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NCAC, Rivers extol Airtel for NAFEST 2018 sponsorship

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L-R: Deinbo MacHarry, Secretary of Port Harcourt Golf Club; Rear Admiral O. P. Fingesi (rtd), Chairman, Organizing Committee, Festac '77; Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC); Sotonye Etomi, Chairman, Port Harcourt Amateur Open and Oluranti Owoborode, Regional Marketing Manager, South Region, Airtel Nigeria during the kick-off of the Golf Competition as part of the 2018 National Festival of Arts And Culture (NAFEST) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Saturday, October 27, 2018

The National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC) and the River State Government have commended leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel for its sponsorship of the 2018 National Festival of Arts And Culture (NAFEST) hosted by Rivers.

According to Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture and Chairman, National Planning Committee of NAFEST Rivers 2018, the festival is to unite the nation and Airtel, through its support, has demonstrated its commitment to connecting people and nation building.

“Airtel has been one of the very serious network providers in Nigeria. They have been able to support us with Internet facilities at all levels of this festival. Everything is not all about money but about delivering quality and creating value. Airtel contributed to the success of this festival in Rivers and we greatly appreciate them for their support”, the DG said.

Speaking during the closing ceremony and awards, River State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, commended all States that participated in the festival as well as brands that contributed to the success of the event.

“Let me thank NCAC, all the States that participated, government parastatals, agencies and others that contributed to the successful festival hosted by River State. This is to show to the world that Rivers is a peaceful State. Rivers is a peace-loving and hospitable State. This festival is to showcase that there is unity in diversity.

“You can see people from Sokoto, Kano, Eboyi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Edo among others here in River State in celebration of the festival. That’s the beauty of our culture”, he said.

According to the telco, its sponsorship of NAFEST is to promote arts and culture in Nigeria. Few weeks ago, Airtel officially announced its 4G LTE network in Port Harcourt at a stakeholder event.

Certificate of participation and a gong was presented to the 25 States and FCT Abuja that took part in this year’s festival. Some of the States include: Abia, Enugu, Lagos, Gombe, Kastina, Ebonyi, Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Delta, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Taraba, Sokoto, Kogi, Edo, Bayelsa etc.

The 7-day event themed ‘Our Culture, Our Heritage’ was held in Port Harcourt from Monday, October 22 to Saturday, October 27, 2018.

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BUSINESS

Q1 2019: Zenith Bank sustains market dominance with improved profitability

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In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments. This resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018. The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018.

The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period.

Our risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. This was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54% (₦2.5 billion year on year reduction). Our cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4% in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10 billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management. Our prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in our cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.

The Group’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits.

The volume and value of transactions across our electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019.

Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.

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Keystone Bank, others partner Mojec to roll out prepaid meters

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L-R: Head, Personal Banking, Wema Bank Plc – Mr. Abiola Afolayan; Chairman, Mojec International Limited, Mrs Mojisola Abdul; Managing Director, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul; Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate, Keystone Bank Limited, Yemi Odusanya and Group Head, Retail & SME, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Olugbenga Akinmade at a press conference and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding ceremony between Mojec and the partner banks on the roll out of prepaid meters, held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019.

Mojec Meter Assets Management Company, a subsidiary of Mojec International Limited, has announced partnership with Keystone Bank Limited and other leading banks in Nigeria to provide retail financing for rollout of prepaid meters to its customers within the coverage area of its partner Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

This is a major step ahead of the commencement of the much-anticipated Meter Asset Providers (MAP) scheme.

The partnership announcement was made at a press conference and Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019 between Mojec and the partner banks. The partner banks include Keystone Bank, Unity Bank, Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank and First Option Micro-finance Bank.

MAP is a scheme approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through a regulation meant for the provision, supply, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by Meter Asset Providers with a view to fast-tracking a closure of the metering gap and end estimated billing in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul disclosed that the company was determined to bridge the metering gap in the power sector by ensuring provision of top-quality electricity meters to consumers in Nigeria.

“Now that MAP is here, Mojec is once again blazing the trail in the provision of high-end quality pre-paid meters to consumers, helping to reduce the financial burden estimated electricity billing is putting on electricity consumers,” Abdul said, noting that Mojec as a company has invested a lot of resources, positioning it as best suited to meet the metering needs of all consumers within the coverage of its partner DISCOs.

She further explained that Mojec would be partnering with eight DISCOs including, Ikeja Electric, Eko DISCO, Abuja DISCO, Kano DISCO, Enugu DISCO, Jos DISCO, Ibadan DISCO and Kaduna DISCO covering about 20 states of the federation.

In his remarks after the MoU signing, the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Abubakar Danlami Sule, represented by Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate shared the bank’s driving motivation for the partnership. “The importance of energy in the growth of businesses and for the livelihood of homes in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

“Energy cost is by all standards the major cost line in most homes and businesses.

“The scheme is set to eradicate the unnecessary prevalence of estimated billing which deprived the national economy of funds which otherwise could be deployed into other productive use.

“We are therefore excited to be part of this initiative to bring electricity to homes and businesses at the most prudent cost, putting households and business in control of their expenditure pattern.” He concluded.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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CBN boosts Forex market with another $210 million

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The interbank segment of the Foreign Exchange Market has received a boost of $210 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following sales concluded on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

According to figures obtained from the Bank, authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market were offered the sum of $100million. Similarly, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million, while customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the transactions and disclosed that the effort of the Bank had helped to reduce exchange rate pressures across all segments of the market. According to him, the stability of the exchange rate underscored the level of confidence investors and the public had in the Naira.

It will be recalled that the Bank, at its last intervention on Friday, April 5, 2019, injected the sum of $247.8 million and CNY34.8 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment.

Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, exchanged at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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