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FBNQuest Sees Education as Catalyst for Economic Growth



Tech Space for Economic Growth

Across the globe, organisations have intensified efforts towards preparing their workforce for the demands of the future.

The preparation comes in the form of education (or training), that is, upskilling (technical, soft skills, mentorship) and digitisation training programs which will avail workers the ability to acquire knowledge, skills, tools and the ability to use the ever-changing technologies in their workplaces and private affairs.

As a critical component of a country’s human capital, evidence abounds as justifications for investing in educating the workforce: a leading determinant of economic growth, employment, and earnings.

The need for education in all its form cannot be overemphasised in this rapidly changing world. For instance, 2020 in retrospect, particularly between the second (Q2) and third quarter (Q3), have it that the global economy witnessed a significant amount of disruption.

From SMEs to big corporations, economic activities were at a standstill. Despite the technological advancement of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the tale was not palatable.

The world’s biggest economy, the United States, was not left out as its economy plunged by 31.4 per cent within the period. The Eurozone witnessed a 12.1 per cent decline in its real GDP growth rate by the same period, and the impacted some economies within the Euro area.

Spain’s real GDP growth rate declined by 18.5 per cent; France’s fell by 13.8 per cent, Italy saw its real GDP decline by 12.4 per cent, while Germany’s sank by 10.1 per cent.

Further, some countries including Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, slumped into recession. This spiralled into a significant amount of job loss across every sector of the economy, not leaving the western world behind.

As a bounce back, education took its role leading to inventions and innovations. The lockdown forced companies and businesses to think outside the box for a quick fix—upskilling their workforce. Consequently, companies in Nigeria began to train their workforce to adopt digital means of doing business which then led to remote working as part of the new normal.

In effect, technology came atop as one of the catalysts that individuals, firms and government turned to inject life into their businesses and other activities.

From virtual meetings to online learning, mobile technology and online support for offline sectors, governments and corporate bodies switched to the new normal. Apps like Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Join Me, Webex, Slack and Microsoft Teams to mention a few became a central platform for conferencing.

According to Sensor Tower, the global app revenue jumped to $50 billion in the first half of 2020, representing 26.1 per cent of the corresponding quarter in 2019, and partly due to COVID-19, with Google Play taking the largest chunk of the global revenue.

Although training and capacity building remains a critical pillar in recent times, the process of developing human capital through education requires creating the necessary environment in which employees can learn better, apply innovative ideas, acquire new competencies, develop skills, behaviours and attitudes.

Education can be formal, informal and non-formal with the desire to get improved performance, enhance innovation in new strategies and products, reduce employee turnover, and boost the organisational profiles. This consequently affects the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country. A country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases.

Education, through digital technology, has started to transform the lives of smallholder farmers, thus reducing post-harvest losses, by having the means to better storage and processing facilities and access to market information and subsidized farm inputs.

With the introduction of Onecourse, a software application that improves reading, writing and mathematics, the Malawian government was able to narrow the gender gap in reading and mathematics skills. Rwanda implemented a mobile app called Babyl. With this app, patients are given information about their symptoms and referral givens when it becomes unavoidable.

The Nigerian labour force demonstrates the characteristics of individuals who urgently need training such as coding and innovation to be relevant in the 21st-century workplace.

According to the recent labour force data, 30 per cent of Nigerians never attended school. Further analysis shows that 17 per cent had primary school certificates, 36 per cent had secondary school certificates, while those in possession of degree and higher certificates constituted 20 per cent of the nation’s workforce.

Even within this group, 8 per cent have Ordinary National Diploma(OND)/Nigeria Certificate In Education (NCE) certifications; 9 per cent have first degrees (BA/BSc/Bed/HND), while 1 per cent have post-graduate degrees (MSc/MA/MAdmin).

Above this is the 0.1 per cent group which have doctorate degrees. However, according to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the number of out-of-school children had dropped from 10.1 million in 2019 to 6.5 million in 2020. This shows an intentional effort by parents, governments and organisations to narrow the gap as well as tackle the prevalent challenges, albeit primary education is officially free.

Some organisations envisaged the impact of education/training as a catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth in Nigeria’s economy. To corroborate this, analysts at Businessday Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU) understudied the impact of upskilling and digital transformation in driving economic growth in Nigeria.

