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Firstbank targets 500,000 agents to boost financial inclusion

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its drive to get up to 500,000 operators on board its agent banking platform.

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Firstbank targets 500,000 agents to boost financial inclusion

With a view to enhance financial inclusion across the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its drive to get up to 500,000 operators on board its agent banking platform. This was disclosed at the opening ceremony of the 12th Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) by FirstBank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, who also served as the Chairman of the CIBN 2019 Conference Consultative Committee. The event was held in Abuja on 24 – 25 September 2019.

The CIBN conference themed: “the future of the Nigerian banking industry – 360o” had Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Special Guest of Honour.

In his remarks, the Bank’s CEO said FirstBank would support all efforts to ensure effective financial inclusion in Nigeria.

According to Adeduntan “we have a very ambitious plan to appoint about 500,000 agents across the nook and cranny of our country and to ensure that banking facilities and services are made available to all Nigerians.”

He noted that the banking sector in Nigeria remained the primary partner to the government with regards to economic growth and development in the country. “If we do not utilise those opportunities and mainstream them properly, the country and the entire economy will be left behind,” Adeduntan stated.

In 2017, FirstBank launched its agent banking network; ‘Firstmonie Agent’, described as its ‘Human ATM’. The Firstmonie Agents are empowered to extend access to finance to all Nigerians, regardless of where they may be across the country. The Firstmonie Agents complement the Bank’s effort at reducing the unbanked in the country, whilst providing a handful of the Bank’s bespoke financial services, including; account opening; cash deposit; airtime purchase; bills payment; withdrawals and money transfer.

According to the Bank, FirstMonie Agents are usually owners of small businesses within communities with limited or no banking penetration. The Bank has an Agent Banking strength of over 31,000 Agents, spread across 98% of the country’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

 

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Audiomack partners Slum2School to support the education of students from underserved communities

These funds will go towards supporting 38 learners with tablets in the virtual learning program.

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Moving music forward means empowering the next generation of creatives. In that spirit, Audiomack will be donating $5000 USD worth of tablets and headsets that will support the Slum2School initiative in Africa, which is a volunteer-driven development organization empowering underserved children in slums and remote communities with quality education, entrepreneurial skills, and psychosocial support to enable them to realize their full potential and become social reformers.

These funds will go towards supporting 38 learners with tablets in the virtual learning program which was designed to combat the impact of COVID-19 on education in disadvantaged communities in Nigeria.

Speaking about the initiative, Charlotte Bwana, Head of Business Development and Media Partnerships for Audiomack Africa reiterated Audiomack’s commitment to empowering its host communities. She said, “While the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives including the education sector, we recognize the increased gap on children from underprivileged communities as they are unable to access quality education and learning materials. This donation demonstrates our efforts to bridge this gap because we are committed to fostering a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper.”

Also commenting, Otto Orondaam, Founder of Slum2School Africa said, “We are glad to collaborate with Audiomack who shares in our vision to transform the society by empowering underserved children in slums and remote communities with quality education. We also call on individuals and organizations to support this cause and help make an impact in Nigeria’s educational development”.

This donation comes on the heels of Audiomack donating to Girls Who Listen and Pretty Girls Sweat for Women’s History Month.

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Dangote: Cement price from our factories is between N2,450 and N2,510 per bag, VAT inclusive

…says Nigeria price is in line with or lower than prices across the West African coast.

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Management of Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that the price of a bag of cement from its factories and plants across Nigeria (as at 12th April, 2021) is N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese inclusive of VAT. The clarification was made in view of recent insinuations that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly Ghana and Zambia.

Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Devakumar Edwin revealed that, while a bag of Cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes. He said that though the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control the ultimate price of cement when it gets to the market. He advised that it is important to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market.

READ: Dangote Cement pays N1.1 trillion in dividends in 5 years.

He, therefore, frowned at intentional misinformation or demarketing, allegedly sponsored by some individuals, that Dangote sells its cement at higher prices in Nigeria relative to other African countries at the expense of Nigerians. He described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, while giving the media persons present at the press conference copies of invoices from Nigeria and some other African countries (Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia), and urging them to conduct independent investigations on the price of cement across the West African coast.

Edwin further explained that while Dangote cement has 60% share of the market, other companies have the remaining 40%. DCP has no control over neither the prices charged by other cement manufacturers nor the prices charged by retailers in the markets.

READ: Dangote Cement joins MTN in the trillion-naira club, as 2020 revenue surpassed N1 trillion

He further explained that “Demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID crisis. Nigeria is no exception as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity. To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings. We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”

READ: Dangote Cement considers debt funding options under 300 billion bond issuance programme

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He said: “Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase. Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly. We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius. We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far.” 

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