Wema Bank Plc, the pioneer of Nigerias first fully digital bank ALAT, has empowered over 100 women in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector. The business advisory seminar, tagged ‘Running A Profitable Business’ brought women entrepreneurs together from the bank’s Lagos Region.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Aramide Awosanya, Regional Manager, Lagos Mainland, Wema Bank, said the initiative was taken to complement the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which aims at MSME development in the country.
It would be recalled that the CBN launched the MSME Development Fund in 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion. The Fund was established in recognition of the significant contributions of the MSME sub-sector to the economy and the existing huge financing gap.
Awosanya said Wema Bank is working with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to assist women entrepreneur to maximize the enormous financial benefits available within the Sara by Wema community
According to her, Sara by Wema is a community that gives women the capacity to participate in, wholly contribute to and fully benefit from the growth opportunities available in Wema Bank. In her words, “it is fuelled by our conviction that women across all socio-economic backgrounds deserve as many opportunities as they can get to achieve financial independence and economic growth.”
She stated that the community is open to all Nigerian women who own startup enterprises as well as those that are low-income earners and stay-at-home entrepreneurs.
Mrs Sade Odunaiya, keynote speaker at the event and Certified Business Coach with ActionCoach, addressed participants on Growing Your Own Business. In her presentation, she noted that 80% of new enterprises fail within their first 5 years of operation, while another 80% of those who survived that period also fail within the next 5 years.
On the way forward, she advised participants to ensure they master their production systems, guide against misplaced priority, collate feedback from customers and also put in place procedural manuals for all team members.
Similarly, Mrs Jimoh Amdala, Deputy Manager, Gender Business, BOI, said her management partnered with Wema Bank with a view to enlightening women about the best way to package their applications for credit facilities from Wema Bank.
Speaking on How to Fund Your Business, Amdala disclosed that the BOI has identified the basic impediments working against entrepreneurs in applications for loans. She also stated that BOI does not give loans to businesses that would not be able to repay.
Her words: We give loans at a very minimal rate but must be convinced of your viability to pay back.
However, Amdala disclosed that when women approach the BOI for loans, their documentation, most of the time, is not complete. According to her, the management of BOI is always ready to give a helping hand to any application by women because the financial institution believes that any support given to a woman connotes support to a nation.
Meanwhile, Awosanya revealed that Wema Bank will take the Sara by Wema women empowerment initiative to other parts of Nigeria for the benefit of women entrepreneurs across the country. We shall take the initiative to Abuja before theend of the year and later to other parts of the country, she said.
Senate investigates banks for not remitting taxes on deposits
The Senate on Tuesday directed its Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, to investigate alleged non-remittance of taxes on bank deposits and dividend payments.
The Witness learnt that the it also asked the committees to report back within four weeks.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra).
Ekwunife said: “It has been discovered that the Central Security & Clearing System, CSCS and banks in Nigeria do not remit withholding tax on bank deposits and dividends to state government as and when due.
“Most state governments are unable to pay salaries and meet their financial obligations as a result of poor and dwindling revenue.
“Billions of naira are being held by banks either in form of under remittance or non remittance of withholding revenue.”
CBN to banks: You must seek approval before sacking staff
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has said banks are no longer allowed to sack more than five staff without its approval.
This was part of the communiqué released by the Bankers Committee after its meeting on Friday.
The committee, in a circular signed by Director, Financial Markets Department, CBN, Angela Sere-Ejembi, emphasized that all banks should send a sample of Contract Letter issued to outsourced staff + SLA with the company being used to run outsourced staff.
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It stated, “Banks should note and be guided by the CBN circular in respect of laying off staff that is more than five. This requires apex bank’s notification and approval going forward.”
The Bankers’ Committee had said the mass sacking in banks would be reduced in the shortest time possible.
The committee noted that while it was working on how to reduce the level of job losses in the sector, there would always be reasons people would have to be sacked from their workplaces.
It explained that while the decision to sack bank workers had elicited a lot of sentiments from both the public and private sectors of the economy, the banks understood the implications of having to relieve workers of their jobs in view of the current economic situation in the country.
Ecobank Nigeria to host Regional Trade Forum 2020
Ecobank Nigeria is set to host its 2020 Regional Trade Forum in Lagos.
The Witness gathered that the forum taking place in March, will be a two-day event, providing the opportunity for exporters and importers within the African region to exhibit their products in a marketplace scenario with panel discussions by highly experienced and diversified stakeholders and leaders of thought in the industry.
Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the pan African banking group with unparalleled Africa wide Network Advantage across 33 countries catering for businesses and providing world class trade services to its customers. The Ecobank Group network has over 30 years been enhancing the financial integration of the continent. The Group provides solutions to facilitate trade in the various trade corridors and groupings across Africa
Announcing the Trade Forum in Lagos, Sunday Abah, Head Trade Finance of Ecobank Nigeria said Ecobank is using the forum to unveil its comprehensive trade solutions to its existing and prospective customers alike by sharing the various payment methods available to facilitate cross border trade throughout its network across Africa. According to him, Ecobank recognizes the role of exporters and importers in driving economies through trade.
“By creating a networking forum for importers and exporters via the trade exhibition slated for the first day of the forum, the Bank extends support to stakeholders in export and import businesses.
“Ecobank’s trade products and solutions are designed around two broad areas: Trade finance which enables customers benefit from adequate and well mitigated credit facilitation in the area of Import finance, export finance, bill discounting, trade loans, distributor finance, structured trade and commodity finance amongst others; also we do Trade Services, which gives our customers the advantage of speedy turnaround time and error free processing of Import Letters of Credit, Import collections, Customs bonds, Export collections and regional trade services amongst others,” he noted.
Ecobank’s unique intra-Africa trade solutions enable settlements of trade transactions and mitigation of payment risk; provide regional solutions and enable exporters obtain payment guarantees without the need for a letter of credit and its related costs to the importer. Ecobank works closely with clients in reviewing key factors regarding transactions processing, settlements, financing, and risk mitigation as well as credit enhancement. The bank boasts of a unique and large Pan-African platform that positions it to support trade at all levels. Its technology platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent through standardization across 33 countries, while fueling regional integration, trade and investment across borders.
The Ecobank Africa Trade Forum is expected to attract hundreds of guests and participants. Leaders from across Ecobank Group will also be attending to share their market specific trade knowledge and information.
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