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LAPO Wins CBN’s Best Financially Inclusive Microfinance Bank Of The Year 2022

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LAPO Wins Best Financially Inclusive Microfinance Bank Of The Year 2022

…as LAPO MD expresses gratitude to organisers

Olushola Okunlade Writes

LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited ( LAPO MfB), a premium microfinance institution in Nigeria has won the award of “The Best Financially Inclusive MfB of the Year “ 2022.

The award was presented to the bank at the maiden edition of the International Financial Inclusion Conference organised by The National Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (NFIS) supervised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The conference was a convergence of critical stakeholders: Regulators, Operators, Policy Analysts, and Government functionaries with the sole aim to examine the opportunities, challenges, and proffering solutions to the snags along the nation’s Financial inclusion objectives.

In a statement, Cynthia Ikponmwosa, Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited, expressed the bank’s happiness and appreciation for winning the award.

“We appreciate the NIFS, organisers of this conference, and the CBN for this recognition and award. It is a validation of LAPO’s immense impact on Financial inclusion through the consistent delivery of innovative Financial products and services to the last man in the last mile across Nigeria.

LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited remains committed to its over 30 years mandate of provision of social and economic support to members of low-income households and owners of micro small and medium enterprises in a sustainable manner.

LAPO Wins Best Financially Inclusive Microfinance Bank Of The Year 2022
Left-Right: Gloria Bako, Executive Director, Corporate Services, LAPO MfB, Eghosa Egharevba, Head, Agent Banking Services, LAPO, MfB, Cynthia Ikponmwosa, Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank, Dorcas Thorpe, Head, Corporate Planning, LAPO MfB.
In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

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FirstBank Opens Saturday, Sunday Nationwide To Deposit Old Naira Notes Till January 31 Deadline

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Written By Olushola Okunlade

In line with FirstBank’s drive to always put YouFirst (customers), the bank branches nationwide will be open this Saturday, 28 January 2023, and Sunday, 29 January 2023 to deposit your old Naira notes from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

The bank said there will be no charges for cash returned/paid into customers’ accounts. All old Naira notes of series N200, N500, and N1000 will cease to be accepted as legal tenders from 31 January 2023 as CBN instructed.

Against the race to beat the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for old naira notes to be returned to banks, making way for the circulation of the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, FirstBank announced that it will run weekend operations.

The bank said its branches nationwide will be open to receive and change old naira notes, in a bid to help their customers beat the January 31 deadline.

The CBN introduced sensitization campaigns to ensure that rural dwellers meet the deadline. The apex bank has sent agents to remote places across the country to help those who lack access to financial inclusion swap their old naira notes for new ones.

The Bank will continue to accept old Naira notes till the close of business on 31 January 2023.

For more inquiries, please contact FirstContact, our 24/7 contact centre on 0700FIRSTCONTACT (0700-347782668228), +234-01-4485500+234-0708-062-5000 or send an email to firstcontact@firstbanknigeria.com.

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Union Bank Reiterates Support For Small Businesses At BusinessDay Top 100 SME Conference

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Union Bank Reiterates Support For Small Businesses At BusinessDay Top 100 SME Conference

By Moninuola Sulaiman

Leading financial institution, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), has reiterated its support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the country to drive increased growth and development.

This commitment was made during the recently held ‘Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs in Nigeria’ conference hosted by BusinessDay newspaper.

The event themed ‘How SMEs can thrive in an age of volatility’ was well attended by various stakeholders in the SME sector, including entrepreneurs, industry experts, start-ups, and financiers. The event had different panel sessions to discuss the multiple problems facing SMEs in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Funding for SMEs panel, Ayokunnumi Abraham, Head, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Products & Segments Union Bank, said SMEs need to pay attention to capacity building and keeping proper financial records.

According to him: “SMEs must focus on building capacity and developing the necessary skills to increase their expertise if they hope to succeed in this volatile age. SMEs also need to embrace technology and digital tools as an enabler for business growth while ensuring their books and records are organised if they hope to attract funding from the right financial partner.”

BusinessDay newspaper presented Union Bank with The SME Financier of the Year award in Nigeria at the awards ceremony held that same evening in recognition of the bank’s efforts to support and promote the growth of the SME sector in the country.

Union Bank Reiterates Support For Small Businesses At BusinessDay Top 100 SME Conference
Left-Right: Linda Ochugba, Digital Sales Manager, BusinessDay Media; Ayokunnumi Abraham, Head, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Products & Segments Union Bank; Frank Aigbogun, Publisher/CEO, BusinessDay Media; Olufunmilola Aluko, Head, Corporate Communication & Marketing, Union Bank; and Chima Nwaubani, Brand Manager, Union Bank at the BusinessDay Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs Conference recently held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Know More About Union Bank Plc: Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions.

The Bank is a trusted and recognisable brand with an extensive network of over 300 branches across Nigeria.

The Bank currently offers a variety of banking services to both individual and corporate clients, including current, savings, and deposit account services, funds transfer, foreign currency domiciliation, loans, overdrafts, equipment leasing, and trade finance. In addition, the Bank also offers its customers convenient electronic banking channels and products, including Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, ATMs, and POS Systems

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Discontinuation of Acquisition of Sidian Bank Stands – Access Bank

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However, according to Access Bank; “The completion of the proposed transaction is subject to fulfilment or waiver of certain conditions before the Long Stop date as defined in the transaction agreement.”

By Moninuola Sulaiman

Access Bank Plc, a leading financial institution has announced that it has discontinued its acquisition of Sidian Bank Limited.

It would be recalled that Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation (‘the Corporation’) on June 8, 2022, announced that its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’) has entered into a binding agreement with Kenyan-based Centum Investment Plc (‘Centum’) for the acquisition of the entire 83.4% shareholding held by Centum in Sidian Bank Ltd. (‘Sidian’).

However, according to Access Bank; “The completion of the proposed transaction is subject to fulfillment or waiver of certain conditions before the Long Stop date as defined in the transaction agreement.”

“Although regulators have all been supportive in engagements around the transaction, certain conditions precedent needed to prudently complete the transaction have not been met and the parties were unable to reach an agreement on the variation of these conditions in a manner to deliver the desired outcome for the parties.

Consequently, we hereby notify the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and the investing public that the Sidian Bank acquisition will no longer be completed by the Bank.

The Bank however remains committed to growing its franchise in a safe and sound manner in Kenya and the broader East African Community and will continue to explore a variety of organic and inorganic opportunities to grow its market share therein.

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