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AfDB gives $50m to Fidelity bank for SMEs

By News Desk,

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $50 million line of credit to Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank Plc to support small and medium sized.

The money is also meant to support women-owned enterprises in selected transformative sectors, including close to a hundred SMEs in manufacturing, health and education.

Approved by the Bank’s Board on 10 October 2018, the facility is fully dedicated to financing micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), with a minimum of 30 percent going to women-owned enterprises.

The loan will enhance Fidelity Bank’s liquidity and help meet the demand for medium-term funding to players in the target sectors, contributing to improved quality of lives, job and wealth creation and tax-revenue generation.

The facility complements the Government of Nigeria’s long-term development strategy, as espoused in its Vision 20:2020 agenda.

Aligned with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERPG), the funding will ultimately boost enterprise competitiveness and expand Nigeria’s economic base.

The ERPG seeks to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth, catalyse macroeconomic stability, foster diversification of the economy, and enhance social inclusion as well as governance.

According to AfDB, SMEs account for 30 per cent of Fidelity Bank’s loan portfolio.

The selection of the tier 2 Nigerian bank for this seven-year credit facility (with a grace period of two years) is based on its strong niche presence in the SME and mid-sized corporate space.

It is also in recognition of the bank’s credit management and strong track record with the African Development Bank. The Nigerian lender has previously received US$18 million and US$75 million lines of credit from the development finance institution in 2001 and 2013, respectively.

“Fidelity Bank is a niche player, focused on the SME space and this US$50 million credit line will contribute to strengthening its presence in its key market segments,” said Ebrima Faal, Senior Director, Nigeria Country Office at the African Development Bank.

“The Nigerian financial institution also continues to meet its ongoing credit obligations under the terms of previous support received from the African Development Bank.”

The line of credit to the Nigerian financial institution is consistent with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013–2022). It also aligns with two of its High 5 priorities – Industrialize Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Founded in 1987, Fidelity Bank Plc has grown from its marginal position into a stable banking institution.

Currently the 10th largest commercial bank in Nigeria by asset size, it was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May 2005.

It has a broad client base of about four million customers nationwide, served from a network of over 240 branches and business offices, supported by alternative service delivery channels like ATMs, mobile and electronic banking, and agency banking channels.

Following its renewed digital banking and retail drive, Fidelity Bank was ranked 4th best bank in Nigeria in the retail market segment in the KPMG Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS) in 2017.

Nestlé, Chefs promote healthier eating for children

By Health Desk,

Having a variety of fresh foods from all the essential food classes provides one with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, Nestlé Nigeria Plc said on Saturday in Lagos.

Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) Manager of Nestlé Nigeria, made the assertion at an event to mark the 2018 International Chefs Day.

The International Chefs Day is commemorated annually on Oct. 20.

The theme for 2018: “ Healthy Foods for Growing Up’’,  is intended to encourage children to think about what they will like to be when they grow up, and how healthy eating today can help them get there’’.

According to Uwadoka, the body needs a variety of the nutrients from protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals food classes to stay healthy and productive.

“We at Nestlé believe that foods and beverages can be both tasty and healthy; food plays an important role in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

“So, the World Chefs Day is an opportunity for us to gather with the chef community, those who make sure that we have food to sensitise people about the importance of healthy eating, healthy food habits, especially for children.

“It is important to know how to combine the food that we eat, how to eat healthy and to grow up healthy, then to achieve our dream of living a qualitative life because it is one thing to be alive and one thing to live well.

“Good food makes us live good life and well and for us at Nestlé, our purpose is to contribute to healthier future for individuals and our families,’’Uwadoka said.

CBN pumps $337m, Chinese Yuan into FOREX market

By Business Desk,

In another round of intervention, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday, injected over 337 million dollars in the Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market.

The CBN also intervened to the tune of 53.44 million Chinese Yuan in the Spot and Short tenured forwards of the inter-bank foreign exchange market.

The CBN spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement in Abuja said that the move was in furtherance of the bank’s commitment to ensuring adequate liquidity and stability in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.

The Bank had on Tuesday injected 210 million dollars in the Inter-Bank foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, the Naira maintained its steady rate against major currencies around the globe, exchanging for N362 to a dollar in the Bureau De Change segment of the market on Friday.

Facebook hires Britain’s former deputy PM

By Business Desk,

Facebook has hired former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to lead its global affairs and communications team, making him the most senior European politician ever in a leadership role in Silicon Valley.

The appointment comes at a time when the world’s largest social network is facing criticism from users and lawmakers following scandals about privacy and election meddling.

Clegg was the leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, the minority partner in the Conservative-led coalition that ruled Britain between 2010 and 2015.

He served as deputy prime minister to David Cameron, but was ousted after the Conservatives won a majority in 2015 in an election that saw Clegg’s party suffer a significant loss of support.

Clegg lost his own seat in Britain’s parliament in a general election last year.

Clegg, 51, succeeds Elliot Schrage and will report to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operation officer.

UBA hits gross earning of N374b

By Business Desk,

The United Bank for Africa Plc has announced its unaudited 2018 Third Quarter Financial Results with impressive growth in Gross Earnings of N374.8 billion.

