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FCMB partners WSBI to boost financial inclusion and savings in Nigeria

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to substantially increase its support to agribusiness, its value chain and growth of the Nigerian economy

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to substantially increase its support to agribusiness, its value chain and growth of the Nigerian economy after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI).

The memorandum outlines a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors. As part of the terms of the partnership, in addition to the stated areas of support, WSBI will provide technical oversight supervision on a regular basis to ensure the achievement of mutually agreed goals set by both institutions.

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According to the memorandum, the project involves FCMB rolling out an integrated savings account – named ‘Kampe Account’ – to offer financial services under phase one of its plan to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states through agricultural agents operating under the bank’s agency banking proposition.

The first set of states to benefit in this first phase are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach 2 million farmers across the entire nation by year 2023.

In addition to the financial support to farmers, FCMB plans to deploy its state-of-the art technology and mobile banking solutions to drive the project mainly in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements where most farmers are based. The bank will also organize capacity-building programmes for farmers aimed at facilitating their understanding of the sector and promote innovative ideas that would make the sector attractive, ultimately facilitating job creation that would in turn, impact on productivity and income.

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Commenting on the grant from WSBI and the initiative, FCMB’s Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr. Adam Nuru noted the development will revolutionize agribusiness – one of the various empowerment strategies adopted by the bank that is appreciated by stakeholders within and outside Nigeria.

Adam Nuru said:

Partnering with WSBI and harnessing the business model we have developed to drive it, under our Kampe Account, is built on a sustainable approach which ensures farmers can gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help them build successful businesses.

Nigerian smallholder farmers have been at a disadvantage due to several factors including land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance and inadequate cash flow.

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Over the years, they have suffered from lack of essential services such as access to good markets to create low economies of scale, challenges in the promotion of agricultural productivity, hurdles in their bid to achieve increase in food security to improve rural livelihoods for engendering systematic growth out of poverty. FCMB and WSBI are optimistic that these challenges will be addressed.

Mr. Nuru added: “Farmers who benefit from this effort can and should make the best use of the opportunity. FCMB will continue to partner with WSBI to create opportunities that would ensure the realization of the personal and business needs of customers.”

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose concluded: “The Kampe Savings Project is yet another example of the innovative ways rural communities can flourish through mobile savings and beyond. Expanding banking access and agricultural services through the provision of mobile services to the farming community, which increasingly includes more women, can help knock out any doubt about the payoff that farming can bring.”

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About FCMB

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.

About WSBI

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), founded in 1924, represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serves approximately 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). The Institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, in industrialized and less developed countries.

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Companies

UBA denies N41 billion NITEL fraud allegations

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has described the alleged N41 billion fraud levied against its Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu, as untrue, misleading, malicious, and libellous.

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UBA Records 13% Earnings Growth and Delivers N111billion Profit

The Management of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has described the alleged N41 billion fraud levied against its Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, as untrue, misleading, malicious, and libellous, and said that it should be disregarded in its entirety.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the bank to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the company’s secretary, Bili Odum, on Friday. Media reports in some online blogs alleged the former CEO of the bank was indicted” prompting the bank to issue a denial via a press release.

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In the press release stated Statement To The Nigerian Stock Exchange on False Reports in the Media, the bank stated that “it has set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions”.

READ MORE: Guinea Insurance Plc gives optimistic Q3 earnings forecast in spite of COVID-19

It also stated that it will “continue to conduct its business in line with global best corporate governance practices, extant laws, and regulations,” as it has done in over 70 years of operations.

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Back story: The counsel to NITEL, J.U Ayofu petitioned the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions about the alleged fraud. The committee chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, claimed the ”the N41billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct Telecommunications company and National Carrier, NITEL”

They alleged the amount was withdrawn “systematically from NITEL for nine years” under the leadership of the bank.

READ ALSO: N1.5 billion Probe: Contractor could land in EFCC net for abandoning CCB project 

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Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Mr. Ayo Akinyelure, reportedly said, “The N41 billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct telecommunications company and national carrier, NITEL.

