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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

Airtel rolls out 4G LTE in Anambra State

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·        4G Service now live in Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, other key towns

 

Airtel Nigeria today reaffirmed its positioning as a leading mobile Internet services provider as it announced the deployment of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution Service) in Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and other major cities and towns in Anambra State.

Airtel says the switch to an upgraded 4G network in Anambra will boost trade and commerce; empower entrepreneurs, improve productivity, enhance personal effectiveness as well as enable telecoms consumers in Anambra to connect to their dreams.

Speaking during a launch event at Soprom Hotel in Onitsha, on Wednesday, 19th September, Regional Operations Director – South Region, Dapo Dosunmu, who represented the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said the 4G roll-out reaffirms Airtel’s commitment to empower more Nigerians, stimulate economic activities across all sectors as well as provide unfettered access to affordable and reliable mobile Internet services in Anambra.

“Today, we are unveiling our 4G service in Onitsha, Awka, Amawbia, Nkpor, Obosi, Ogidi, Ogbunike, Umuoji, Nsugbe, Onitsha and Nnewi. With this launch, we will power people, businesses and aid governance through technology.

“Specifically, our 4G launch in Onitsha will help boost commerce and also provide entrepreneurs a veritable platform to connect with more stakeholders,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, commended Airtel Nigeria for modernizing its network infrastructure in Anambra State.

“This event calls for celebration as Airtel’s current upgrading and modernizing of its network infrastructure across manor cities has come into Onitsha, the major commercial city in Anambra State.

“It is my sincere hope that the Board and Management of Airtel will continue to be committed to the empowerment of Nigerians in general and Ndi Anambra in particular; advancing the telecommunications’ infrastructure that stimulates accelerated economic activities across all sectors as well as provide affordable and reliable mobile network to your teeming customers.”

The event was attended by several dignitaries including Igwe Mike U.N Okonkwo Etusi, Owelle of Eziowelle; Onowu Eziowelle, Obi J. Akukwe; Dr. Charles Nwufor, Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Anambra State (Special Duties); Nze Uche Nwora, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Anambra Broadcasting Service; Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbelu, Chairman, Main Market, Osha and Desert Explorer, Chief Newton Jibunoh.

Airtel prior to the Onitsha 4G launch had unveiled its 4G LTE services in Ibadan and Abuja earlier in the year.

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BUSINESS

Forex: CBN intervenes again with $210m

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again intervened in the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market to the tune of $210 million.

According to the figures obtained from the CBN on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the Bank offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million. Customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.

Confirming the figures, the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor reiterated the Bank’s commitment to continue to intervene in the country’s interbank foreign exchange market. Mr. Okorafor assured that the apex Bank will continue to ensure liquidity in the market and sustain the stability in the market.

It will be recalled that on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, the Bank injected the total sum of $303.91 million and CHY46.58 million into the spot and short tenored forwards of the inter-bank foreign exchange market with.

Meanwhile, the Naira, on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 exchanged at an average of N361/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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BUSINESS

FBNQuest supports cancer awareness campaign in Nigeria

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In line with its commitment to deliver impactful community focused initiatives, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, the investment banking and asset management subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc has continued to drive partnerships with reputable institutions to implement financial literacy programs, women empowerment initiatives, as well environmental and social projects as part of its Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability focus.

In furtherance of this, FBNQuest Merchant Bank joined the 2018 NSE Corporate Challenge to support the fight against cancer. The event was a one-day competitive 5-kilometer race aimed at creating awareness on early detection and fundraising for the cause. Proceeds from this year’s Corporate Challenge are planned towards the provision of free cancer treatment and screening facilities across Nigeria with the purchase of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs).

Through this sponsorship, FBNQuest Merchant Bank reaffirms its position as a socially conscious organisation. In the financial literacy space, the organisation trained over 1,800 students at secondary school level on the importance of saving and investing by leveraging platforms such as the Global Money Week and World Savings Day in support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial literacy goals.  Its activities also extend to female economic empowerment and capacity building seen in support for the Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ) annual lectures and conferences, which facilitate strategic discourse and highlight growth opportunities for women in an ever-changing economic landscape.

In support of education & skills development, the Bank recently partnered with the Teach First Nigeria (TFN) Training Institute, which recruits outstanding university graduates and young professionals of all academic disciplines to teach as full time teachers (Fellows) in underserved and low income schools. Through the program, Fellows will gain exposure to the realities of Nigeria’s education system, identify their role in building a wider movement for educational equity, and ultimately expand education and life opportunities for Nigeria’s most marginalised students.

Speaking on the organisation’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability footprint, Lolade Sasore, Head Communications and Knowledge Engagement at FBNQuest Merchant Bank said, “We have consistently supported the NSE Corporate Challenge, which is commendably in its 5th year, as it remains a strong platform committed to addressing cancer as a critical health issue.

“We have been proud to partner with them and other worthy causes over the years, and will ensure that we continue to develop and seek new partnerships that will increase our impact and contribution to society as a responsible corporate citizen. ” she added.

The NSE Corporate Challenge is an annual race which employees from organisations listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as well as the capital market community are invited to participate. The Challenge is a CSR initiative of the NSE, which is aimed at promoting health & well-being in our operating community, while offering a platform for promoting teamwork and networking among industry players.

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