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How First Bank supports Economic Summit, growing local enterprises

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Adesola Adeduntan, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank (centre); flanked by Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank (third left); Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank (second left); Adebayo Olanrewaju, Head, Digital Banking, e-Business, FirstBank (extreme left); Olusegun Alebiosu, Chief Risk Officer, FirstBank (third right); Lola Ekugo, Head, Digital Lab, e-Business, FirstBank (second right) and Chuma Ezirim, Group Head, e-Business Group, FirstBank (extreme right) at the formal launch of the FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp held at the FirstBank Digital Lab, Yaba, Lagos.

The need to raise Nigeria and Nigerians from poverty to prosperity was the anchor point for economists, captains of industries, key policymakers and corporate institutions like the First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) at the recent 24th edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit (NES#24) in Abuja.

The two-day summit themed: ‘Poverty to Prosperity: Making Government and Institutions Work’, was organised by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) with support from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, had President Muhammadu Buhari represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

NES#24: How we’re boosting infrastructural provision – Buhari

President Buhari at the summit said government has spent over N2.7 trillion in the last three years to develop key infrastructures that include rail, road, power among others that will aid business development and economic growth.

He said government will ensure about 30 per cent of the annual budgetary spending is sustained on capital expenditure. “Therefore, infrastructure based policy will not only reduce unemployment but also improve the living condition,” Osinbajo who represented the President said.

Chairman of NESG, Mr Asue Ighodalo called for more actions towards reducing unemployment and underemployment. He said: “The latest jobs report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the combined unemployment and underemployment rates rose from 35.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 40 per cent by Q3 2017.”

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Ighodalo noted that from the report, about four million Nigerians may have lost their jobs, remained unemployed or were employed at jobs that can’t cater to their needs.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma said the States through the National Economic Council (NEC) were being carried along to strengthen capacity for the implementation of the governance components of the Economic Reform and Growth Plan (ERGP).

On her part, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed while speaking as a panelist on a session for sustainable economic opportunities for Nigeria said the federal government was working with the private sector to raise access to finance for small scale businesses, while expanding the reach of infrastructure.

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We’ve actively supported NES for 20yrs

FirstBank in its brief justified its 20th year sponsorship for the 23 year old Summit saying it “has helped shape many of the reform policies that have underpinned the evolution of the nation’s economic growth strategy.”

The bank in its policy thrust document obtained by this paper said the summit positions the Bank as a front-liner in driving strategic policy influencing initiatives for national economic development.

The platform has worked as Launchpad for the Bank to pursuing business development opportunities through Public-Private sector Partnerships (PPP).

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One of the several opportunities for promoting local enterprises by the Bank was at the NES#22, themed ‘Made in Nigeria’.

FirstBank which was deeply involved in the deliberation on the practical issues and panaceas to achieving the “Made in Nigeria” vision, presented various economic analysis to support such cause.

Chairman of FirstBank, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, a panel discussant at the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Plenary Session during the summit brought out her entrepreneurial skills, unveiling secrets on how to do business and prosper in it.

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Bank holds 3 multi-sector summits in 5 months

Besides being a consistent sponsor of the annual NES, FirstBank has sustained renowned multi-sector summits and expo. Analysis of the bank’s report shows that between June and October 2018, it created three platforms to support technology, export and import businesses and the agriculture sector.

A three day FINTECH Summit 2018 themed: ‘The Future of Banking – The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data was held between October 11, 12 and 17 in Lagos. The Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of the Bank, Folake Ani-Mumuney said the first two days of the summit was for a coding competition tagged, Hackathon. The core summit then held the third day where over 700 Fintech players, key stakeholders and tech lovers participated.

At the Hackathon, 10 teams contested for the grand prize of N3 million as they showed off their technological and artificial intelligence capabilities with the second and third best teams winning N1.5m and N750,000. They also showcased their tech solutions at the core Fintech summit.

Away from the youth and tech-lovers oriented summit, FirstBank said on July 17, 2018, it held the FirstBank Chinese Business Forum to deepen intercontinental partnerships.

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The forum was also an affirmation for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recent currency swap agreement with the Peoples Bank of China to ease liquidity issues faced by Nigerian entrepreneurs. FirstBank is among the four banks appointed as settlement banks in the deal.

The Managing Director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited & Subsidiaries, Adesola Adeduntan at the forum, said the Bank has a Representative Office in Beijing, China since 2010 adding that: “Our promise is that we will always deliver the ultimate gold standard of value and financial excellence as we put customers at the heart of our business.” It is the first Nigerian bank to record its presence in the Asian country.

In pursuit of sustainable economic diversification in Nigeria, FirstBank held the ‘FIRSTBANK AGRIC EXPO 2018’ on June 28, 2018 in Lagos state. The Expo triggered conversations and collaborations that promote sustainable businesses for Agropreneurs whilst creating avenues for growth and increased per capita income in the larger economy.

Launched in 2017, the is a lead to national discourse on the economic benefits of sustainable agriculture value-chain as an alternative source of economic development and foreign exchange through export.

