By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Farmers in 14 states of the federation will soon receive N41 billion to grow wheat on about 111,025 hectares of land as part of efforts to expand the production of the crop in the country.
The money will be disbursed to the wheat farmers by Heritage Bank Plc in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
To make the programme seamless, Heritage Bank has commenced the registration of the farmers and this is done through the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE).
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, while addressing newsmen, expressed optimism that the scheme would help reduce the nation’s food import bill by increasing wheat production, create market linkages between smallholders farmers and anchors/processors, create an ecosystem that drives value chain financing, improve access to credit by the smallholder farmers by developing credit history through the initiative and many more.
Mr Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources & Project Development, Heritage Bank, Olugbenga Awe, stated that the partnership was basically to consummate Wheat Seed Multiplication Project under the CBN’s Brown Revolution Initiative, in order to ensure due diligence on loan administration, monitoring and recovery, which would bring about increase in the domestic production of wheat and close the wide supply gap in the Nigerian agricultural space.
“What we want to achieve is to end importation of seeds and make Nigeria self-sufficient in wheat production.
“We are working with about 30 firms focusing only on seed production and also working with CBN to make sure we register all farmers. We believe working with LCFE will move Nigerian farmers from an informal approach to a structured approach”, he said.
He further explained that whilst riding on the success of the wet season, “we decided to focus on the dry season which comes naturally to our people. As a bank, we are working on two things; one is to ensure the continuous multiplication of seeds and the other is to focus on the grains.
Former Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Dr Oluwasina Olabanji commended Heritage Bank for its efforts in reducing wheat importation and saving the country from the $2 billion spent annually on the importation of wheat, calling on other banks to emulate the lender in efforts to achieving wheat sufficiency in the country.
“If this money is saved it could be used for infrastructural development. It is true that there are a lot of linkages not only on financial institutions but also in the value chain, these linkages have been moulded together with the intervention of the CBN and Heritage Bank,” he said.
He explained that the CBN and Heritage Bank’s intervention has become critical due to the high demand for wheat in Nigeria and the inability to meet that demand.
Speaking also, the Managing Director of LCFE, Mr Akinsola Akeredolu-Ale, commended the CBN and Heritage Bank for their support, which have leveraged Nigeria to be on the right track for self-sufficiency in food production.
He said the commodity exchange in partnership with Heritage Bank would provide an enabling environment for farmers, warehouse owners, commodity middlemen and commodity merchants, to be able to trade Wheat.
He noted that LCFE has created a platform that enhances liquidity in the commodity market, enhances the revenue base of the country and enables commodity traders to manage risk.
Business Post reports that Heritage Bank is throwing its weight behind this scheme as one of the participating financial institutions (PFIs) under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme IABP).
In Terms of Profitability, 2022 Will be a Big Year for Access Bank—Wigwe
By Dipo Olowookere
The chief executive of Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, has expressed optimism that the year 2022 will be big for the financial institution in terms of profitability.
He gave this assurance when he appeared a few weeks ago on CNN’s First Move with Julia Chatterley, where he spoke on the company’s aggressive expansion strategy.
“I think we’re on track. I think in terms of profitability, our different franchises are doing exceedingly well and I think 2022 perhaps is actually going to be a big, big year for the institution,” he said of the lenders’ outlook for this year.
“It’s something that we’ve been planning as part of our corporate strategic planning 2017, and the whole idea has been to support our correspondent banking business, to support our payments business and to basically ensure that there is greater trade within the continent.
“So, for us, what are we doing? We’re basically making sure that we have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in the continent,” he said.
The respected banker further said the plan is to ensure Access Bank becomes the first bank to do business with on the continent, which will, in turn, boost the “profitability [of] our different franchises.”
When asked how the bank intends to succeed in the highly-competitive South African market, Mr Wigwe said Access Bank has all that it takes to become very successful in the space, noting that its success in the United Kingdom is there for all to see.
“We’re basically going to ensure that it (Access Bank) becomes a hub for the continent as far as correspondent banking services are concerned.
