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Stanbic IBTC Bank Identifies Opportunities for SME Growth in Nigeria

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Olushola Okunlade Writes

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, recently hosted a webinar where it reiterated its zeal and commitment to assisting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) ecosystem in Nigeria.

The webinar themed “Scaling Your Business in Challenging Economic Times”, was well attended by enthusiastic entrepreneurs looking to overcome the economic challenges currently faced by their businesses. 

In his opening remarks, Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank, listed the COVID-19 pandemic, dearth of innovative solutions and lack of access to adequate business finance as some of the challenges that have plagued the SME sector in Nigeria in recent times. Wole said, “As a business entity, Stanbic IBTC understands that running a business is not a bed of roses and that challenges differ from one business ecosystem to another. For this reason, Stanbic IBTC Bank is always in search of solutions to solve business challenges as they arise.”

Wole also advocated for the diversification of the economy through policies that will be aimed at driving commercial growth in various sectors, as SMEs are vital to the vast business ecosystem of any economy. According to him, this would boost economic growth and lead to an improved standard of living for the citizenry. He further advised SMEs to monitor their expenditure and make the necessary adjustments closely.

Speaking on how the pandemic affected SMEs and the outlook of the post-pandemic era, Ayodele Ojosipe, Head, Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, explained that challenges faced by SMEs during the lockdowns still have profound effects on their businesses to date. He added that whilst these challenges have resulted in increased costs of doing business, the inability of most SMEs to pass these costs to their customers has led to margin compression and outright losses in most cases thereby threatening their business sustainability.

Ayodele stated further that despite the fluctuation and devaluation of the currency which has culminated in capital inadequacy for most SMEs in Nigeria, there are opportunities in the immediate business environment that small businesses can explore to turn the tide. He advised SMEs to take advantage of the Stanbic IBTC unsecured SME Loan which is available to both existing and new clients of the Bank within 24hrs to enable them to meet their financing needs.

Ayodele identified changes in business dynamics, client focus, optimising cash flows and business partnerships, talent retention, restructuring loans (if any), deferring costs and accessing cheaper funding as key focus areas for SMEs to guarantee business continuity. He further cited aspects of the recently promulgated Finance Act which would benefit small businesses. Some of the areas include the Company Income Tax Act, which stipulates those small businesses with less than N25m million turnover will no longer have to pay taxes and the CAMA act which states that small businesses with a turnover of less than N120m million need not turn in audited financials while filing their taxes, hence saving them costs in the appointment of auditors.

Ife Durosimi-Etti, Founder, AGS Tribe, highlighted the need for small businesses to explore innovative ways of staying relevant through identifying what customers need. She harped on the advantages of collaborations with other business owners, avoiding unnecessary loans, seeking opportunities for grants, and the importance of joining accelerator programmes for exposure.

The Bank urged SMEs to build well-positioned brands for opportunities and take advantage of services available within enterprise banking as they come with numerous benefits to boost their businesses. Stanbic IBTC Bank is committed to the continuous support and development of SMEs through targeted initiatives and products.

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CIBN President, Olugbemi Says eNaira Will Deepen Financial Inclusion

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CIBN President Says eNaira Will Deepen Financial Inclusion

“Equally worthy of note is the improvement, though slight, being witnessed in the exchange rate of the Naira

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Bayo Olugbemi has commended the introduction of the country’s first digital currency, eNaira, saying it was part of measures to deepen financial inclusion and integrate millions of unbanked Nigerians into the banking system.

Dr. Olugbemi, who spoke at the 56th Annual Bankers Dinner of the institute, noted that while the modality for the operation of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is being finetuned, the launch of the electronic currency was a step in the right direction.

He commended CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele for the innovative introduction of eNaira, saying” I have no doubt in my mind that it is a welcome development and a step in the right direction.

“Equally worthy of note is the improvement, though slight, being witnessed in the exchange rate of the Naira. I wish to call for its sustenance. We are certainly working in interesting times with global growth rate at its lowest and traditional norms being challenged on a daily basis.”

