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GTBank’s CEO gives outlook for 2020, talks changing competitive market landscape 

The Group CEO of GTB, Segun Agbaje, does not see the potential of Nigeria’s GDP growth figure going beyond 2% in the next twelve months.

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GTB releases FY result for 2019, grows PBT by 7.5%, GT bank obtains approval-in-principle from CBN to operate as Holding Company

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), Segun Agbaje, said he does not see the potential of Nigeria’s GDP growth figure going beyond 2% in the next twelve months of 2020.

According to him, events such as the US-China trade tensions and the lingering Brexit deal could all result in stunted growth for the global economy.

“Growth is coming down. England’s still struggling with Brexit. Europe has its problems. You still have China–U.S. trade tensions. So, I’m just not sure that things are very upbeat; you are looking at stunted growth from a global perspective.”

It is important to note that Agbaje gave this interview days before the United States reached a tentative trade deal with China. As such, there is a possibility that the tension between the two countries will reduce, although some analysts are of the opinion that the so-called “phase one” deal could eventually fall apart.

[READ MORE: GTBank crashes ‘Quick credit’ to 1.33% monthly]

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Addressing the “threat” of technology

When asked to comment on the threats facing businesses today, Agbaje said the biggest threat is “the changing competitive landscape” which technology has enabled. Of course, he admitted that policy uncertainty, over-regulation by the government (increased tax burden), and exchange rate volatility are all threats. However, none of these bothers him as much as the growing competitive landscape.

He explained why: According to him, the competition is happening too fast and it is “scary”. He also spoke about how digital technologies are disrupting businesses, even as companies like GTBank now have no choice but to compete with FinTechs and share profits with them. FinTechs and share profits with them.

“The one that bothers me the most today is the changing competitive landscape. You will always worry about regulation. You will always worry about tax. You will worry about losing staff to countries such as Canada and Australia. However, I think that you will be able to deal with these threats better than you will with the changing competitive landscape.

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“The process of change, the acceleration of change and the threats — it is actually quite scary how quickly it’s happening. Three years ago, we were talking about this like it was way, way in the future. It’s here today. And we’re living it very quickly. So, while I hear all of the other threats, I actually think they’re easier to navigate than the threat of the changing competitive landscape.

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“Everyone is doing digital technologies. They’re disrupting your business. It’s not like banks won’t be around, but will you be as relevant? Will you be as profitable? Because you’re sharing a lot of your profit with these new entrants and you’re sharing a lot of your customer base.

“I think these are bigger threats. If we have to pay a bit more tax, it’s no problem, as long as we make the money. Other threats, we can find ways around them, but this one is more difficult to handle.”

Agbaje disclosed all these and more during an exclusive interview with PwC Nigeria Partners. To read more of his thoughts on the economy and the changes happening in the banking sector, click here.

In the meantime, it should be noted that this is probably the first time a top Nigerian bank CEO is openly admitting that FinTech companies are posing real threats to banks. Prior to this time, the general rhetoric has always been that FinTechs are not a threat. In November 2019, another CEO of a major bank in the country went short of dismissing mobile money operators as irrelevant in the larger banking scheme.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Cryptocurrency

Ex-Real Madrid Striker, David Barral becomes first-ever footballer to be bought with Bitcoin

Former Real Madrid Striker, David Barral has become the first-ever footballer to be bought with Bitcoin.

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Former Real Madrid striker, David Barral, makes transfer history as he became the first-ever professional player to be bought solely with virtual currency, Bitcoin.

Spanish third division side, DUX Internacional de Madrid, simply known as Inter Madrid, has officially signed the 37-year-old after teaming up with their new sponsors, Criptan that deals in cryptocurrency, The SUN reports.

Inter Madrid who are part of DUX gaming, eSports club owned by footballers Borja Iglesias and Real Madrid star, Thibaut Courtois, is yet to disclose the total value of the deal.

The Segunda Division B club went to Twitter to welcome their new signing and thank their sponsor.

“David Barral new player of DUX Internacional de Madrid, welcome to the infinite club! He becomes the first signing in history in cryptocurrencies. Thanks to Criptan, our new sponsor, for making it possible,” the club tweeted.

