50% of UBA Earnings Comes from African Operations
One of the largest banks in Nigeria and Africa, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has said about 50% of its earnings come from African operations.
Abiola Bawuah, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Africa, who disclosed this said it was made possible because of the bank’s digital offerings and products that help gain large market shares in key markets in Africa.
Speaking to the press during a hybrid media parley on Thursday, Bawuah explained that while devaluations and rising inflation in Nigeria and other African nations where the bank operates impacted overall performance, subsidiaries remained strong and continue to contribute significantly to the growth and development of trade, infrastructure and finance.
She said, “As of last month, none of our African subsidiaries is making a loss. They have all been turning in profits, this is a testament to the fact that they have navigated successfully and have all found their footing.
Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, who was appointed earlier this year became the first female CEO of UBA Africa, to take the group’s total female directors to eight.
She said, “We need the government to regulate the private sector because the sector is struggling. However, the private sector needs to be strong, and that is where UBA comes in. There have been numerous facility programmes we have come up with for consumers in the corporate sector like the Small and Medium Enterprises, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises that are being supported by us.
“It is only in UBA that I know of that you can be an MSME, and once you are faithful to us and you have run the enterprise very well, we are ready to support you, even when you do not have collateral.
“However, Africa must develop the private sector, and when you talk of the private sector, 60 per cent of the private sector in Africa are either SMEs or MSMEs, which would not be able to be developed by the foreign banks, because what they classify as SMEs monetarily is high, and most SMEs in Africa are far below that range.”
CBN Disburses N13.8 Billion to Manufacturing Sector Under 100-for-100 Policy
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said the apex bank has disbursed a total sum of N173.3 billion to various beneficiaries under its 100-for-100 Policy on Production and Productivity since the policy commences.
Emefiele, who made this known in Abuja shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, said N13.81 billion of the total disbursed amount was for the development of three new projects in the manufacturing sector.
He said, “Under the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity, the Bank disbursed the sum of N13.81bn to three projects in the manufacturing sector.
“This brings the cumulative disbursement under the facility to N173.31bn, disbursed to 81 projects comprising 45 manufacturing, 23 agriculture, five healthcare, and eight services sector projects with an estimated 23,343 direct jobs created.”
The loan is capped at N5 billion per participant by the central bank, according to the guidelines for the implementation of the initiative.
In the guideline, the apex bank said 100 private sector organisations with projects that could transform the local economy through job creation, improve productivity, reduce imports, increase non-oil exports, and improve foreign exchange generating capacity of the nation will be selected and financed under the 100-for-100 policy.
“The initiative, which shall be bank-led, will be rolled over every 100 days (that is, quarterly) with a new set of companies selected for financing under the initiative,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian economy grew at a slower pace in the first quarter of 2023 as Africa’s largest economy expanded at 2.31% year on year.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attributed this decline in growth to the cash crunch caused by the CBN’s decision to change the Naira notes in an effort to curb counterfeit notes and other national challenges.
Guaranty Trust Holding Company CEO Urges Lower Cost of Data to Drive Financial Inclusion
Segun Agbaje, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), disputed the notion that continuous use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) for fund transfers would deepen Nigeria’s cashless policy as pursued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Agbaje emphasized that the future of financial inclusion and increased literacy lies in reducing the cost of data, making it more affordable.
Agbaje drew a parallel with India, stating that the two countries share similar demographics and highlighting that India has achieved remarkable progress in financial inclusion.
He expressed his belief that USSD technology is cumbersome and costly, while internet banking offers a more robust and technologically advanced alternative.
According to Agbaje, the fight over USSD has served as a distraction created by telecommunications companies. He argued that banks are advocating for the protection of customers, insisting that they should only pay for successful transactions and not for transactions that were not calculated on their accounts. He challenged the widespread use of USSD, stating, “USSD is not the answer.”
Agbaje called for a shift towards mobile banking, which he viewed as more advanced and user-friendly, requiring less data consumption.
He stressed the urgent need to reduce the cost of data in Nigeria, pointing out the disparity between data costs in Nigeria and India.
He emphasized that lowering data costs would enhance financial inclusion and increase interest in the country.
Access Bank, GTCo, FCMB, Others Pay N1 Billion Plus in Penalties for Violations in 2022
In a startling revelation, several prominent Nigerian banks have found themselves in the crosshairs of regulatory authorities, facing hefty penalties for various violations during the year 2022.
Access Bank, GTCo, FCMB, and other major players in the Nigerian banking sector have collectively paid over N1 billion in fines, as disclosed in their recently filed financial reports.
The infractions that attracted these penalties spanned a wide range of regulatory areas. Mismatched account details, infringement of foreign exchange guidelines, delays in rendering monthly and daily returns, publishing unapproved adverts, and engaging in unethical conduct were some of the violations that drew the attention of regulatory bodies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Insurance Commission, and the Pension Commission.
Access Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in the country, faced the highest penalty burden, with total fines amounting to N604 million paid to the CBN. This figure includes N2 million paid for breaching the accounts’ administration agreement on March 11, 2022.
Additionally, Access Bank incurred fines of N2 million for incorrect account openings and mismatched details.
Violations of foreign exchange regulatory guidelines cost the bank N100 million and N500 million in separate penalties.
GTCo (Guaranty Trust Company) and FCMB (First City Monument Bank) also faced substantial fines for regulatory non-compliance. While the exact breakdown of fines for each bank is yet to be disclosed, the penalties contributed significantly to the overall sum of N1 billion plus paid by the banking institutions.
The penalties levied on the banks serve as a stark reminder of the increasing scrutiny and emphasis on regulatory compliance in Nigeria’s financial sector. Authorities are becoming more vigilant in ensuring that banks adhere to guidelines and ethical standards to maintain the integrity of the financial system and safeguard the interests of customers and investors.
The fines not only act as a deterrent but also highlight the need for greater diligence and adherence to regulatory frameworks by banks and financial institutions. Regulatory violations can have severe consequences, leading to reputational damage, financial losses, and erosion of public trust.
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