The performance represents a 12.3 per cent increase when compared to N333.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

According to the bank’s report filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) UBA’s net operations improved 1.7 per cent year-on-year to N227.7 billion, when compared to N224 billion achieved in the similar period of 2017.

UBA’s operating expenses increased by 2.3 per cent to N149.1 billion, compared to N145 billion recorded in the same period of last year.

The bank posted a Profit Before Tax of N79.1 billion whilst Profit After Tax stood at N61.7 billion.

Local media reports noted that the profit performance puts the bank’s annualized return on average equity at 16 per cent and 20 per cent at pre-tax and post-tax profit level respectively.

The report added that the bank continues to maintain a very strong balance sheet, with total assets of N4.51 trillion, an impressive 10.8 per cent year-to-date rise over the N4.07 trillion total asset recorded as at December 2017.

The report stated that the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said: “We achieved a number of strategic imperatives during the quarter and committed more investments in the future of the business – building a solid foundation for a sustainable and superior return to our shareholders.”

Uzoka said that he was pleased that the Bank’s Virtual Banking Chatbot, Leo, which debuted on Facebook earlier in the year, was successfully launched on WhatsApp during the quarter.

“This new channel offering, which enables our customers to fulfill their banking transactions through simple chat commands, is another premier initiative in our suite. The early pay-offs are quite compelling – recent customer acquisitions and broader transaction volume growth are exciting leading indicators that reinforce our confidence in these novel channels,” he said.

China launches world’s largest drone

By News Desk,

The world’s largest unmanned transport drone has been successfully launched by China.

The drone which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes was tested at Baotou test site in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The large commercial drone Feihong-98 (FH-98) was developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology.

It was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed transport plane.

As China’s first fully domestically-built transport aircraft, the Shifei Y5B has a history of over 60 years since its first flight in 1957 and has been widely used.

According to Liu Meixuan, president of the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology, the FH-98 features simple take-off and landing, simple operation, advanced technology, at an affordable cost.

The FH-98 has a maximum takeoff weight of 5.25 tonnes, a maximum capacity of 1.5 tonnes and 15 cubic metres, a flight height of 4,500 metres, a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, and a maximum range of 1,200 kms, the report said.

China has been making advances in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

On October 9, state media reported that China will sell 48 of its Wing Loong II high-end reconnaissance and multi-role Chinese drones to its all-weather ally Pakistan.

Nestlé Nigeria partners Lagos Business School

By News Desk,

Nestlé Nigeria has begun a Sales Academy in collaboration with the Lagos Business School (LBS) to train and equip its employees.

This, the company said was in line with its commitment to create an environment that allows people to learn, grow and thrive in each country where it operates.

Giving details on the academy, Mr Chandana Fernando, Commercial Manager for Nestlé Nigeria said “The Sales Academy is a 3-level Accelerated Sales Development Programme aimed at providing participants the support, training, skills and resources required to excel in their careers and to win in the market.’’

He explained that the first phase is the ‘Sales College’, which addresses the fundamentals of business.

“The second is the ‘Aspiring for Sales Leadership Diploma’, which builds leadership skills. The third level is ‘Leading in Sales Strategy,’ targeted at all sales leaders,”Fernando said in a statement.

The company’s Managing Director, Mauricio Alarcon, said the Academy would deploy training sessions, instructor-led sessions, simulated problems, business cases and other action-based approaches that challenge participants to think through how the models presented work out in practice.

“The Sales Academy is expected to contribute towards transforming our Sales Managers into Business Managers with a competitive advantage in the market place.

“We chose the best business school, not only in Nigeria but also in the world to ensure that our people get the best training possible.

“We are confident that this partnership with the LBS will give each employee the opportunity to develop to the maximum of his or her potential, Alarcon said in a statement on Monday.

On the commencement of the programmes, a Professor of Strategy at the LBS, Prof. Chris Ogbechie said that two powerful brands had come together to develop this new initiative in the challenging business environment.

“This is the first time we are entering into this type of partnership with an organisation. Indeed this is a partnership of like values as Nestlé’s values of continuous excellence align with the values of the Lagos Business School.”

Lagos Business School (LBS) has been ranked among the world’s top business schools for 12 consecutive years.

It develops bespoke interventions with partners like Nestlé Nigeria to create an effective and meaningful experience for participants. The Sales Academy developed in partnership with Nestlé Nigeria is tailored to differentiate Nestlé’s sales force.

Nestlé Nigeria Plc began simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has today grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company.

It is the biggest food company in West Africa and employs around 2,400 people and has three world class factories.

Nestlé Nigeria manufactures and markets a range of high quality brands, including NESTLÉ PURE LIFE, GOLDEN MORN, MILO, MAGGI, and NESCAFÉ.

Oil and gas suppliers ready to combat adulteration of petroleum products

By News Desk,

Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) says it is ready to partner with the Federal Government in curbing circulation of adulterated petroleum products and pipelines vandalism.

Abdulahi Idris, the Deputy Chairman of NOGASA’s Board of Trustees, made the pledge during the inaugural ceremony of the association held in Abuja.

