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Air Peace Signs Four-Year N300m Airlift Agreement With NFF



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Air Peace has signed a four-year agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as the official carrier to airlift the country’s national teams to whenever they are on national assignments.

The deal, which is worth N300 million would first run for one year and is renewable for another three years by both parties.

Mr. Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace, while speaking at the signing ceremony on Wednesday, said that the airline took the huge responsibility to partner with NFF as one of its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CRS) despite the present challenges in the nation’s aviation industry.

Onyema stated that the airline decided to partner with NFF because of the lofty drive and achievements of Mr. Amaju Pinnick, President of NFF, assuring that the airline would continue to use the platform for the uplift of the country.

The Air Peace Chairman said that the airline would deploy it’s brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft to airlift the Super Eagles to their away matches, while the Boeing 777 would be positioned for Super Eagles matches to long hauls like the United States and other countries.

He insisted that the airline is capable of carrying out the agreement successfully, having operated flights to China, Israel and Indian at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Onyema explained that the national teams of Nigeria represent hope and charged the Super Eagles players to continue to make the country proud by first qualifying for the 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar.

He added: “The national teams of Nigeria represent the hope of this country. Whenever the national teams are playing, there is no disparity or ethnicity among us for that moment. I am not saying everything is okay in Nigeria, but whatever challenges we have can be resolved. The Niger Delta challenge was resolved, this one too that we are having at the moment can be resolved peacefully.

“In a multicultural country like ours, ethnicity is a recipe for disaster. Nigeria with its 378 ethnic nationalities should sit down together to achieve greatness. What we need now is a constructive engagement with the government. We at Air Peace are proud of our country and we will do everything possible to support the NFF to succeed.”

He also reiterated the willingness of the airline to partner with other local football clubs in the country.

Pinnick in his remarks said that the N300milion partnership deal was in both cash and kind, which according to him had enabled the NFF to attain 75 percent self-funding.

He explained that the federation was happy to be a part of the historic occasion, stressing that Air Peace epitomized quality and selflessness.

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Union Bank Announces the Appointment of Aisha Abubakar as Independent Non-Executive Director



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Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“Union Bank”) has announced a change to the membership of its Board of Directors with the appointment of Ms. Aisha Abubakar as an Independent Non-Executive Director effective 9th September 2021, following the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Ms. Abubakar joins the Board of Union Bank following her tenure as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development from 2018 to 2019. Prior to this, she also served as the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment between 2015 and 2018. At the start of her career, Ms. Abubakar worked at Continental Merchant Bank Ltd., African Development Bank and African International Bank.

She is an accomplished public sector administrator with over three decades of professional experience in Public Service and Pension Administration, Investment Banking, SME Finance/Rural Enterprise Development and Micro-Credit Administration.

Ms. Abubakar is a Fellow of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA-UK), and the President of the International Experts Consultants (IEC-UK).

Commenting on the addition to the Board, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Union Bank’s Board Chair said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. She brings many years of robust experience which will be invaluable in supporting our efforts to steer the Bank forward and deliver on our strategic objectives.”

Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo said: “I am pleased to welcome our new Independent Non-Executive Director, Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. We look forward to drawing from her wealth of experience and fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.”

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AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank



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The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.

The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”

The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.

“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”

The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.

“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”

Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”

The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.

Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.

Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.

The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs



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Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.

David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.

“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.

“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.

“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.

Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.

“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.

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