Olugbemi, who was attending his last CIBN dinner as the president of the institute as he would be handing over the mantle of leadership of the institute by May 2022, noted that his tenure builds “on the solid foundation laid by our predecessors, rooted in the tradition of constantly leaning forward into the future.

He thanks members of the Institute for their support in the implementation of the A-TEAM Agenda of his administration. “I want to assure you that the Institute will continue to devote its resources to the development of competencies whilst strengthening observance of ethics and professionalism in the banking industry.

He said traditionally, the Annual Bankers Dinner is the “CBN Governor’s Day” because it affords stakeholders’ the rare privilege of interacting and listening to Mr. Governor as he examines critical issues and fundamentals which have affected the banking industry within the year.

In his keynote address, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele who was the Special Guest of Honour stated that “In less than 4 weeks since its launch, almost 600,000 downloads of the e-Naira application have taken place. “Efforts are ongoing to encourage faster adoption of the e-Naira by Nigerians who do not have smartphones.

“The support of the financial industry will be critical in the ongoing deployment of the e-Naira and efforts are ongoing to encourage continued partnership between the CBN and stakeholders in the financial industry,’’ he said.

The CBN governor noted that building a robust payment system that would provide cheap, efficient, and faster means of conducting payments for most Nigerians have always been the focus of the apex bank.

Emefiele said that total transaction volumes using digital channels more than doubled between 2018 and 2020, as volumes rose from 1.3 billion to over 3.3 billion financial transactions in 2020.

He said that Digital payment channels also helped to support the continued conduct of business activities during the lockdown.

He said the banking sector’s robust payment system has continued to evolve towards meeting the needs of households and businesses in Nigeria, reflective of the confidence in our payment system, indicating that between 2015 and September 2021, about US$900 million has been invested in firms run by Nigerian founders.

Mr. Emefiele also stated that the policies created to ensure stability in the exchange rate saw more transactions flowing through the official Investors & Exporters FX window (I&E FX Window) which raised its average daily Fx turnover to $250 million from $40 million in April 2020.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his remarks stated that bankers “must ensure that the fundamental economic indicators, both micro and macro, of our economy, are a true reflection of what the realities are in the various sectors of the economy.”

Sanwo-Olu said, “We will certainly need to review the traditional economic and monetary models in the face of changing realities and the desire to achieve maximum impact and outcome vis a vis our policy objectives.

“But even as we do this, we must never lose sight of our primary mandates as institutions and organizations. He said the fund’s banks deploy must create jobs, boost exports, build capacity, and guarantee prosperity for significant numbers of our population.

The Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, and Chairman North Central Governors Forum used the forum to donate a facility in Minna, the state capital to the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN) to serve as the North Central Regional Office in other to strengthen the relationship between the Banking industry in Nigeria and the North Central part of the country.

Highlights of the event was the presentation of the various awards to Next Generation Class of 2021 which recognizes a class of young bankers who are excelling and have contributed exceptionally to the industry and economy with your institution; X-factor Award which recognizes a leading female banker breaking the glass ceiling and inspiring a more gender-inclusive Industry was awarded to OlaronkeKing; Affiliated of the year Award which recognizes an industry affiliate/agent whose performance has enhanced the Industry’s goal of financial inclusion was Award to Paystack Payments Limited; Next Generation Customer Award which recognizes a business in an identified strategic sector that has been catalyzed by the industry’s support was awarded to Faith Agro and the COVID-19 Response Banker of The Year Award which recognizes employees that innovatively stepped up beyond the call of duty in the fight against Covid-19, to ensure business continuity despite the scourge of the pandemic was jointly awarded to Ameachi Okobi of Access Bank and Dr. Segun Oghuan of FBN Ltd

The Group Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise served as the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the event.

The Annual Bankers Dinner had in physical attendance Commissioner’s of Finance and Budget and planning of various states, Chairmen of Banks, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, President, IoD; Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria; President of Professional Bodies; Director-General, SEC and his Commissioners; MD/CEOs of banks; Past Presidents and Registrars of the Institute, Diplomats, Captains of Industries, Business leaders, and financial analysts.

