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Heritage Bank Explores Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market

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Heritage Bank Dukia Gold NCIS Summit

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A deal has been struck between Heritage Bank and Dukia Gold to facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with the firm.

Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, while speaking recently at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit in Abuja, said the gold market in Nigeria worth £4 billion with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.

He said based on this, the Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider decided delve into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

Mr Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favourably, but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to additional value to the small holder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at international market price.

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He further stated that a metric tonne of Gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

“Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market,” he said.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the bank will definitely earn a lot of income,” he added.

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The bank chief also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector, but may be studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, on the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Mr Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

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“For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happen in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme,” Mr Bello said.

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Ms Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Ms Waziri also said there is need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Banking

Piggyvest Acquires Wealth Management App, Savi.ng

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Piggyvest Acquires

By Adedapo Adesanya

Top savings startup, Piggyvest, has acquired Savi.ng, a wealth management app that allowed users to save via various features like automated savings, fixed deposits, joint savings and PAYE.

This means that all existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and will continue the good work savi.ng team has started.

Explaining the build-up to the acquisition, Piggyvest revealed that it had spent the last six months preparing – laying foundations, building partnerships needed for the next phase of our growth.

“We have spent the last 6 months preparing —The first half of 2021 has been an intense building period for the entire Piggyvest team.

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“Earlier this year, we began discussions to acquire a savings and investment company, Savi.ng and all its assets and we are more than proud to announce today that the acquisition is now completed,” it disclosed.

The company noted that 2020 was an incredible year as it saw tremendous growth even in a pandemic year as it paid N90 billion to users in the course of the year.

The company noted that so far surpassed this number already in the first half of 2021 and this necessitated the need to expand with the acquirement of the savings and investment company.

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It noted, “We will continue to provide you with the best savings and investment options that we can, and you will continue to be part of a community of 3 million people (and counting!) in the Piggyvest family.

“All existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and we’ll continue the good work the savi.ng team has started. Our vision remains the same: financial freedom for all, and with this acquisition, we are a step closer.

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“We believe in a connected ecosystem and our mission to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their finances remains ever strong.

“Our parent company, Piggytech Global Limited, continues to grow with a suite of consumer-focused finance products. We will continue to announce them as the year moves along.

“This announcement is one in a long line of announcements, improvements and updates that we will have for you as we continue in 2021.”

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Banking

Fitch Affirms AfDB’s AAA Credit Rating

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AfDB Board

By Adedapo Adesanya

The global credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) credit rating at “AAA”, with a stable outlook.

Fitch said the triple-A rating was driven by the extraordinary support of the bank’s shareholders.

Fitch said it views the bank’s risk-management policies as conservative and assesses them as excellent, in line with AAA-rated peers.

“Concentration risk is low, with the bank’s five largest exposures accounting for 32 per cent of total banking portfolio at end-2020,” Fitch said.

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The Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer of the African Development Bank, Mr Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala said, “the affirmation of the bank’s triple-A ratings by Fitch, recognizes the very strong shareholder support our institution benefits from, as well as its strong capitalisation and risk management capabilities.

“The affirmation also speaks to the importance of the Bank’s public policy mandate, particularly during these very challenging times.”

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The global rating agency assessed the bank’s overall exposure to risks as ‘Low,’ balancing ‘Moderate’ credit risk with ‘Excellent’ risk management policies, ‘Low’ concentration, and ‘Very Low’ equity and market risks.”

Commenting on the Fitch rating report, the AfDB President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The African Development Bank welcomes the affirmation of the bank’s ‘AAA’ rating, with a stable outlook, despite enormous challenges posed by COVID-19.

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“The bank will continue to enhance its policy and fiscal relevance in support of regional member countries, as they contend with the global and regional repercussions of the pandemic.

“While helping African economies reposition their economies in a COVID-19 environment, we will also maintain our prudential ratios and adequate buffers.”

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Banking

15 Fidelity Bank Customers Share N39m in GAIM Promo

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15 Fidelity Bank Customers

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

No fewer than 15 Fidelity Bank customers have gone home with N39 million in the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM 4) Season 4 savings promo of the financial institutions.

Two of the 15 lucky winners received N10 million each at the 6th/final draw of the campaign held last Thursday in Lagos in the presence of representatives of the National Lottery Commission and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The two latest two-digit millionaires; Sunday Okeke of Matori Branch Lagos and Justine Nwaozor of Suleja Branch, Niger State, emerged as star prize winners of the promo.

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According to Fidelity Bank, the duo and other winners were picked through a randomised and transparent draw system observed by the lottery and federal competition officials as well as officials of the bank.

Some of them were the Divisional Head of Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc, Richard Madiebo; the Head of Savings Group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Ukpai Ibe; the Executive Director, Lagos & Southwest, Fidelity Bank Plc, Dr Ken Opara; amongst others.

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The cash prizes were in the categories of N10 million, N3 million, N2 million and N1 million. In addition, 18 consolation prizes of television sets, fridges and generators were given out during the draws.

The GAIM savings promo is one of the bank’s many initiatives aimed at rewarding new and existing customers for their consistent loyalty and patronage and promoting the culture of saving among Nigerians.

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It would be recalled that the promotion was halted in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting global lockdown.

However, the resumption of the savings promo, according to the organisers, was an opportunity to enrich the lives of its customers even in times of economic uncertainties.

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