From the report, it was projected that the Nigerian economy will grow by $8.79 billion by 2023 and this growth will be largely driven by some sectors—ICT, agriculture, health, finance and insurance sectors— and by companies that spend more on training, research and development and technology acquisition.

In this light, FBNQuest, through its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S), continues to focus on knowledge and skills development for economic growth.

Thousands of students have been trained in financial literacy which includes ways to earn, save and grow money; hundreds of women have also been trained on financial literacy through female economic empowerment and capacity building initiatives; A Bloomberg Room was set up in Lagos Business School (LBS) to help students gain access to real-time financial data through the use of the Bloomberg Terminals; employees have volunteered to mentor  Teach For Nigeria (TFN) fellows;  to mention a few.

Research shows that several present-day jobs may disappear in the next few years, while the jobs of the future are not yet created, requiring that workforces across different sectors need new skills while for firms to remain competitive, digitalisation is the way to go.

In all, it is envisaged that the gross domestic product of many economies will increase noticeably due to the implementation of upskilling and digitisation programs across the world.


CSCS Plans Payment of N1.37 Dividend to Shareholders




By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian security depository company, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, has disclosed plans to pay N1.37 in dividends to new and existing shareholders for the 2022 financial year.

This was disclosed by the company in a notice to the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange, where it trades its securities.

The notice indicated that the proposed dividend, comprising 87 Kobo dividend and 50 Kobo in special dividend, will be paid to those who hold the stocks of the company as of the qualification date for the dividend, which was Friday, June 2.

This means only those who hold the company’s shares as of the closing session will be eligible to receive the stipulated dividend payment.

The payment will be subject to the approval of shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company scheduled for Monday, June 19, 2022.

According to the, its AGM will hold at the Civic Centre, located at Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos, by 10:00 a.m.

If the dividend payment is approved at the meeting, shareholders of the company will be credited on the same day as the annual general meeting.

The notice noted that the closure of the company’s register will be on Monday, June 5, through Friday, June 9, 2023, all days inclusive.

However, there was no bonus stipulated to be paid.

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Cryptocurrency Trading Strategies: Tips for Maximizing Profits



Cryptocurrency trading

Cryptocurrency trading has offered a new way for investors to participate in the growing realm of digital assets. Unfortunately, navigating cryptocurrency trading requires a solid understanding of trading strategies and techniques for success.

As such, besides completing a crypto trading course, crypto traders should keep tabs on various tips to maximize their profits.

Learning various crypto trading principles, risk management strategies, and proper market analysis increases the chances of success. Here are a few tips to help you maximize profits.

Start Small and Scale Up Gradually

Most people venture into crypto trading anticipating overnight success and wealth. However, this is rarely the case for all. Instead, you should start your crypto trading journey with a small investment and increase your portfolio gradually as you gain experience.

Adopting this trading approach allows you to test and familiarize yourself with various trading strategies and market dynamics before risking significantly. Starting small also allows you to manage your emotions better, and you will be less likely to succumb to panic buying or selling.

Starting small also allows you to learn from your mistakes without incurring significant losses. You can gradually increase your investments as you get comfortable with the market and your trading strategy.

Use Stop-Loss Orders and Risk Management Strategies

The crypto market is very volatile, and your investments can disappear in minutes. Therefore, effectively managing your risks is crucial to long-term success. It also preserves your capital. The stop-loss order is among the many risk-management strategies you should always use at any given time.

It will allow you to set a predetermined price at which the trade automatically closes if the market goes against your predictions, limiting potential losses. Other risk management strategies include:

  • Diversification – spreading your investments across different crypto coins and sectors is prudent. It reduces the risk on your investment portfolio and lowers the impact of poor-performing assets.
  • Set realistic targets – you should establish realistic profit targets for your trades. Doing this helps you maintain discipline, as you won’t be stuck in the same position waiting for unrealistic profits.
  • Review and adjust your strategy regularly – monitor and adjust your trading strategies as needed. Refine your choice of assets, entry/exit criteria, and risk management options.

