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FG to Cut Deposits in Banks over their Refusal to Lend to Nigerians

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The federal government said that it might be forced to cut her deposits with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), otherwise commercial banks in the country over their reluctance to grant loans to agricultural, mineral resources and small and medium enterprises sectors of the economy.

President Goodluck Jonathan who expressed his government’s dismay, said that banks were not doing enough to support the real sector despite the policies and other measures provided to create an enabling environment for them to thrive over the years.

The President spoke at the opening session of the 7th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Abuja, Tuesday.

Represented by Dr. Yerima Ngama, minister of State for Finance, Jonathan, warned that unless they increase their funding to these critical sectors, government might be compelled to reduce their access to public sector deposits.

Public sector deposits in banks are currently estimated at about N2 trillion but the Central Bank of Nigeria’s  (CBN) decision to increase their Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) for public sector deposits to 50 per cent, as part of the monetary tightening mechanism, had already reduced public funds available to banks to trade with.

The apex bank has intervened through financial intermediation support initiatives such as the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), and Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL.

The President noted that the banks were getting money from the government at zero interest rate but continued to deny the productive sector the required funding support.

He added that if the banks failed to play their roles, the government might withdraw its deposits in the banks and use a substantial part of the fund to support the productive sector.

Describing the oil sector as external to the economy (because there is little it is drawing from Nigeria to create wealth), Jonathan expressed desire for the banks to jointly do more in agricultural lending, which he noted remained too low to achieve the Agricultural Transformation Agenda’s (ATA), goals of making Nigeria a net exporter of food and catalyst for job creation in the economy.

He said: “The banks have to come together and see how they can put funds together to really support the farmers. “The statistics we have coming from the Central Bank is that when you lend to farmers they pay you. I think we have First Bank’s experience where the percentage of the nonperforming agric loans to performing is less than 1.5 per cent.

“So, the poor actually pay their loans, but why are the banks always eager to go and lend to the riskier businesses than this safe agricultural businesses? “The issue is with our psyche, we think that maybe they are not high tech or maybe there is too much documentation based on a loan of N50,000 or N100,000.

But as a nation, you have to look at it as your responsibility. We owe this nation; we have to rise to that challenge and see that the banking sector should come together with a solution and no longer wait for the Central Bank to be coming with the solution.

“But if we want to believe that the banking sector is not innovative, that it is not ready to come with solutions and they are always looking for government and they are always looking for the Central Bank to do the magic, I am saying that time is running out and people are not patient,” the President warned.

Noting that the banks needed to do more in lending to the agricultural, solid minerals and real sector as a corporate imperative, the President said unless they played their roles in a manner that suggests their readiness to support the nation’s economic development objectives, the CBN may have to introduce new policy measures that would deny the banks continued access to government deposits.

Mr. Segun Aina, president of the CIBN,  had in his remarks re-assured the government of the institute’s readiness to partner government in its various initiatives aimed at deepening banking knowledge and improving delivery of top class financial services to the economy

He expressed the hope that the conference would serve as a veritable platform for players in the industry to explore, share experiences and identify strategies to be pursued in ensuring that the financial services industry effectively plays its expected roles in supporting economic development.


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Inlaks CEO, Femi Adeoti, Wins Top CEOs & Next Bulls Award

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Femi Adeoti, managing director and CEO, Inlaks, Africa’s foremost Information Technology and Infrastructure solutions provider in West Africa, has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Top CEOs & Next Bulls Awards organised by Business Day Media Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The MD/CEO whilst receiving the award dedicated it to the management and staff of Inlaks for their relentless service even during these trying times.

He also appreciated the board of the organization that drove changes within the organisation particularly in the pandemic which led to the company being recognized and the customers who have continued to support Inlaks while being ambassadors of all Inlaks’ solutions.

The CEO and Next Bulls awards, the sixth in its series, recognizes the CEOs of listed companies creating competitive shareholder value through sound strategy, disciplined execution and world class governance. In addition, it celebrates chief executives of quoted companies that have demonstrated the most impressive gains in both share price and service delivery.

Themed “Advancing Against all Odds,” this year’s award particularly recognised businesses that have been thriving in spite of the global harsh economic realities.

According to the organisers of the award, the indomitable Next Bulls are the CEOs raging forward at a time when many businesses are choosing to retreat, thus acknowledging Adeoti’s good leadership in the area of corporate governance, innovation and service delivery.

The CEOs award celebrates the CEOs of successful, privately-owned indigenous companies built by Nigerians, led by Nigerians and poised to lead their categories on the continent.

Established in 1982, Inlaks is Africa’s leading Information Technology systems integrator with presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Cameroon. As solutions provider, it offers core banking, agency banking, fraud management, cyber-security, cloud, data centre, enterprise risk management and software solutions.

Part of the criteria for selecting winners of this year’s awards held virtually on September 5, are stock price appreciation, Profit After Tax (PAT) growth, an unblemished regulatory compliance record, and positive marketplace reputation among customers in the period under review.

Winners are also selected based on significant interest shown by active and informed investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to invest in their stock should their boards ever decide to take them public.


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Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

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The novel COVID-19 pandemic has caused the African Hotel and Tourism industry to lose over $50bn in revenue.

Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

Dupe Olusola, MD, Transcorp Hotels

Amidst this, Transcorp Hotels Plc has suffered unprecedented losses and is looking to restructure the business strategy of its hotels and optimize its operations.

The management of Transcorp Hotels Plc has announced that it will be taking steps to ensure business continuity in the wake of the losses recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the hotelier is diversifying its portfolio and reducing its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives.

Mrs Dupe Olusola, managing director, Transcorp Hotels Plc, disclosed this during a Press Conference on Thursday saying “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015. The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than 5%.”

According to her “Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100% salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April. We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs. Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40%, and our reward system will be optimized.”

Mrs Olusola further disclosed that negotiations are ongoing to ensure that our colleagues who will be impacted are adequately compensated given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, amongst other payment settlements, will be activated.

Equally, all Executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut.

As one of the leading hospitality brands in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc has stated its commitment to uphold service standards and ensure that all guests continue to experience the warmth and hospitality that it is known for.


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LCCI Announces Date for Virtual Edition of ICTEL Expo

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the premier Chamber of Commerce and a leading voice in the organised private sector (OPS) in Nigeria, is set to host the 6th edition of the Information, Communication, Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo.

The tech event is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday 22ndand Wednesday 23rd September at 9am daily. To this end, interested participants are urged to register online via www.ictelexpo.com.ng

Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said: “The ICTEL EXPO is positioned to be a veritable platform for both operators and regulators to network, showcase and explore with technology with the view to repositioning the ICT sector of the economy.”

Yusuf added “that this year’s edition promises to be the best ever in the series with the theme “Exploring Opportunities in the Digital Economy” This is intended to create a platform to discuss strategies for economic diversification and business sustainability with particular focus on ICT, especially with the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There would also be virtual conferences and exhibition during the two-day event.

Yusuf also emphasized that relevant agencies and departments of Government will be exhibiting and attending to other exhibitors and participants.

He stated that the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have confirmed attendance to participate are Ministry of Communications; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amongst others.

In addition, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar GarbaDanbatta, are expected as Special Guests.

Mrs. Funke Opeke, managing director, MainOne Cable and chairman, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, is expected to deliver the Keynote Address on the first day.

While Mr. Victor Eburajolo, deputy group managing director, Kewalram Group, will be delivering the Keynote Address on the second day at the virtual Expo.

Yusuf stated that “so far, so good the excitement that the virtual Expo has generated has been phenomenal and we are indeed happy about it.”


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