FirstBank said the 2018 edition was over-subscribed by 100 per cent. Dr Adeduntan said: “Over 124 years ago, our Bank commenced operations with a major strategic focus on financing agriculture development as well as enabling farmers and agrobusinesses.”

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He added that agricultural financing across all value chains has remained a core part of the Bank’s business at present.

The Expo featured master classes facilitated by enterprising experts who shared their success stories with focus on building capacity for agropreneurs.


This article first appeared on Daily trust, written by Simon Echewofun Sunday

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

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Business

Jumia sees competition from startups in growing African e-commerce market

Investors have experienced a couple of twists and turn since the stock debuted in New York.

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Q3 ’19: Jumia grows revenue by 52%, Five gone, more to follow as Jumia shuts down Tanzania operation for 2022 projection 

One of Africa’s leading e-commerce firms, Jumia Technologies AG, is facing a new set of competition from startups in the Africa e-commerce and logistics market, after the coronavirus pandemic increased the demand for online deliveries.

The Co-Chief Executive Officer of Jumia, Sacha Poignonnec revealed that the restrictions and lockdown, which were implemented by various countries as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, have attracted more entrepreneurs into the e-commerce business. He, however, demonstrated good sportsmanship, saying:

“Greater competition is to be welcomed, given there are still so few people in the region that transact online. I would rather grow the market than just try to take everything.’’

Nairametrics had reported that Jumia reported a loss after tax of 37.6 million euros (N17 billion) in the second quarter of 2020. E-commerce firms were expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers, during the lockdown, moved towards online transactions to meet their essential needs.

However, the losses were an improvement on the 66.7 million euros that was reported for the corresponding period in 2019. Apparently, the firm is trying to dig itself out of a massive loss hole.

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The Lagos-based online market place, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was one of the pioneers of internet trading in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the company’s performance falls behind that of its peers around the world due to various challenges ranging from poor internet connection to now competition.

Jumia investors have experienced a couple of twists and turns since the stock debuted in New York last year. Allegations of corruption, persistent losses in the Nigerian business and a damning short-seller report contributed to an initial share-price slump. But the coronavirus outbreak has helped to greatly increase market value this year.

It was reported earlier that one of the early investors in Jumia, MTN Group Ltd, was considering selling its stake in the business. Reacting to this, Poignonnec disclosed that Jumia may offer MTN’s shares as part of a potential new equity offer within the next 3 years if the Johannesburg-based firm decides to sell.

He also revealed that expanding into food delivery business has helped to increase Jumia’s sales and footprint in its African markets, which are led by Nigeria. This includes grocery and pharmacy orders as well as restaurants takeaways.

The logistics business unit of Jumai is another revenue stream as it is also now open to third parties who wish to use the firm’s network of drivers to deliver packages.

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Ride-hailing: Lagos reduces operational license fee by 20%, as operators meet with Governor

In the meeting with the Governor, all parties agreed to newer resolutions.

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COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis, Lagos state government discharges 7 more coronavirus patients, Lagos state will reverse to full lockdown, Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office, Lekki regional road: Sanwo-Olu revokes land titles of Elegushi Royal family

The Lagos State Government has reduced the operational license fee placed on ride-hailing companies operating in the state by 20%.

The decision was taken during a stakeholders’ meeting with the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday.

Governor Sanwo-Olu’s media aide, Jubril Gawat, who disclosed the outcome of the meeting, also noted that it was attended by operators like Uber, Bolt, and BMP among others.

The Backstory: Earlier this week, the Lagos State Government had announced new guidelines designed for ride-hailing operations in the state. According to the new regulatory framework by the state which will take effect from August 20, 2020, ride-sharing companies were required to pay the Lagos State Government a 10% service tax on each transaction.

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The new guidelines required operators to pay a provisional license fee of N10,000,000.00 for every 1000 cars in their unit and N25,000,000.00 for every unit above 1000 cars. Annual renewal of the license would cost N5,000,000.00 for every unit of 1000 cars and N10,000,000.00 for units with over a thousand cars in operations.

The guidelines also required that the vehicles must be brand new or within the first three (3) years of its manufacture as specified by the manufacturer.

Now, during the meeting with the Governor, all parties agreed to newer resolutions which are:

  1. There must be comprehensive insurance cover which will cover drivers and passengers.
  2. A reduction of 20% on the operational licensing fees.
  3. A flat fee of N20 to be known as Road Improvement Fund which will be levied on each ride/trip.
  4. A 90-day compliance with documentation for the drivers – There will be a one-stop shop for all the documentation (especially LASSRA Card- Lagos State Resident Registration Agency.
  5. E- Hailing companies to work with various bodies in the business for a good relationship.
  6. There MUST be due diligence and background checks on all drivers.
  7. Riders should desist from offline trips and transactions.
  8. E-Hailing Firms must make necessary data available to the Govt.

Mr. Gawat also noted that media reports about operators being required to only use cars that are not more than 3 years are incorrect. Instead, the rule only applies to Corporate Cabs.

“This has nothing to do with the E Hailing business,” Gawat said.