According to the reports, in view of this, the senate committee has summoned the Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, to appear before it on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

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Despite the allegations, the Management of the Bank denied all the allegations and will use all legal means to clear its name. “We have set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions.”

READ ALSO: More banks, insurance firms declare closed periods ahead of H1 results release

UBA’s 2020 second-quarter result is expected to be released next week. The market appears to have shrugged off the allegations as thee company’s share price closed at N6.2  gaining 3.3% week on week.

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Airtel Africa’s profit up 12.9%, customer base reaches 111.5 million

Airtel Africa had risen in customers’ base by 11.8% to 111.5 million in spite of the pandemic.

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Airtel Africa’s profit up 12.9%, customer base reaches 111.5 million in Q2

Airtel Africa on Friday posted an impressive Q1 ending June 2020 financial statement with an operating profit of $210 million up by 12.9%which showed a 111.5 rise in customers’ base of 11.8% to 111.5 million in spite of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. The Company also reported an operating profit of $210 million up by 12.9%.

Airtel reports its year end March 31st 2020.

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Key highlights of Airtel Africa Q1 2020 include;

  • Customer base grew by 11.8% to 111.5 million.
  • Revenue increased by 6.9% to $851m, with constant currency revenue growth of 13.0%
  • Constant currency revenue growth was recorded across all key business segments, with voice revenue up by 2.2%, data by 35.7%, and mobile money by 26.3%.
  • Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9% to $375m, with constant currency growth of 14.6%
  • The reported underlying EBITDA margin was 44.1%, up by 40 bps.
  • Operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210m, an increase of 21.5% in constant currency
  • Free cash flow was $96m compared to $62m in the same period last year.
  • Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents.
  • Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.2x, compared to 3.0x in June 2019.

(READ MORE: Airtel Africa announces IPO result in Malawi, says its fully subscribed)

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa explained the company’s business was to survive the COVID-19 pandemic amid all odds. He said;

“During the last quarter, our business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socializing were introduced to contain the spread of infection. In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities.

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“We focused on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.”

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa spoke about growing concerns on the resurgence of COVID-19, but he was optimistic based on Airtel Africa’s present result and investment. He continued by saying ;

“The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so-called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event. However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.”

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The stock is presently trading at N348 with a market capitalization of N1.308 trillion, dividend yield at 3.38%, price/earnings ratio at 10.63 at the time this report was drafted.

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MTN expands scope of tower service, targets rural connectivity

The development would also improve cost for future technology evolution and backhaul in the network.

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MTN Nigeria, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. begins N100 billion commercial paper issuance today

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has reached an agreement with Global Independent Connect Limited, INT Towers Limited and IHS Towers Limited to expand the scope of their current service agreements, amend the currency conversion provision for tower services.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the telecommunication firm and published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, explained that the company is pleased to agree to the mutually beneficial update to its agreements with IHS, adding that the changes would provide clarity for both parties on foreign exchange denomination with Naira payments, while also extending the telco’s relationship into key new areas.

READ MORE: Africa Prudential suffers revenue drop as Covid-19 bites contracts business

What it means: With the concluded renegotiation of certain terms of its tower agreements, the telco giant can now increase focus on rural connectivity and fibre deployment. The development would also improve cost for future technology evolution and backhaul in the network, which will bear fruit in the longer term while agreeing to move the reference rate for conversions to Naira from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official rate to the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate (NAFEX).

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Moolman said, “I am particularly excited about the partnership to expand fibre connectivity and deliver accelerated rural telephony. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the huge importance of digital infrastructure, and these agreements enable us to enhance fibre networks, while rapidly connecting those Nigerians in rural areas that are currently unable to access telecommunications services.”

READ ALSO: Profiles of the men who determine your internet experience

In 2014, MTN Nigeria took a strategic decision to sell its passive infrastructure (including towers) and focus on its core business. Although the company retains a small number of towers, it currently has agreements in place with a number of tower providers across the country, including IHS.

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