Connect with us

Money Market

Unity Bank Partners RIFAN Mega Rice Pyramid Display, Pledges More Support for Farmers

Published

on

“Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers

“Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers – Shomefun

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Agric-focused lender, Unity Bank Plc has partnered Nigerian rice farmers under the aegis of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN to unveil a mega rice pyramid on the occasion of the National Rice Festival held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Tuesday.

The event, which coincided with the flag-off of the dry season farming, was used to showcase the gains produced by rice farmers in driving self-sufficiency in rice production through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP.

Mrs. Tomi Somefun, Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc.
Mrs. Tomi Somefun, Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc.

Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, Mrs Tomi Somefun, while going down memory lane on the support of the rice farmers by the Bank since the inception of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP commended the rice farmers for their unwavering belief and collaboration in the implementation of the intervention programme, adding that as the PFI (Preferred Financial Institution) for the ABP transactions, the Bank will continue to support the farmers and ensure that more smallholder farmers get the requisite financial support to boost rice production.

She said: “Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers. This was the largest single-ticket transaction in that year. This financing cut across 33 states of the Federation including the FCT.

“In 2019, the Bank increased the tally by financing another 146,810 smallholder farmers for the wet and dry season farming. This funding cut across 35 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Additional funding was granted to finance additional 221,450 smallholder farmers of the Association across the 32 states of the Federation including FCT for the wet season and additional 300,000 hectares was financed in sixteen states for the 2020 dry season cropping season.

“As of March 2021, the Bank has financed no fewer than 190,000 smallholder rice farmers across 35 states including the FCT, Abuja.”

Speaking further, she said: “The rice pyramids we see here today is an example of the resilience of the farmers and should be replicated in all states with a focus on the crop they have a competitive advantage.
“As we gear the programme towards deepening its penetration to reach more farmers, we encourage all beneficiaries of the Intervention Programme to always utilize the inputs judiciously in order to key into the Federal Government’s goal of attaining food sufficiency, diversification of the economy from oil, job creation for the teeming youth and poverty reduction”.

“We remain optimistic that RIFAN under the able leadership of the National President, Aminu Goronyo, will continue to engage its members to drive higher performance under the ABP.”

Through the strategic initiative of the ABP, Nigeria has made incredible gains in rice production over the past six years raising production to significant levels. Official reports show that from an average yield of 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare in the pre-ABP era, the initiative has increased the country’s average yield per hectare for rice paddy and maize to about five metric tonnes per hectare.

Similarly, the average capacity utilisation per annum of domestic integrated rice mills has jumped to 90 per cent, from the 30 per cent that was the case in the era preceding the advent of the ABP.

Statistics show that there has been a significant reduction in the country’s rice import bill, from a monstrous $1.05 billion prior to November 2015, to the current figure of $18.50 million, annually. The programme has also created an estimated 12.3 million direct and indirect jobs across the different value chains and food belts of the country.

Money Market

Sterling Bank Signs MoU With Optometrists On Funding, Capacity Building 

Published

on

Sterling Bank Signs MoU With Optometrists On Funding, Capacity Building

…“We have adopted a community approach in engagement with stakeholders in this sector – Akinmade

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Optometrist Association (NOA) to automate operations, enhance capacity and provide funding at competitive interest rates for members of the association.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the MoU in Lagos recently, Mrs. Ibironke Akinmade, Group Head, Health Finance of Sterling Bank, said the initiative is part of the bank’s vision to be the leading bank for businesses in the health sector. 

She said, “We have adopted a community approach in engagement with stakeholders in this sector. This will not only give us leverage to develop tailor-made propositions for the community, but it also creates an inroad for engagement of their members through a cluster approach.”
Akinmade said the bank recently engaged the NOA in a bid to scale on its offerings to the health sector, which includes access to finance (template credit), access to digitalization (payment platforms and Electronic Medical Records) as well as advisory services, among others.

The Head of Health Finance said the rationale behind the partnership with NOA is to further position Sterling Bank as the bank of choice for businesses in the health sector, adding that this means more business collaboration and partnership with stakeholders in the health space.

She said the bank has earmarked N10 billion for the entire health care sector in the country and would accommodate any level of funding that members of the NOA may require. Under the MoU, members of the association will be able to borrow from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention for the health sector at five percent as well as obtain template credit from the bank within 48 hours at a competitive interest rate of 20 percent, which is below the prevailing rate in the banking industry, she said.

Sterling Bank Signs MoU With Optometrists On Funding, Capacity Building
Left-Right: President of Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), Dr. Obinna Awiaka; Group Head, Health Finance, Sterling Bank Plc, Ibironke Akinmade; Vice President NOA, Dr. Ogechi Nwokedi and Health Finance Manager, Sterling Bank Plc, Obiora Ezike at a signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sterling Bank and NOA in Lagos recently.

Since 2018, Sterling Bank has concentrated investment in five sectors of the economy under its HEART strategy in a bid to make an impact on the country’s economic development. The five sectors in HEART’s strategy include health, education, agriculture, renewable energy, and transportation.

Also speaking, Dr. Obinna Awiaka, President of NOA, said the association wants a bank that would help its members to grow and discovered that Sterling is the only bank that has a passion for the healthcare sector.

He said the relationship between members of his association and the bank will build the economy because once the healthcare industry is built the economy will also be built.

