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Fidelity Bank, BOI, Ford Foundation unveil lending scheme for Aba leather manufacturers

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Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender in strategic partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) has launched the Aba Finished Leather Goods Cluster Financing Programme, as part of continuous efforts to promote Made-in-Nigeria goods capable of meeting global standards for export and local consumption. N400 million in financing provided by BoI will be made available on a quarterly basis to over 300 members of the Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS). The funds will be disbursed through the Fidelity Bank while the Ford Foundation would provide technical support to the artisans.

Speaking at the formal launch of the initiative in Aba on Wednesday, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the partnership with BoI further underlines the Bank’s staunch commitment to addressing the financing challenges confronting Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. Whilst stating that the financing scheme will further boost import substitution, Okonkwo who was represented by the Bank’s Head, Corporate Bank, Obaro Odeghe, pointed out that the loans will enable them procure requisite materials and equipment for production and expansion.

Under this scheme, Obaro said the Bank will provide short-term loans with maximum obligor limits of N300,000 to N500,000 to qualified members of LEPMAAS. According to him, the partnership with BoI is in furtherance of the financial institution’s commitment towards building the next generation of international entrepreneurs in the art of leather products manufacturing in the cluster. “Our long-running support for the growth and development of MSMEs stems from the utmost recognition of their strategic importance, as critical agents of economic development and transformation in Nigeria.

“Under the scheme, we will also provide tailored capacity building support to members of LEPMAAS”, Okonkwo explained. To enhance the governance activities of the LEPMAAS Executives and support BoI’s planned monitoring of loans under the programme, Fidelity Bank donated an ultra-modern and fully equipped secretariat for LEPMAAS.

Obaro urged beneficiaries of the financing scheme to ensure that loans are repaid to drive sustainability of the financing programme. Speaking in the same vein, Managing Director of BoI, Olukayode Pitan, noted that the programme was designed to provide a tailored bundle of financial and non-financial services including capacity building to qualified members of LEPMAAS.

Pitan explained that finished leather products to which LEPMAAS is a major contributor, accounts for over 80 percent of the textile apparel and footwear component of the manufacturing sector. According to him, informal computations put yearly revenue from the cluster at over N10 billion despite the competing volumes of similar goods being imported.

“By providing low interest, non-collaterised loans, the Bank has provided flexibility for qualified members of LEPMAAS recommended by their line and zonal chairmen to access up to N300,000 towards the procurement of materials to expand and improve their production activities.

“The programme is being implemented alongside Ford Foundation and Fidelity Bank Plc. The Foundation will be providing a grant that specifically focuses on strengthening the capacities of the leaders and beneficiaries even as monitoring structures to ensure loan repayments are instituted. Fidelity Bank will provide account management services to the loan beneficiaries.”

Ford Foundation Regional Director, Innocent Chukwuma, said the partnership with BoI was part of efforts to fulfil its commitment to leather manufacturers to encourage local production and increase campaign for adoption of made-in-Aba. To this end, Chukwuma said the Foundation would be staking a grant of $150,000 in the programme to drive social impact and enhance productivity.

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BUSINESS

CBN injects another $210m into Forex Market

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In its latest round of intervention, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, injected the sum of $210 million in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.

Figures obtained from the CBN indicate that the authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market received the sum of $100 million while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segments were allotted the sum of $55 million each.

The Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor assured that the CBN would continue to sustain liquidity in the forex market. He also expressed optimism that the Naira will continue its strong run against the dollar and other major currencies around the world, considering the stability in the market and robust reserves.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on Friday, November 2, 2018, made interventions to the tune of $337.16million in the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) and CNY 56.17million in the spot and short-tenored forwards segment of the foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 exchange at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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BUSINESS

Diamond Bank denies merger, acquisition talks with Access Bank

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Diamond Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc have notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the general public that both banks are not in any merger or acquisition talks as being circulated in some media.

The banks, in separate statements to the exchange on Monday, denied the rumours that they were engaged in merger and acquisition talks.

Uzoma Uja, Diamond Bank’s Company Secretary, said it was not in discussion with any financial institution at the moment on any form of merger or acquisition.

Uja said that the attention of Diamond Bank had been drawn to the rumour in the media stating that the bank was purportedly in discussion with Access Bank to acquire the bank.

He said: “We wish to state categorically that the bank is not in discussion with any financial institution at the moment on any form of merger or acquisition.

“We trust that the above clarifies the position of the bank with regards to the rumour on the various media platforms.”

Also, Sunday Ekwuochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank, said the bank had not entered into any such discussion with Diamond Bank or any other institution.

Ekwuochi said: “As a publicly quoted company built on best practice, the bank is fully cognisant of its disclosure obligations in respect of any such corporate action and will always discharge its obligations in the most professional manner.

“Consequently, any statement regarding any such corporate action that is not issued by the bank should be disregarded.”

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Teleology finally takes over 9mobile, names new board

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Teleology Holdings Limited has finally taken over 9mobile.

This is coming 11 months after the company made it to the top five companies making a bid to take over the telecommunications company.

In a statement seen by TheCable, and signed by Mohammed Edewor, Teleology said it “is pleased to announce the constitution of a new Board of Directors for Nigeria’s multi-award-winning telecommunication company, 9mobile”.

This follows “the successful completion of the tenure of the former Board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfillment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors, Teleology Nigeria Limited”.

“We thank all out-going members of the Board for helping to shepherd 9mobile through the critical transition phase it has passed through since July 2017 and wish them the very best in their future assignments.

“For us, the composition of the new Board of Directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements.

“This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market”.

The new board of directors is constituted by:

  1. Nasiru Ado Bayero (Chairman)
  2. Asega Aliga (Non Executive Director)
  3. Adrian Wood (Non Executive Director)
  4. Mohammed Edewor (Non Executive Director)
  5. Winston Ndubueze Udeh (Non Executive Director)
  6. Abdulrahman Ado (Executive Director)
  7. Stephane Beuvelet (Acting Managing Director)

Nasiru Ado Bayero, the new chairman, appreciated the telco’s employees and subscribers, who is said should be prepared for best-in-class services forthwith.

“As we begin this new epochal phase, we wish to thank all the employees who built this viable business,” Ade Bayero said.

“Our debt of gratitude also goes to our subscribers even as we assure them to get ready for real best-in-class additional value for their relationship with the 9mobile brand.

“Without you, there could not have been a 9mobile business for us to invest in today. We will justify your confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value you get for using 9mobile.”

The sale process of 9mobile was initially billed to be concluded on January 16, 2018, following an approval of the extension of the deadline by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) after an initial December 2017 deadline.

Teleology eventually won the final bid, ahead of Airtel, Globacom, Smile, Helios.

The company, 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria was taken over in July 2017 following a N541 billion debt overhang.

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