerian Businesses to Expand to the Country
In an effort to improve trade relations between Nigeria and South Africa, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Thamsanqa Dennis Mseleku has implored more Nigerian businesses (especially financial institutions) to expand their businesses to South Africa.
The South African representative revealed that the South African consulate was currently working on issuing Nigerian business owners (or operators) visas valid for ten years, in order to further bolster business relationship between both countries.
This was mentioned by Mseleku yesterday on ‘The Morning Show’, a programme which is monitored closely by Arise news, on which he also noted that the bilateral agreements being signed by both countries would be fully executed in the coming years.
According to Mseleku, Nigerian businesses are operating in South Africa, with the issue being raised back in 2019 when President Buhari was present in South Africa specifically talking about Access Bank and Air Peace. Mseleku stated that Access Bank has since opened up a branch in South Africa, and Air Peace is now making flights to and from South Africa.
Mseleku then said,”So, the issue is that we must encourage more businesses that want to go to South Africa from Nigeria to do so particularly in the financial sector.”
This prospective deal between both countries is promising, because the encouragement of Nigerian businesses to come into South Africa may eventually lead to more South African businesses coming into Nigeria to operate. The moves will undoubtedly boost the economies of both countries.
It may also encourage other African countries to engage in trades and have bilateral or multilateral agreements with other African countries, boosting economies across the entire continent.
Mseleku also noted that some South African countries were pulling out of Nigeria, which he cited as one of the reasons for the visit of the South African President.
He also addressed the inaccessibility of visa to business personnel, saying that the country is agreeing and would go on implementing longer term visas for them. He then mentioned the 10 years visa which the country is considering.
All Business Stakeholders Will Benefit from Stronger ESG Policies, Says GlobalData
The age-old view that addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will make a dent in profits is a myth, says GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that businesses that embrace all three elements of ESG will actually outperform their peers.
Cyrus Mewawalla, Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “The reluctance of many CEOs to fully engage with sustainability can be attributed to the age-old view that it will hurt profits. However, GlobalData’s research suggests the opposite: CEOs that are too slow to improve their company’s approach to ESG will see an exodus of customers and a drop in profits far sooner than they ever imagined.”
GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Thematic Research: ESG – Top Trends by Sector‘, notes that, while saving the planet used to just equate to implementing sustainable practices such as ‘limiting the use of plastics’ and ‘reducing carbon footprint’, ‘sustainability’ has morphed into an umbrella term that includes all aspects of ESG issues. The company proposes an ESG framework that identifies key areas in which companies should invest. One of these is climate change.
Luke Gowland, Analyst in the Thematic team at GlobalData, comments: “With COP26 setting the agenda on climate change, companies are focusing their efforts on tackling carbon emissions by switching to renewable energy and undertaking energy efficiency projets. However, companies must excel across all three aspects of ESG, and not overlook the importance of strong social performance and having the correct governance structures in place to achieve ESG goals.”
Citizens, governments, regulators, and the media are turning the spotlight on corporations and demanding action. Social inequality, corruption, tax avoidance, and a lack of action on climate change are all issues that companies must now address head-on, in full public view.
Since Q1 2021,GlobalData has been asking respondents to detail their company’s approach to ESG goals In Thematic Sentiment Analysis, Q3 2021, conducted in Q3 2021, nearly a quarter of respondents thought that, for most companies, ESG was just a marketing exercise.
Gowland continues: “Our latest sentiment analysis report shows that more companies have changed their behavior to meet ESG goals (33%) than not (22%). While the attitudes towards ESG are improving, there is a long way to go.”
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