By Nathaniel Ekpo
Shareholders of one of the oldest financial institutions in Nigeria, Wema Bank Plc, have been assured of the resumption of payment of dividends to them soon.
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the lender in Lagos today, the bank commended its shareholders for their patience, promising that they (shareholders) will soon begin to smile.
Chairman of Wema Bank Plc, Mr Babatunde Kasali, while addressing the shareholders on Wednesday, explained that the bank was unable to pay dividends in the past year as a result of the debts it was servicing.
But he said the financial institution was able to heave a sigh of relief last year with payment of substantial part of the debt.
Mr Kasali, who chaired his first AGM today, thanked the shareholders for their confidence in Wema Bank, assuring them that it would never be taken for granted by the management.
“Your bank recorded significant success stories in 2017 financial year, which we are especially proud of.
“Despite the challenges we faced as a bank last year, we continue to maintain both our international and domestic Long-Term National Credit Rating at investment grade (BBB-) with a stable outlook,” the Chairman said.
He said further that the year 2017 marked a long road to recovery for the country as the economy exited recession.
According to him, despite the challenges, the year was positive for the economy and the banking industry as well with Wema Bank being able to deliver a substantial proportion of its strategic goal for last year, while undertaking bold steps to ensure that they consolidate on earlier gains.
Mr Kasali disclosed also that the bank has continued to record significant achievements in various areas especially with its new product called ALAT, Nigeria’s fully digital bank.
At the AGM today held at the Civic Centre, the shareholders had expressed their dissatisfaction with Wema Bank’s inability to pay them dividend.
They said it was frustrating that the bank has not been able to pay them dividend for many years, asking when the lender expects them to start enjoying the fruit of the labour.
However, they expressed gratitude to the board for clearing the debt owed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
They also commended the management for tapping into the agricultural sector, saying it would help boost the economy of Nigeria by create employment opportunities to the many youths in the country.
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