According to him, government is managing virtually all aspects of oil and gas but a lot of logistic issues are hindering its efforts at achieving the desired goal.

Idris said that collaboration between the association and the government had become necessary because the latter alone could not address all the existing challenges in the oil and gas sector.

“There was increasing population and sustained struggle to keep up with high demographic demands for vital industrial and domestic petroleum product.

“Petrol, diesel, kerosene and domestic gas became difficult to push to end users and consequently private investors and players started coming in to help tackle the challenges.

“Distribution of petroleum products, however, suffered a great deal of obstacles as a result of fragmented and individual engagement of the job.

“We have discovered that the challenges, intrigues and delay have translated our experience to take up our rightful place in the industry,” he said.

The deputy chairman stated that the association had resolved to be a responsible and forthright representative body that would partner with the government, among other objectives, discourage illicit transactions in the downstream sector.

He further stated that the association would avail itself of the benefits and various support provisions such as products, capital, insurance, banking relationship, litigation among others.

In his remarks, the President of the Association, Benneth Korie, said the strategic position of the industry as suppliers of Natural oil and gas in the overall development of economy could not be overemphasised.

Korie called on marketers patronising illegal depots to desist from doing so, saying it would jeopardise the association’s efforts in addition to the frequent damages caused by adulterated products.

Dana Air loses N100m, threatens to downsize

By Business Desk,

Dana Air on Thursday said it had lost over N100 million to the ongoing dispute between aviation unions and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

The airliner said that the dispute had led to the shutting down of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 where it was operating from.

Dana Air’s Communication Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said the airline might also be forced to downsize if the industrial action should continue for too long.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unions had for the second-day running grounded flight operations and business activities at the terminal over the alleged sacking of 24 employees by BASL for indicating interest to unionise.

The unions are: The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

Ezenwa said: “For now, we have lost over N100 million to the ongoing action.

“Losing such money in an industry where airlines are still grappling with a myriad of challenges is unacceptable and disappointing to say the least.

“We do not know how the situation will be in the coming days and we might have no other option that to downsize if the action stretches for too long,” he said.

Ezenwa also apologised to the airline’s teeming passengers who had missed their flights as a result of the ongoing dispute between the two parties.

He disclosed that the airline had temporarily moved its operations to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) due to the picketing.

“Our worst fear, however is, if the terminal will be able to process the number of passengers when there is a coincidence in flight schedule with over eight airlines having to operate from the GAT at the moment.

“We appeal to the parties involved to resolve the dispute in consideration of the passengers for whom we are all in the industry to serve.

“Without the passengers, there will not be any airline, regulator or industry and we believe they should not suffer for what they did not contribute to.

“While we respect the rights of both parties to engage each other based on extant laws, we call on all concerned to intervene and save the industry from further crises,” he said in a statement issued in Lagos.

Ezenwa noted that at the moment, MMA2 remained the terminal that was providing  passengers the best in terms of facilitation.

He thanked  Dana Air passengers for their constant support and understanding and assured them of the airline’s commitment to continue to offer the best of services at all times.

DPR licensed 147 filling stations in FCT in 2018 — Controller

By News Desk,

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said it licensed 147 filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory in 2018.

Abba Misau, the Zonal Operation Controller, disclosed this at DPR Abuja Zonal Celebration of the nation’s 2018 Independence Day, on Wednesday in Abuja.

“We have about 357 filling stations in Abuja, with our surveillance this year, we have licensed 147 filling stations and 83 out of the licensed ones are new stations.

“We also did a raid on 13 illegal filling stations in the territory; right now, five out of them have come to regularise their papers and have been fully licensed; the others are still on the process.

“We equally raided about 11 illegal gas stations  and four of them have also regularized their registration for proper licensing,’’ he said .

He attributed the achievement to the commitment of the staff members adding that the Department would continue to ensure that every operator was properly licensed for business.

He urged members of staff and the general public to report to DPR any illegal gas or filling station for proper sanction.

He said that the DPR would continue to sanction anybody who failed to follow the laid down rules for the sector and would seal any station that did not meet the minimum requirement to operate.

Commenting on the 58th Independence Anniversary, he said that the DPR marked the event to honour the doggedness of Nigerians in sustaining peace in the country.

According to him, it is also an avenue to encourage the staff members for their commitment which translates to the growth and development of the country.

“We should be proud of our country Nigeria; many countries that go through what we have gone through are no longer together.

“But in spite of all the crises we go through, we are still united. For us, it is worth celebrating,’’ he said.

In her remarks, Funmi Olorunfemi, Acting Assistant Director, Services, urged the workers and Nigerians in general to put in their best in the work they do.

She urged Nigerians to adopt good attitude and culture as practiced in developed world to help make Nigeria great.

“The President is fighting corruption seriously, we all are to join in the effort to purge our nation of corrupt practices so that we can be proud of our great nation,’’ she said

Also, Clement Katyen, a representative of PENGASSAN, DPR Branch, urged members of staff to be committed in carrying out their duty.

“Celebrating Independence should be a clarion call for us to continue to work hard for the growth and development of the country,’’ he said.