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Fidelity Bank Supports Contractor of $2.8bn AKK Gas Project

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$2.8bn AKK gas project

By Dipo Olowookere

The chief executive of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, has expressed the bank’s delight to be associated with the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project.

The gas project was flagged off on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, by President Muhammadu Buhari from the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with the groundbreaking ceremony held at Ajaokuta, Kogi State.

At the event, Mr Okonkwo, who was represented by the Executive Director, North, Mr Hassan Imam, lauded the initiative aimed to improve gas supply, enhance power generation and boost the productive capacity of the Nigerian industrial sector.

He pledged Fidelity Bank’s commitment to Oil Serv, the contractor of this project, saying, “As partner/banker to Oilserv, we are happy to meet all the financial obligations and other funding needs, required to successfully execute this project.”

Leveraging on its know-how and capacity, Fidelity Bank Energy Desk provides support to businesses in the oil and gas value chain.

The bank’s support for local content development, according to Fidelity Bank’s Executive Director, Corporate Bank, Mr Obaro Odeghe “underscores our support for the key infrastructure initiatives of the Federal Government, and our customer, Oilserv Limited; a market leader in the oil servicing space.”

Oilserv Limited is an indigenous Engineering Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) company providing services to power and oil & gas companies/industries and have executed several landmark pipeline and gas infrastructure projects including OB-3 Pipeline Contract, OB-OB Project and currently the AKK pipeline project.

According to the CEO of Oilserv Limited, Mr Emeka Okwuosa, the project would be delivered within the contractual terms, adding that the company has the capacity to handle such a monumental project.

“We are ready for it and what we are doing today is the official flag off which is ground breaking. We are already working and laying the lines,” he stated.

He said the company had already employed over 600 employees, stating that this will be increased to 1000 or 15000 in due course.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, in his address, commended President Buhari for his push and support to jumpstart the project which he said was critical to national development.

Mr Kyari explained that the project, when completed, will create an enabling environment for development, adding that NNPC has the capacity to deliver and create opportunities for the growth of other industries in Nigeria.

On his part, Mr Buhari said the landmark project was being developed at a critical time in Nigeria’s history, particularly now when it has become imperative to improve the country’s infrastructure asset.

The AKK Gas Pipeline Project, he said, will provide gas for generation of power, facilitate the development of new industries and revive moribund industries along transit towns in Kogi State, Abuja (FCT), Niger State, Kaduna State and Kano State.

“When operational, the cascading effect and impact of the project will be immeasurable.

“It has significant job creation potential both direct and indirect, while fostering the development and utilization of local skills and manpower, technology transfer and promotion of local manufacturing,” the President said.

The $2.8 billion gas project was designed in line with the key objectives of the federal government’s masterplan and was borne out of the need to not only boost domestic gas utilization in the country, but reduce the infrastructure deficit plaguing the oil and gas industry.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

Polaris Bank in Safe Hands, No Need to Panic—Management

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Polaris Bank Rewards Customers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Polaris Bank Limited has urged its customers and members of the public not to panic over reports that the financial institution has been sold to a new investor, Mr Auwal Gombe, in the sum of N40 billion.

It was recently reported that efforts are being made to hand over the lender to the businessman, who is said to be an ally of former military president, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the defunct Skye Bank Plc into Polaris Bank in 2018.

In a statement issued on Friday in Lagos, the bank described the report of the purported sale as not only “speculative” but done to deliberately “create panic” among its customers and the banking community.

The company said the CBN established it and injected funds for its operations, it has bounced back to profitability, with a solid balance sheet, saying there is no cause for alarm as the bank was in safe hands.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018.

“The bank has since stabilised its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability,” a part of the notice today said.

Continuing, Polaris Bank noted that, “Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders,” expressing its commitment to “ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.”

 “The board and management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders,” the statement concluded.

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Wema Bank Refutes Dud Cheque, Forgery Allegations

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Wema Bank Plc has rubbished an allegation that it issued a dud cheque in connection with a garnishee proceeding for the payment of a judgement debt on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government.

A legal practitioner, Mr George Haliday, had accused the financial institution of issuing dud cheques but in a statement issued on Wednesday, the lender explained that the cheques have only not been cleared for payment because of the subsisting appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on the garnishee proceeding which has now been decided in its favour.

According to the statement, the lawyer only ran to the Magistrate Court in Abuja to lodge a complaint about the issuance of dud cheques after he lost his case at the appellate court.

“It is very worthy of note that the judgement debt against Bayelsa State Government, which Barrister George Haliday attempted to enforce by a garnishee proceeding, thereby leading to the issuance of the cheques in question had been settled by Bayelsa State Government via a Terms of Settlement between Barrister George Haliday and the Bayelsa State Government at the Supreme Court,” a part of the statement.

Recently, there were reports that the Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, Mr Ademola Adebise, was issued an arrest warrant, but the bank dismissed this, saying its leader was not given a fair hearing in the matter.

“Wema Bank wishes to state that the warrant for the arrest of Mr Ademola Adebise is in violation of his fundamental rights to fair hearing as he was never personally served with any process to appear before the magistrate court nor was he represented in court.

“We are a law-abiding corporate citizen; if there was any court summons properly served on the Managing Director for his appearance in court, he would have done so without fail.

“But in this case, there was no such service extended to him or any court processes personally served on him to appear in court until a warrant of arrest was issued in absentia. We view the arrest warrant as being an infringement on his fundamental rights,” the statement said.

Concluding, the lender emphatically refuted and dismissed “in their entirety, the allegations of dud cheque and forgery levelled against our bank and the Managing Director. We also dismiss the inappropriate issuance of a bench warrant on our Managing Director.

“We are already engaging in legitimate actions to seek redress and bring all the perpetrators of these unprofessional conducts and heinous criminal acts against our Managing Director and the bank to book.”

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Banking

Advans Nigeria Becomes Most Innovative Microfinance Bank

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Advans MFB

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

More big feathers have been added to the colourful cap of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, cementing its leadership position in the small lending business in Nigeria.

Recently, in recognition of its customer-centric credentials and innovation in product development, service delivery and brand management, the financial institution was named the Best Microfinance Bank in Nigeria at the Financial Derivatives Awards 2022.

Also, the company emerged as the Most Innovative Microfinance Bank in Nigeria in the Global Brands Magazine and World Economic Magazine Awards 2022.

The Managing Director/CEO of Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Gaetan Debuchy, while reacting to the accolades bestowed on the firm, dedicated the awards to the working management and staff of the bank, promising that the bank would continue to break boundaries.

“We are excited to win these awards. It further validates our innovative approach to providing customer-centric, affordable and transparent financial services,” Mr Debuchy said.

Also, the Head of Marketing and Communication at Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Mr Kayode Abraham, stated that, “Over the years, we have centred our business on customer needs and feedback, which has helped us develop financial solutions from scratch to completion. We are pleased to be recognised as the most innovative and best microfinance bank in Nigeria.”

Earlier in the year, Advans Nigeria upgraded its mobile banking app ‘Adspire’ to include users’ ability to request bank statements and control their daily transaction limit. Through the app, clients can receive notifications and share by referring their friends and loved ones.

The bank recently introduced a micro-health insurance product and an education loan to facilitate financial inclusion.

The health insurance product was designed to ensure existing and prospective clients have access to high-quality and affordable health care services, while the education loan was designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners and to assist parents in paying their children’s school fees with ease.

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