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IWD: Unity Bank, AltSchool Africa Partner to Empower Female Software Engineers

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Unity Bank

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, IWD 2022, Nigeria’s retail lender, Unity Bank Plc is partnering AltSchool Africa to sponsor female students towards the acquisition of specialist software skills – an empowerment initiative to boost the capacity of the female gender.

AltSchool Africa is a school for individuals looking to gain technical skills and kick start a career in Software Engineering. The school currently prides itself on the large enrolment of female students. Unity Bank Plc is providing funds to encourage enrolment of young female students into AltSchool who will pursue a career in Informational Technology.

The Bank said in a statement that the gesture has become imperative to #BreakTheBias against women in the emerging information technology industry, where a recent study by ONE Campaign and the Center for Global Development, showed that less than 30 per cent of technology companies in Nigeria are owned by women, even as the female members of the entire tech ecosystem workforce constituted less than 20 per cent.

Speaking on the partnership, Unity Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tomi Somefun said the initiative to extend the scholarships to the young women looking to start a career in the IT industry not only aligned with the theme of the IWD 2022, “#BreakTheBias,” but is in tandem with the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability initiative targeting education and empowerment.

She said: “The International Women’s Day is yet another opportunity to reexamine the critical role that women continue to play in building a peaceful and prosperous society. Today, more than ever before, we are confronted by the harsh realities of gender-based exclusivity, especially in the workplace.

“I agree that some progress has been made but we must not be distracted by this momentary success because, over the next decade, the share of jobs requiring medium to digital skills would have risen to more than 50 per cent. Therefore, we must remain committed to empowering women who are courageous to make a difference in careers that have hitherto excluded the women, such as the IT industry.”.

According to Mrs. Somefun, “The advancement in technology has created a new world order that must be deliberate about inclusivity, removing biases and unlearning stereotypes. If future prosperity shall be defined by technological and requisite skills, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past by ensuring diversity, equity and inclusivity and empower our women to take an active part in creating that future.”

The International Women’s Day, IWD is a day set aside globally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and reflect on action to accelerate gender equality. This years’ theme #BreakTheBias “imagines a gender-equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination; a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive; a world where difference is valued and celebrated.”

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Its Firstmobile Cash-out Promo

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firstmobile

In collaboration with Interswitch, FirstBank has launched a promo to reward users of the FirstMobile app, its industry-leading mobile banking application. The promo tagged FirstMobile Cash-out Promo will run for 3 months. The promo, which started on Monday, 21st March 2022 will end on Tuesday, 21st June 2022.

Various prizes including, N1,000,000, N40,000, N10,000.00 cash prizes, N40,000 Airtime, LED Televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning systems will be won in the course of the three months campaign. A minimum of two bills payment worth N1000 and five airtimes of at least a total of N2000 in a week qualify a customer for any of the prizes. The promo is open to new customers and existing users of the FirstMobile app.

FirstMobile customers who do a minimum of 6 transactions weekly on the FirstMobile app, will be eligible for the respective rewards: N10,000 cash for 200 winners; Gift items (TVs, Refrigerators and AC) for 10 winners; N10,000 airtime for 340 winners.

On the other hand, 500 customers that carry out a minimum of 10 transactions monthly will win N30,000 cash. The Grand Prize of N1,000,000 will be won by 2 lucky customers who carry out a minimum of 20 transactions or a minimum of two bills payment of N1000 plus five airtime transactions of at least a total of N5000 in a week.

Speaking on the campaign, Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products said, “as the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria, we are delighted to partner with Interswitch, an Africa-oriented technology-driven company, to reward our customers for their continuous patronage. Together with Interswitch, we remain committed to ensuring the continued safety of customers’ funds across multiple electronic payment channels irrespective of where our customers may be across the world. FirstMobile remains another obvious step towards leveraging evolving technologies to bring fast and convenient digital banking solutions to our customers”.

FirstMobile is built to reflect FirstBank’s resolve at reinforcing the digitisation of payment systems, whilst putting customers at an edge to conveniently meet their everyday needs at any time, irrespective of where they are. The app provides convenient access to both financial and non-financial transactions by FirstBank account holders via their mobile devices. It is sleek and convenient to use – evident in its easy enrolment process as all FirstBank customers with Verve and Naira Mastercards can begin using the app without having cause to visit a FirstBank branch. It is also poised to offer a more reliable and more convenient overall digital banking experience.

To set up the FirstMobile app, customers with android phones should visit the Google Play store to download and install the FirstMobile app. Customers with Apple devices can download it from the Apple Store. Once installed, customers are required to open the app, tap the register button, and use their FirstBank issued Naira MasterCard or Verve card to activate the app. After details have been inputted, an OTP code will be sent via an SMS to your phone number that is linked to your bank account and you are then required to Input a 5 digits code that will be your login password, select two security questions and answer them, create a personalised 4 digits transaction pin that will help your confirm transactions. Upon the conclusion of these steps above, click Done and start enjoying the app.

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Loans

Farmers Are Refusing To Pay Back Loans – CBN Cries Out

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agriculture

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cried out over the refusal of the majority of farmers who benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to repay their loans.

CBN Development Finance Officer, Mr Sadeeq Ajayi revealed this at the Agribusiness Innovation Clinic.

He claimed that the majority of the beneficiaries regard the loan as their part of the national cake in his speech entitled Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Across the Agricultural Value Chain, which was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

He urged farmers who had delayed their agricultural loans to repay them, claiming that the CBN’s failure to retrieve the loans from defaulting farmers had jeopardized the plan and prohibited other farmers from using it.

“While the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme had recorded some level of success, the failure of farmers to repay the loans has, however, been a major setback.

“Many of the farmers refused to pay back their loans due to the misconception that since CBN is the lender, the loan is a ‘national cake’ and they do not have to pay back what they consider theirs as citizens.

“This attitude has made it difficult for other farmers, who also want to access the loan, to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

In 2021, about 2.85 million farmers benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme. Investors King gathered that N554.63bn was disbursed, of which N61.02bn was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.

In its October monthly report, the CBN also revealed that the Anchor Borrowers Program disbursed N1.9 billion to 2,521 farmers to cultivate 8,963 hectares of land through three participating financial institutions.

Cassava, cotton, fish, groundnut, maize, poultry, rice, soya beans, wheat, cattle, sorghum, ginger, castor seed, sesame, tomato, cocoa, yellow pepper, oil palm, cowpea, and onion were among the crops cultivated on 3,097,834 hectares, according to the report.

ABP is an agricultural loan scheme launched by the federal government in 2015 through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers in order to increase agricultural production, create jobs, and reduce food import bills in order to conserve foreign reserves.

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Finance

MTN Nigeria’s MoMo Formally Commences Operation

MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank operations, today, 19th May, 2022

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MTN

MTN Nigeria’s subsidiary company, MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank (PSB) operations, today, 19th May, 2022.

This comes after a successful trial that began on May 16, 2022, to commemorate the start of MTN’s GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.

Investors King had reported the CBN’s approval of this process some months back stating; “This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.

“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to its fulfillment…”

MoMo PSB is determined to enable millions of Nigerians to access a broad range of financial service products. With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB will continue to expand its agent network in order to serve Nigerians across the country and eliminate friction from routine transactions by digitizing cash payments.

Customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country, and pay their bills by dialing *671# from any network.

Furthermore, MoMo wallets will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country in the future, a crucial feature considering Nigeria’s position as the top recipient of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the process,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Not just for those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he added.

MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”

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