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2021 NCOY: FirstBank Partners Junior Achievement Nigeria, Reiterates Commitment To Innovation, Education

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2021 NCOY: FIRSTBANK PARTNERS JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT NIGERIA, REITERATES COMMITMENT TO INNOVATION AND EDUCATION

Olushola Okunlade Writes

For 11 years, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to host its annual flagship event.

The National Company of the Year competition (NCOY), which convenes winners of the JA Company Regional Competitions across Nigeria to compete for the National Company of the Year Award.

This year, the event will bring together outstanding ‘student business teams’ across Nigeria to compete for prizes and an opportunity to represent the country at the national competition – the JA African Company of the Year Competition (ACOY). The 2021 edition of the NCOY competition will be held virtually via Zoom meetings at 10 am on Saturday, 27th November 2021. 

Interested participants are to register via the link https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qvqz4pE90NXOHcy-tve6aEXpY_yYAE

The competition themed ‘Innovation with Grit’ will have 12 teams from 12 schools pitch their innovations to a team of 5 guests judges. The schools at the competition are ‘The Seer company from Alvana High School; Sonic Informatics company from Heritage Global Academy; Nexus Queens company from Queens School; JA Stars from Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); Amazing Amazon Students from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Abaji; KereTerra Company from Secondary School Etoi, Uyo and The Exploit thinkers from Taidob College’.

Other teams competing include: Mystic Global Company from Rosa Mystica High School, Agulu;  PetraMech Tech from Petra Schools; The Amazing Inventors from Government Secondary School Tudun Wada; Blue crystal company from Methodist Girls school and the Artisans from Igbobi College.

Judges at the event include: Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos & West First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Chidimma Juliana Okparah, Project Management Consultant (PMIEF); Sheila Ojei, Head of Communications Jobberman;  Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Simbo Olatoregun, Policy Programs Manager for Facebook in Africa. In attendance also is the Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as a Special Guest.

The 2021 National Company of the Year Program will also feature SPARK Competition. SPARK as an initiative of First Bank of Nigeria Limited is an acronym for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. SPARK reiterates the Bank’s commitment to institutionalise kindness in Nigeria by encouraging and amplifying a culture of kindness.

The SPARK competition will feature 15 finalist schools across Nigeria, whose CSR projects align with the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability pillars of Education, Welfare and Health, Financial inclusion, and Responsible Lending and Procurement.

Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “FirstBank’s partnership under its Future First initiative with JA Nigeria Company programme has positively impacted over 100,000 people in different locations across the country in preparing and teaching them how to generate wealth, effectively manage it and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Our commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development amongst youths is mainly the driving force behind our support of the National Company of the Year (NCOY) and Africa Company of the Year (ACOY) competitions in past 11 years”.

According to the Executive Director, JAN, “the National Company of the Year Company competition provides our students with a platform to show how innovative they are while displaying their dexterity and grit especially as it relates to creating sustainable business solutions to problems in their immediate community. The students have learned critical skills during the implementation of the Company Programme and we are proud to celebrate them as they compete in the National competition. I would like to specially appreciate FirstBank Nigeria for its continued support and belief in the boundless potential of young Nigerians’’.

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FirstBank Backs Ladies Lounge, A Lifestyle Programme To Nurture Ladies In Relationship

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FirstBank Backs Ladies Lounge, A Lifestyle Programme To Nurture Ladies In Relationship

Olushola Okunlade Writes

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has backed Ladies Lounge Podcast, a lifestyle programme to nurture ladies in a relationship, marriage and career.

Ladies Lounge is a female lifestyle programme, which covers happenings around relationships, marriage and family. It targets evolving relationships issues, memories, challenges, and knowledge-seeking demographics with the aim of forging ahead and giving life a good start.

This programme per season would spread into carefully researched and crafted segments, capable of drawing interaction and adequately attempting to proffer knowledge to the public on relationship, marriage, and family issues.

Stay tuned as you join Ladies Lounge podcast every Friday with MOO and friends.

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