On the requirements for sharing data, the Lagos state government said that data shared would be encrypted, and the personal information of ride sharers would not be disclosed.

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“This will help Government clear up issues around congestion & also calculation for the charge paid to Government,” he added.

Uber had earlier told Nairametrics, after the guidelines were released, that it was willing to engage the government on regulations to ensure “our operations align with best practices locally and internationally.

“We have always been willing to engage with governments on regulations to ensure our operations align with best practices locally and internationally, as we believe regulations need to support innovative technology ideas that fit 21st-century businesses.

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“The current proposed regulations are inconsistent and unclear. We are working to better understand how they will impact the future of our business and network of driver-partners. We will give an update in due course,” Uber said.

The meeting with the governor was needed, as clarifications were required on the execution of the guidelines.

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Sanwo-Olu speaks on need to resolve community’s agitations for tank farms relocation

Sanwo-Olu called stakeholders to come together in order to provide a lasting solution to the issue.

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Lagos introduces Dropbox facility for land documentation, China Development Bank, Sanwo-Olu sign $629m facility to complete Lekki Deep Seaport , Lagos State Government seeks partnership with insurance operators, Bond Issue: Lagos State Government to raise N100 billion for infrastructural development, Lagos State threatens to shut down Adron, Almond, 103 other estates for lacking approval

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has listed conditions that must be met, in order to bring a lasting solution to the dispute between petroleum tank farm owners at Ijegun-Egba area of Amuwo Odofin and the residents of the host community.

One of these conditions is that tank farm owners and petroleum tanker drivers must subscribe to operational regulations that limit the loading of tankers beyond their weight capacities. Also, all Federal Government’s regulatory agencies operating in the area must stop working at cross purposes with the state’s agencies, in the bid to address the environmental degradation in the area.

The governor also stressed that both the federal and state authorities should collaborate on the regeneration efforts of road and infrastructure in the area.

This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Governor on Thursday, August 13, 2020, in Marina, while receiving members of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the Relocation of Tank Farms. The Committee, which was constituted by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, was also intended to investigate and make recommendations on the issue.

READ MORE: Flour Mills aids Nigeria’s sugar self-sufficiency

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The Hon Sergius Ogun led Ad-Hoc Committee had initially gone on a two-day inspection to Ijegun before sharing the findings with the Governor.

During the meeting, the governor pointed out that the regeneration of Ijegun-Egba was as important to the community as smooth transportation of petroleum products was important to the tank farms’ owners. He warned that the country could not afford to allow the host community’s agitation to hinder the operations of the tank farms, which, he said, supply 45% of petroleum products consumed in the country. The governor said:

“The Ijegun-Egba tank farms are strategic national assets created by the private sector to serve the whole country. Between 40 to 45% of the entire petroleum products that go across the country pass through that corridor. Even if it is to cater for our own need, we must take care of those assets, because they are like a strategic reserve for us as a nation.

“The rudiment of the problem in the area is a logistic issue, which is to ensure the movement of oil tankers in and out of the area without affecting the wellbeing of the community members. We have had to contend with environmental issues and the extent of the bad road network on the corridor is glaring. We have seen how small-capacity tankers are carrying up to 70,000 litres of petroleum products when they should be taking only 30,000 litres. This has exerted great pressure on the roads and the officers that are supposed to monitor them look away.

“These are part of the issues we need to resolve with the stakeholders. If we can let these people run their businesses within the confines of regulations, part of the solutions would have been achieved in the process. Also, there is a need for total regeneration of the roads in the area. We want the environment to be conducive for business, but we must do that in line with the safety of lives and property. We have talked with tank farms’ owners and we all need to come together. It is important for the Federal Government’s agencies to have an agreement and we are ready to play our own part.

The committee was set up following the agitations and demands by residents of Ijegun Egba Satellite Town for the immediate relocation of the tank farms in the residential area. This, according to the residents, would help to prevent further environmental degradation and loss of lives and property in the area.

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The host community accused tank farm owners of disrupting the drainage system, damaging roads within the community, and even converting roads to parking lots for their tankers.

The Governor stressed that genuine solution would be achieved if the entire network of infrastructure in the host community was cleaned up and regenerated. He, however, revealed that the new regeneration design that the state came up with could not take off because the federal authorities had not agreed with the plan.

Furthermore, Sanwo-Olu noted that it is high time for all the stakeholders to come together in order to provide a lasting solution to the issue.

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READ ALSO: Flour Mills aids Nigeria’s sugar self-sufficiency

After your thorough assessment of the situation, I hope you would be able to call all relevant stakeholders and agencies of Government together on the discussion table. We are committed to any effort that’ll bring a permanent solution. We know how much of investment we have in the area, but businesses have to be done under a safe and controlled environment. We want every stakeholder to play their roles,” he said.

Making his own remark, the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, Hon Ogun, admitted the inability of the Federal authorities to work collaboratively with the Lagos State Government was part of the reasons the community’s agitation festered. He, however, promised that the House would prevail on the federal agencies to close ranks with stakeholders and bring about lasting solutions.

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