“We will help support corporate; their interest in niches in that market that are yet to be served. Without revealing so much more of the strategy, there are interesting markets that have not been served that will basically cater for,” he assured.
“But apart from that, you need to see also the context of a large layer in the continent and partly serve our operators in different parts of the continent and putting that whole network together is extremely, extremely important,” he added in the interview.
Fidelity Bank Holds Second Draw of GAIM 5 Promo
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The second draw of the Fidelity Bank Get Alert in Millions Season 5 promo (GAIM 5) has produced a new set of millionaires.
The new millionaires at the recently-held draw in Victoria Island, Lagos were Ajoma Rachel, Stanley Sunday, Musbahu Kabiru, Usman Abdulkadir, John Uchechukwu, Oluwatayo Oladipupo, Esther Eloho, Sophia Sefera, Amarachi Sarah Anyacho, and Obi Chinelo.
According to the Executive Director in charge of Lagos and Southwest Directorate of Fidelity Bank, Dr Ken Okpara, the lender is “always looking for opportunities to help our customers grow” as a bank that places customers at the centre of everything.
“Two months ago, we kicked off the GAIM 5 promo to reward our customers and demonstrate our commitment to improving their lives and wellbeing.
“Today, we are excited at how happy we have made some of our most loyal customers. We remain committed to providing rewarding experiences and best-in-class services for our clients,” Dr Okpara added.
Also speaking at the event, the Divisional Head, Product Development, Osita Ede stated that, “We have earmarked the sum of N125 million for total cash rewards this season which we would be giving out in weekly, monthly and grand draws till the campaign ends in July 2022.
“We encourage our customers to save up to increase their chance of winning and those yet to open an account to do so today. At the end of the campaign season, we want to celebrate customers who make savings second nature.”
It was gathered that the second draw of GAIM 5 promo was witnessed by representatives of regulatory organisations like Ms Oyinkan Kusamotu, Senior Legal Officer, Lagos State Lotteries & Gaming Authority; Mr Tanko Mohammed, Head, Monitoring & Enforcement, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Mrs Susie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Ms Chioma Amanoh, Lagos Office, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).
Since the commencement of the fifth season of the promo in November 2021, the bank has enriched over 460 customers with various cash prizes.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with about 6 million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank is known for exceptional customer service and digital innovation.
CBN Gives DPO Group Payment Services Licence
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted a license to One Payment Limited, a subsidiary of the leading Pan-African digital payments group, DPO Group, to provide certain types of payments services to businesses across Nigeria.
This payment services licence enables the DPO Group to operate as an independent payment solutions services company in Nigeria as it does across over 20 other countries in Africa.
DPO offers merchant aggregation services to over 60,000 active merchants, including e-commerce companies, airlines and travel agents through its robust and reliable network which allows merchants to accept payments in the currency of their choice.
Working across local and international channels, DPO also offers strong protection against fraud and helps merchants manage refunds, chargebacks and more.
The company will be banking on e-commerce which has seen significant growth in Nigeria in recent years, due to high levels of internet penetration combined with being one of the largest digital economies on the continent.
Digital payments make up the large majority of payment volumes in the country, and volumes are expected to reach 7.7 billion by 2025, representing a growth of 45 per cent from 2019.
Speaking on this, Mr Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group, stated that, “Nigeria represents a key market for any business with a digital focus, as one of the most innovative African countries when it comes to fintech and e-commerce.
“This new licence is an exciting development which will allow us to offer an even smoother payment process for Nigerian businesses looking to grow and reach more customers through secure digital payments.”
DPO’s country manager in Nigeria, Mrs Chidinma Aroyewun said, “This licence provides an exciting opportunity for us at DPO. It allows us to work with tens of thousands of Nigerian businesses and help them achieve their growth goals through secure payment technology.”
DPO Group was acquired by Network International in 2021 in a landmark deal for the African payments space. It continues to operate under the same brand in existing territories and will be launching a new comprehensive payment solution, DPO Pay for businesses across Africa and other territories.
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