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The 37-year-old, who made over 50 appearances playing in the Real Madrid reserve side, expressed his delight at his latest move. Barral has also played for Spanish La Liga clubs Sporting Gijon, Levante, and Racing Santander.

“Glad to join the project of @interdemadrid with eager ambition and responsibility to continue competing and achieve important challenges in my sports career,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

What you should know

  • A similar deal was when a Harunustaspor, Turkish amateur side, paid 0.0524 Bitcoin (£385) plus 2,500 Turkish Lira in cash (£841) for Omer Faruk Kıroğlu in 2018.
  • Back in December, Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung became the first high-profile athlete in the United States to be paid in bitcoin.
  • Similarly, the Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks became the second NBA franchise to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for both game tickets and merchandise.

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Hospitality & Travel

Biden reverses US immigration ban on Nigeria, others

US President, Joe Biden has signed an executive order to repeal the immigrant visa ban on Nigeria and others.

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What would a Joe Biden Presidency mean for Nigeria?

Newly-elected President, Joe Biden has signed his first executive orders as US President including reversing a Donald Trump-administration travel ban on 13 countries which were mainly Muslim and African nations.

Biden’s executive orders, amongst other acts, also returns the US back to the Paris Climate agreement and stopping the construction of the border wall with Mexico.

This was disclosed in a report by Reuters after Biden signed 15 executive actions immediately after his inauguration.

“In the coming days and weeks, we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the president-elect’s promises to the American people,” Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary said.

Other actions by Biden include reversing the Presidential permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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What you should know

  • Donald’s Trump administration introduced a ban on citizens from countries which was upheld at the US Supreme Court, barring citizens of seven countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea — from obtaining any kind of visas, and largely preventing them from entering the US.
  • Nairametrics reported that the US subsequently added six more countries to its travel ban list. They were Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. The extra ban meant citizens were allowed to visit but were banned from settling permanently in the United States.
  • US government gave conditions to get it to review Nigeria’s status on the ban list, including getting Nigeria to improve on its data intelligence such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United States and meet information-sharing systems.
  • In August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that it will take enormous resources to reverse the ban on immigrant visas for Nigerians by the United States Government. He also noted that the country was making some progress in that regard.

Biden’s reversal of Trump’s policies is part of an aggressive push to roll back some of his predecessor’s strict and controversial immigration policies which have been condemned by world leaders and civil groups in the past.

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Business

Lafarge moves to divest 35% shareholding in CBI Ghana

Lafarge Africa Plc has resolved to sell off its 35% shareholding in Continental Blue Investment Ghana Limited.

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Lafarge Africa provides grant for startups, Lafarge Africa’s latest earnings report reveals 8.5% decline in gross profit , Lafarge Africa gets new CFO one month after resignation of former finance director, Lafarge Plc reveals why it invited Italian man with Coronavirus to Nigeria, Lafarage Africa group Plc posts a revenue of N213 billion in 2019, profit up N17 billion, Lafarge moves to sell 35% shareholding in Continental Blue Investment Ghana Limited

The Board of Lafarge Africa Plc has resolved to sell off its 35% shareholding in Continental Blue Investment Ghana Limited, in order to cut down on costs impacting the Group’s profit.

This disclosure was made in a notification tagged- “Notice of Divestment in Continental Blue Investment Ghana Limited”, which was issued by the Company Secretary, Mrs. Adewunmi Alode.

According to the statement, the Board of Directors of the Group made the decision to divest its 35% shareholding in Continental Blue Investment Ghana Limited (“CBI Ghana”), in line with the resolutions made at the emergency board meeting which held yesterday 20th, January 2020.

This move was made to set off the cement manufacturer on the path of sustainable growth and profitability, as Lafarge’s investment in CBI Ghana has depleted significantly over the years.

What you should know

  • This is not the first time the company has had to sell off an unproductive investment in an effort to cut down on deadweight cost, as key players in the Cement industry like BUA and Dangote Cement continue to show strength and resilience through their effective cost minimization strategy which worked well in 2020.
  • Recall that in August 2019, Lafarge Africa sold off all its stakes in Lafarge South Africa Holdings (LSAH). This move helped the company to cut down costs coming from its South African subsidiary, which had been making billions of naira worth of losses for years.

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