Stay Informed

The cryptocurrency market is dynamic and widely known for rapid fluctuations. Therefore, traders should always be in the know and ready to adjust to market changes. Industry news, trends, and developments will give valuable insights to guide your trading decisions. Simple ways to stay informed include:

  • Following reputable news sources – you should subscribe to reliable crypto websites, blogs, and newsletters to stay updated on recent market developments, regulatory changes, and tech advancements.
  • Monitor social media platforms and influencers – social platforms and influencers are good news sources. However, you shouldn’t follow them blindly. Assess and weigh your options before doing anything.
  • Engage with the crypto community – you should be active in online forums, chat platforms, and social media groups with discussions revolving around cryptocurrencies.

The Bottom Line

While there’s no pre-defined strategy for maximizing cryptocurrency trading profits, adhering to some best practices increases your chances of success. Develop a trading strategy, diversity your portfolio, stay updated on market news and use take profit and stop loss orders. Never trade blindly.

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Unity Bank Grows Gross Earnings to N57bn in 2022 as Customer Deposits Rise



Unity Bank

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Despite the economic headwinds that affected many businesses in the 2022 financial year, Unity Bank Plc gave its shareholders something to savour as its performance improved in the period under review.

In the audited full-year financial statements of the company for 2022 submitted to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, it was observed that gross earnings grew by 13.1 per cent to N57 billion from N50.2 billion in 2021, as the pre-tax profit stood at N1.1 billion and the net profit at N941.4 million.

A brief analysis showed that the total comprehensive income expanded by 262.1 per cent to N1.2 billion from N744 million in the corresponding period of 2021, as the 7.5 per cent increase in the loan book to N289.4 billion from N269.3 billion resulted in the improvement in interest and similar income to N48.9 billion from N43.2 billion.

Similarly, income from fees and commissions recorded significant growth, rising by 25.7 per cent to N7.68 billion from N6.1 billion.

More so, deposits from customers saw marginal growth, increasing by 1.6 per cent to N327.4 billion from N322.2 billion, as the lender pushes for deeper penetration of its retail footprint with the rollout of products targeting different market segments.

Meanwhile, Unity Bank also released its unaudited financials for Q1, 2023, in which it sustained improved performance, posting a 21 per cent growth in profit after tax to N1.04 billion from N869.2 million. Its gross earnings for the quarter also rose by 17 per cent to N15.9 billion, in contrast to the N13.6 billion posted a year earlier.

Commenting on the financial statements, the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, noted that the bank’s focus on building back momentum continues to reflect in the key performance indicators despite economic headwinds and volatilities that characterized the operating environment in the 2022 financial year.

“There are highs and lows as we look at the gross earnings, with 13.7 per cent growth, increase in liquid assets by 7.5 per cent and deposits recording moderate growth of 1.6 per cent, while maintaining steady growth in profitability,” she stated.

“Overall, the financial statement thus threw up both strong and less optimal points which inform the outlook for our business,” she further stated.

She reassures that going into the new financial year, the bank will focus on our strategic choices and key growth drivers to push all the indices and elevate growth to double-digit territory.

“The performance posted for Q1’23 in terms of the PBT, gross earnings, and other key indicators are strong reinforcement of adequate measures being adopted and a testament of our resolve to sustain and equally improve upon the fundamental initiatives adopted to strengthen growth throughout the financial year,” Mrs Somefun stated.

She further said: “Since late 2022, the Bank has begun significant investment in technology and innovation in line with its strategic pursuits to win in the retail space with our focus on digital and lifestyle banking, dynamic product development, and accelerated onboarding.

“As part of our transformation journey, we will double down on these investments in the coming months to achieve our aspirations of (1) significantly reducing customer pain points and simplifying customer experience; (2) increasing the rate of customer acquisition; (3) expanding the frontiers of partnerships; and (4) ultimately developing new and sustainable income lines for the bank.”

According to her, the bank will further give attention to fast-paced process automation, cost and resource efficiency, targeted value chain relationships, and brand visibility as it expands the range of products and services to meet the evolving needs of its esteemed customers.

Analysts believe that the growing retail footprint driving the repositioning strategy of the bank aligns with the market expectations, which is also reflected in the increasing uptake of the bank’s offering.

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