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FirstBank Holds SMEConnect Webinar, Enlightens Entrepreneurs on Accessing Finance for Businesses

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Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited will hold its SMEConnect Webinar by 11am on Thursday, 8th July 2021 with “The ABCs of Accessing Finance for your Business” being the topic to be discussed at the event. Participants are required to register for the event via https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SU8vLK_OToec2EwZLqljZA

The event topic is designed to expose SMEs to various finance opportunities that they can access and utilise to foster the continued growth of their business, whilst optimising the sustenance of their business operations in contributing to national development.

SMEConnect webinar is one of the ways through which FirstBank delivers its capacity building pillar of its value propositions to SMEs. The Bank’s SMEConnect initiative is focused on impacting SMEs in key areas that affect their business growth and development.

The scope of the Bank’s SME services covers small/medium scale manufacturing firms, merchants (suppliers, distributors etc.), professional firms (law, consulting, audit etc.), agricultural, Churches, Mosques and NGOs whose annual debit turnover is between N5M and N500M.

Guess Speakers at the event include: Damilola Salawu – Partner/Head Technology, Innovation and Fintech, Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Patrick Ehidiame Akhidenor – Head Credit Analysis & Processing, First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Speaking on the event, Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo said “amongst many factors, access to finance, plays a critical role to the growth and sustenance of every business venture, especially the SMEs and we are delighted with the role we continue to play in connecting SMEs to finance opportunities that are essential to boosting their businesses.

With FirstBank’s over 127 years of being woven into the fabric of society, we remain at the forefront of positively impacting businesses, especially the SMEs and enjoin all business owners and individuals intending to own theirs to be part of the event’’.

Only recently, FirstBank was honoured with the Africa Bank of the Year and Innovative Banking Product of the Year Awards in recognition of its sterling performance in delivering over 127 years of development-oriented services as Africa’s foremost financial inclusion services provider.

These awards came on the heels of a hat-trick of awards the Bank bagged – the 2021 ‘’Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria’’, ‘’Most innovative Retail Banking App Nigeria’’ and ‘’Best CSR Bank Nigeria’’ – at the Global Banking and Finance awards. In addition, Brand Africa ranked FirstBank the second most admired financial services brand for the second year running.

What remains apparent in the awards is the Bank’s commitment to innovation as exemplified in FirstMobile. Easy to use, secure, fast, convenient (offering “Instant Banking, Anywhere!”), innovative and interactive, FirstMobile was designed to offer lifestyle solutions which make banking an exciting experience for FirstBank customers. The self-service mobile banking product allows customers in possession of the phone linked to the mobile number on which they receive FirstBank SMS alert messages and who possess a Naira Mastercard (debit) or a Verve debit card and have downloaded and activated the app, to transact via its secure platform on their smart devices without intervention from FirstBank. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store (for users of android devices) or the App Store (for iPhone and other iOS devices’ users) and also from FirstBank website via the URL: https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/getfirstmobile.

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CBN Orders Banks to Pay New Notes Across Counter with Immediate Effect

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks to start paying the redesigned naira notes to customers over the counter.

In a statement on Thursday, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, said the new directive was to alleviate the challenges that Nigerians are experiencing with getting access to the new notes, as well as reduce queues at the automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide.

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Dangote, Sinoma Sign Agreement On 6Mta Cement Plant in Itori, Ogun State 

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Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has signed an agreement with China Sinoma International Engineering to build a six million tons per annum cement plant in Itori, Ogun State. The agreement was signed by the Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote alongside the Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, DIL, Devakumar Edwin, while China Sinoma Engineering was represented by its Group President, Yin Zhisong, and the company’s Chairman, Liu Renyue.

Dangote speaking at the signing ceremony, said that new integrated cement plant at completion will strengthen the local production capacity of Dangote Cement, bringing its local capacity to 41.25 million tons per annum and total African capacity to 57.6 million tons per annum. He said the Itori Cement Plant will also increase Nigeria’s capacity to export cement, thereby enabling more diversification and foreign exchange inflows for the economy.

According to Dangote, the project is further expected to develop the domestic economy through creation of thousands of indirect and direct jobs and drive economic development in the Itori axis. Ancillary businesses, he stated will be drawn to the axis, who will be seeking to take advantage of the location of the cement plant to provide goods and services to staff, contractors and other stakeholders.

He added that constructing the new cement plant is in line with Dangote Group’s vision of producing locally goods that were formally imported despite the abundance of raw materials for local production of such goods.

He described Sinoma as a strategic partner who has been instrumental to the success of key projects in Dangote Group. He said, “We are comfortable working with your company. You have handled some of our key projects and I am positive that this project will be completed as scheduled.

Group President of China Sinoma Engineering, Yin Zhisong, expressed satisfaction with the commitment and determination of the Dangote Group in building cement plants across Africa. He said: “It is an honour for us to build another cement plant for Dangote Group. We are proud and happy to be on this journey with the company again.

When operational, the plant is expected to have two Lines x 6,000 TPD Clinker Production with an installed daily total capacity of 12,000 TPD of Clinker production. It is expected to be completed within 27 months with best-in-class equipment in the cement industry, sourced from Europe’s major equipment suppliers.

The plant will have its own captive power plant to generate electric power for use by cement kilns and other production processes.

Itori Cement Plant will be Dangote Cement’s fourth cement plant constructed as a green field project in Nigeria, the rest are Obajana, Ibese and Okpella Plants.

Dangote Cement is Africa’s leading cement producer with 51.6Mta production capacity across Africa with Nigeria accounting for 35.25Mta.

Obajana plant in Kogi state, Nigeria, is the largest in Africa with 16.25Mta of capacity across five lines; Ibese plant in Ogun State has four cement lines with a combined installed capacity of 12Mta; Gboko plant in Benue state has 4Mta; and  Okpella plant in Edo state has 3Mta.

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UBA Announces Bawuah As First Female CEO

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa. Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.  Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity. The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.  It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.  Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.  He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,includingSierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.  Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.  He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

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