Heritage Bank Plc, has restated its commitment to the sustenance, growth and development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Divisional Head of Corporate Communications, of the bank, Mr. Fela Ibidapo, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the bank is committed to leading the way in agricultural financing in the country.
According to him, towards achieving this, the bank is currently funding various agricultural projects in several states of the country, especially in Oyo, Kaduna and Zamfara states.
He said Heritage Bank has entered into a partnership with the Oyo State Government to support the multi-billion naira Oyo State Agricultural Initiative (OYSAI), a programme designed to revive agriculture, boost agro-allied businesses and empower the youth and women across the state through the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector.
According to him, Heritage Bank is also supporting an agro-investor, Triton Aqua Africa Limited (TAAL), with a N2 billion facility in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). The facility will enable TAAL to set up a fishery production chain in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states.
Ibidapo said this support to the agro-investor became imperative after research showed that Nigerians consume about 2.7 million metric tonnes of fish yearly compared to the paltry 800,000 metric tonnes of fish that is produced locally every year.
Consequently, the country has had to rely on importation to augment the shortfall with an estimated cost implication of about $700 million yearly in foreign exchange.
He said the partnership between Heritage Bank and TAAL would help reverse the trend, adding that the firm will use the facility to expand its aquaculture businesses by setting up a nursery/hatchery for the production of fingerlings and brood stock as well as earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in the three states.
Under the arrangement, TAAL is expected to assist small-scale farms in the three states to increase their fish production by making fingerlings available to them.
In the short term, the loan is expected to help the group double its current production capacity of 25,000 metric tonnes with a projection to scale it up to 100,000 metric tonnes in five years.
Ultimately, the partnership between Heritage Bank and TAAL will help to boost local production, conserve scarce foreign exchange and enhance food security, and ultimately result in the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
Heritage Bank is also supporting thousands of smallholder farms in Kaduna and Zamfara states.
The smallholder farmers stand to benefit from the bank’s financial support for rice and soya beans production under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Ibidapo said the bank’s drive to support the agriculture sector is an act of patriotism aimed at helping the government’s desire to achieve food security and sufficiency in the country. It is also based on the conviction that agribusiness can be profitable, he said.
He noted that there are myriads of constraints facing the agriculture sector such as poor road network and electricity supply to farmlands that are mostly located in the rural areas while majority of the smallholder farms are financially excluded with no access to banking services.
He said the bank is taking steps to clear the bottlenecks for smallholder farmers who wish to gain access to banking services.
Access Bank grows Q3 earnings to N375bn
Access Bank Plc has announced top line earnings of ₦375.2 billion for the nine months ended 30 September 2018, up 3% from N365.1 billion recorded during the corresponding period in 2017.
The Bank’s Profit after Tax (PAT) increased 12% to ₦62.9 billion from ₦56.4 billion of which subsidiary contribution increased to 32%, from 15% from the corresponding period.
The asset base of the Bank remained strong and robust with growth of 11% Year to Date (YTD) in total assets to ₦4.55 trillion in September 2018 from ₦4.10 trillion in December 2017. Loans and Advances totaled ₦2.08 trillion as at September 2018 (December 2017: ₦2.06 trillion). Customer deposits increased by 10% to ₦2.48 trillion in September 2018, from ₦2.25 trillion in December 2017. Capital Adequacy of 20.3% and liquidity ratios of 44.2%, remained consistently above the regulatory minimum requirement.
Commenting on the result, Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe said, “Our capital and liquidity position remained adequately above regulatory levels, as we continued to implement a disciplined capital plan, ensuring sufficient levels of profit retention to support our growth. We remain committed to our cost containment plan, as we strive to balance operational efficiency with earnings growth in a constrained environment.”
Further analysis of the results showed Non-performing loans stood at 4.7% as at September 2018 compared to 4.8% in December 2017. Cost of risk decreased to 0.5% in 9 months to September 2018 from 0.9% in 2017 on the back of prudent risk management practices during the period.
“The Bank will remain resilient in the achievement of its strategic imperatives; maximizing our strong market position and solid capital base, while leveraging digital innovation to improve service touch points as we sharpen our retail play with emphasis on cheaper funding sources,” Wigwe said.