Dr. Awiaka said the NOA is satisfied with the relationship with Sterling Bank because in no distant time the bank, in conjunction with healthcare professionals, will help to develop the sector, which will translate to a better future for the country.

He said the development will make Nigerian professionals that are leaving the country in droves return to the country to practice and this will reduce medical tourism among the country’s leaders.

He thanked Sterling Bank for coming on board and taking the bull by the horn to support the healthcare industry.

The NOA was established in 1968 and is the prime umbrella association representing over 5,000 doctors of optometry across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as well as all other optometric interest groups in Nigeria.

Continue Reading

Money Market

Fidelity Bank Partners Edo State, GIZ To Host CBN RT200 FX Exports Roundtable, And Sensitisation Workshop  

Published

on

Fidelity Bank partners Edo State and GIZ to host CBN RT200 FX Exports Roundtable and Sensitisation Workshop  

Fidelity Bank partners Edo State and GIZ to host CBN RT200 FX Exports Roundtable and Sensitisation Workshop  

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host an exports roundtable and policy sensitisation workshop for businesses in Benin-City, Edo State capital in partnership with the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and GIZ on Tuesday, 24 May 2022.  

The event, which would be the fourth edition of the bank’s CBN RT200 FX Sensitization seminars following successful outings in Kano, Ondo, and the Plateau States in February, March, and April 2022 respectively, is part of the bank’s initiatives to help importers pivot to exports. 

According to the Divisional Head, Export, and Agriculture, Fidelity Bank Plc, Isaiah Ndukwe, Fidelity Bank’s decision to partner ESIPO and GIZ is borne out of the need to help exporters to build their business management capacity and is further proof of the value the bank provides to export-oriented businesses in Nigeria. 

“At Fidelity Bank, we are known for empowering our customers with the necessary financial and non-financial services to upscale their businesses. We consider the CBN RT200 FX scheme an amazing opportunity for businesses to bolster their FX earning capacity and we are delighted to collaborate with ESIPO and GIZ to host businesses in and around Benin City for a workshop to help them take advantage of the scheme”, explained Ndukwe. 

Fidelity Bank partners Edo State and GIZ to host CBN RT200 FX Exports Roundtable and Sensitisation Workshop  

Launched on February 10, 2022, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of measures to reduce the increasing demand for foreign currency by importers, the RT200 FX scheme is designed to help Nigeria achieve $200 billion in FX repatriation from non-oil exports over the next five years. The policy has been hailed by stakeholders in the export sector as an initiative capable of stimulating the growth of non-oil exports in Nigeria. 

“The goal of the roundtable is to identify and promote viable non-oil export opportunities, provide financing options, and proffer steps to removing the identified bottlenecks in the export process for non-oil products from Edo State to the global market. It will provide a platform for the exporters to meet with the export regulatory bodies and express their challenges that hinder exports. The event will also serve as an opportunity for the regulatory agencies to address the challenges on the spot and provide solutions to them with a view of enhancing Nigeria’s capacity in the African Continental Free Trade Area deal”, commented Marcus Unuebho of the Business Development Support and Export Unit, ESIPO. 

On his part, the Technical Advisor for Edo State, Local Economic and Value Chain Development, GIZ SEDIN, Nosakhare Omon Aigiomawu stated that “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the drivers of local economic development. Collaborating to provide market linkages and access to finance would address major constraints to these groups and ensure more employment creation as well as higher-income”. 

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. 

Continue Reading

Money Market

Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI® Private Sector Activity Growth Quickens In April

Published

on

Stanbic IBTC Opens New Branch In Lekki Free Trade Zone

Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI® Private sector activity growth quickens in April

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Marked and accelerated expansions in output and new orders helped drive a pick-up in growth in the Nigerian private sector during April.

However, private sector performance was once again impacted by elevated rates of inflation, uncertainty and unfavourable exchange rate movements.

Nevertheless, strong demand encouraged firms to add to their inventories and raise their headcounts at an accelerated pace. The headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI®). Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

According to Stanbic IBTC Bank, at 55.8 in April, up from 54.1 in March, the headline PMI signalled a sharp improvement in business conditions in Nigeria’s private sector. Growth has now been seen in each of the last 22 months with the latest uptick quicker than the long-run series average. Central to the improvement was an accelerated uptick in new orders.

The overall rate of expansion was marked as the third-quickest in the current 22-month sequence of growth. Panellists indicated that stronger demand and greater client requirements had been behind the latest increase in new business, with growth signalled across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. Strong inflows of new work resulted in a further uplift in output.

The rate of growth was robust and quickened from that in March. Sub-sector data revealed expansions across the board, though agriculture recorded the quickest expansion. Wholesale & retail, manufacturing and services followed, respectively. With workloads increasing, and demand expanding over the last 22 months, firms sought to boost headcounts in a bid to ramp up activity.

Subsequently, backlogs fell at the quickest pace for four months. To cater for higher output volumes, firms increased their buying activity in April. Stocks of purchases also rose, and at a quicker pace than in March. Turning to prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbated costs for a wide range of raw materials as well as fuel. Firms also indicated higher transportation fees.

The overall rate of input price inflation was substantial and the fourth-quickest in the survey’s eight-year history. Firms chose to pass on a large part of the burden to clients, with selling price inflation among the quickest in the series’ history.

Finally, firms were optimistic about growth in the year ahead, but sentiment dipped to a four-month low. Uncertainty surrounding the global environment and a lack of plans to expand operations led to the moderation in confidence.

Continue Reading

Trending