First Bank reiterates commitment to leverage Fintech
Nigeria’s leading Tier 1 lender, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has reiterated its commitment to leveraging Financial Technology (Fintech) to deliver innovative services.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, stated this in his address to the Fintech summit hosted by the lender in Lagos yesterday.
The event tagged, “FirstBank Fintech Summit 2.0,” was the second edition of the summit which the bank commenced two years ago.
Dr Adeduntan, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, stated that the summit was conceived to enable financial sector players provide financial products and services with greater speed, accountability and efficiency.
He stated that the event commenced last week with a two-day hackathon on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big data at the FirstBank Digital Lab with the aim of finding new ways to apply artificial intelligence to banking operations and practices.
According to him, “to remain competitive, banks must make the most of this disruptive change. At the moment, some actors are using this new technology so enthusiastically that it’s hard to keep up whilst others are still channeling too much investment in old systems.
Lagos set to host second Nigeria Beer Festival
After a successful and large participation of people at the first edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival which debuted last year in Lagos, the organiser the event has announced that Lagos will be hosting the second edition again.
The week-long event will hold on Thursday October 25th to Wednesday October 31st at the Eko Atlantic City, Bar Beach Water front Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos to give it a carnival-like atmosphere .
Speaking at a press conference to announce the event in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture explained that the festival is in line with government’s agenda to grow the tourism and economy of the state.
He stated that Lagos state is collaborating with beer brewers in the country and their counterparts across the globe to stimulate the economic and tourism potentials in the State.
He enjoined Lagosians to come out in their large numbers to enjoy the ambience of the festival, assuring that the city is safe for fun lovers because of the various infrastructure development by the state such as Light-up Lagos among others.
“Lagos is a city state and in league with great cities all over the world. We are actually moving the state to a 24 hour economy and this festival will be part of the beneficiaries. Lagos is safe for fun and business. We are joining the global tourism world to create impact on the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Akinola Oluwaleimu, General Manager of On and One Events Limited, the organisers of the festival informed that the festival is to promote culture, tourism, friendship and for beer brands to connect with their consumers.
He added that the festival, will promote responsible drinking among drinking-age (18 +) consumers at all its touch points.
According to him, the event, since it debuted last year, has seen Nigeria enrolled into the league of Beer Festivals around the world, and boost the country’s tourism opportunities.
“It will be a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond.This year’s edition will be bigger, better and “beertiful”, he said.
He revealed that the 2017 edition attracted over ten thousand beer enthusiasts and consequently the Festival has proven to become a major international tourist event in Nigeria with a potential to compete with other international beer festivals around the world.
“Nigeria Beer Festival will be a carnival week of entertainment, sales and marketing and a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country to bond and ‘beer’,” Oluwaleimu assured.
He added that the Nigeria Beer Festival will provide a fitting ambience to showcase culture and lifestyle in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria connecting with their existing and potential consumers.
Oluwaleimu maintained that the festival, which will commence 4 p.m daily is a big opportunity for major breweries to exhibit and deliver various offerings of beer brands to the teeming consumers to strengthen brand relationship with them. “The timing promises an after work relaxation environment to bond with friends and associates, he said”
He also acknowledged the support of the Lagos State government through His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who found the private driven initiative worthy enough of its endorsement and providing necessary logistics support in security, health, safety and publicity to ensure a hitch free event.
INVESTIGATION1 day ago
EXCLUSIVE: FG moves to arrest Delta Senator, James Manager, seize properties worth N5bn
NEWS2 days ago
Court fails to grant Fayose bail, case adjourned
THE NATION15 hours ago
NITDA continues nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops
INVESTIGATION22 hours ago
Insiders reveal: NHIS Chairman fighting Executive Secretary for exposing N1.5bn fraud, others
NEWS22 hours ago
Lagos pepper seller dies in police custody
NEWS2 days ago
Sekibo to Nigerians: Seek information on domestic investment opportunities
THE NATION1 day ago
FMBN inaugurates N8m houses for Nasarawa civil servants
NEWS2 days ago
Edo deputy speaker impeached