UBA Foundation Launches Read Africa In Liberia

In pursuance of its mission to uplift the lives of the communities in which the United bank for Africa (Plc) operates, UBA Foundation’s initiative, Read Africa is visiting schools in African countries to encourage young children embrace the culture of reading.

Read Africa is an initiative of UBA Foundation geared at rekindling the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths. Conceived and introduced in 2011, by the Foundation, the project involves the provision of recommended Literature for junior and senior secondary school students across the African continent.


This year, the foundation has selected the book The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma as one of the books that will be distributed to children on the continent. The Fisherman is a tale of four brothers growing up in the 90’s in Akure, Nigeria and the secret that bound them together.

Acting CEO, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta visited the C. William Brumskine elementary school in Monrovia to introduce The Fishermen to a delightful group of young students with hopes and aspirations for the future.  As she  read passages ofThe Fishermen to the children, she told them: “We at UBA Foundation are eager to better the lives of people across the continent. I am here to tell you a bit about the importance of reading and how it can change your lives dramatically. Reading will encourage you to dream; it will broaden your knowledge, your vocabulary. You can read yourselves into very successful careers in the future’ she said.

United Bank for Africa (UBA)Plc, Africa’s global bank, is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. UBA realises that there is a need for a social contract between the bank, the communities in which it operates, and its people. To this end, in 2006, United Bank for Africa became the first bank in Nigeria to institute a foundation, the UBA Foundation. As the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic betterment of communities across the African continent focusing on development in the areas of Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects.

Union Bank Storms Rivers State, Unveils Upgraded Branches, Elite Lounge

Union Bank has once again expressed its commitment to providing simpler, smarter banking services to its teeming customers with the unveiling of 3 more upgraded branches across Rivers State.

The unveiling ceremonies of the branches located in Bori, Kingsway Road and Aba Road areas of the State were part of a two-day line up of activities which also included a networking and empowerment event for young professionals and entrepreneurs as well as a gala event to host customers in celebration of the bank’s 100th year anniversary.

Speaking at the anniversary gala event to customers, stakeholders and government dignitaries which included the Chief of Staff to Government House, Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke who represented the Governor of Rivers State, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa said, “We are very proud of our 100-year-old heritage as this is not a feat easily achieved. We are however also looking forward and preparing for the next 100 years.”

“At Union Bank, we are very passionate about our customers and we are committed to ensuring they have access to the best banking service possible. This has prompted us to equip our branches with state-of-the-art infrastructure. Our mobile and internet banking applications are also one of the best in the country as we strive to ensure our customers experience service excellence across the country,” he concluded.

Also speaking during the launch of the upgraded branches, Joe Mbulu, Transformation Director, Union Bank explained that the overhauling of these branches was as a result of the bank’s firm commitment to ensuring its customers have access to the best and most effective banking solutions. According to him: “We are providing the simpler and smarter way to bank through these improvements. It isn’t just a tagline for us, it is a promise – one which we will continue to keep.”

The Bank also launched an Elite Lounge at the Kingsway Road branch in Port Harcourt. The Elite Lounge will provide value added banking benefits and a range of personalized banking services to Elite Banking customers of the bank. Elite Banking customers also enjoy other benefits of the banking segment which includes having a dedicated Elite Associate/Relationship Manager dedicated to them, access to exclusive Elite Lounges as well as Priority Pass cards which grant customers access to 850 airport VIP lounges around the world.

Union Bank continues to leverage on its 100 year old heritage and wealth of experience to deliver simpler and smarter banking services to its esteemed customers.

Loan Scandal: CBN Browbeats Banks As Etisalat Proposes Paying Only 10% Of Bad Loans

The crisis confronting debt-ridden Etisalat, one of Nigeria’s biggest telecom companies, took a disturbing turn yesterday, with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) urging a consortium of banks to which Etisalat is indebted to the tune of over $1.2 billion to stop putting pressure on the telecom company.

Two banking sources, including one present at yesterday’s meeting between CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and representatives from five bank lenders, said bankers were surprised at what struck them as the level of connivance between Etisalat and the highest officials at Nigeria’s regulatory bank. One of the bankers accused the CBN of demanding that they keep silent instead of telling their side of the story.

Leaders of First Bank, FCMB, Zenith Bank, Access Bank and others have been jittery ever since Dubai-based Mubadala Development Company of the United Arab Emirates, the company’s largest shareholder, pulled out 70% of their shareholding structure as attempts to restructure the huge loan failed.

One Nigerian bank source said Etisalat made a bizarre proposal to be allowed to pay a mere 10% of the subsisting loan and be forgiven the rest.

The banking sources said they countered with a plan in which Etisalat would convert its unserviced loan to equity so that more investment could be brought in to solidify the telecom firm’s capital base. Our sources said Etisalat resisted the creditor-banks’ proposal.

SaharaReporters learned that the bankers who met with the CBN Governor proposed that criminal investigations be conducted to determine how Etisalat might have diverted loans to other uses not related to the business for which the huge loan was obtained. The bankers accused Mubadala Development Company of the United Arab Emirates of walking away from their obligations, adding that the company had pulled off a similar maneuver in Tanzania and India.

The bankers insisted that the Dubai-based firm acted in a suspicious manner and might have capitalized on Nigeria’s weak financial governance structure.

They also accused the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) of staying aloof until the situation degenerated.

Etisalat has more than 20 million local subscribers to in its network in Nigeria. To its credit, the company provides some of the better networks and data services in Nigeria.

A major analyst in Nigeria’s telecom sector said Etisalat was making excellent margins of profit until 2015 when its financial system began to operate under the radar, a possible indication that the firm wished to avoid paying huge debts to a consortium of Nigerian banks.

In addition to the banks, Etisalat also reportedly owes significant sums to several vendors and suppliers. The company’s services remain in place despite the recent financial blowout with its lenders.

In a press statement issued earlier today, Etisalat’s Vice President, Ibrahim Dikko described calls for anti-corruption agencies to look into the telecom firm’s books as unnecessary, insisting that the company had nothing to hide.

Mr. Dikko stated that, contrary to media reports, the outstanding amount the company owes to the consortium of banks was $557million. He blamed Etisalat’s current financial condition on the economic recession that hit Nigeria
in 2015 which led to a spiraling of the value of the naira. He said the economic downturn made it difficult for the company to service its dollar-denominated loans.

Courtesy: SaharaReporters.

Etisalat Nigeria Explains Why It Couldn’t Pay Debt Owed Access Bank, Others

The management of Etisalat Nigeria has blamed its inability to offset its $1.2b loan to the economic downturn witnessed in the country in 2015 and the sharp devaluations of the Naira.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Etisalat Nigeria said the sharp devaluations of the Naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the value of the loan.

“The economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan value, thus prompting Etisalat to request a loan restructuring from the
consortium of banks,” the company stated.

Moreover, the company said it had paid almost half of the $1.2b loan before discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring hit the rocks.

The company also disclosed that it was not being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as widely reported in the media.

It described the reports as patently false and most unfortunate.

Read the full statement below:

The attention of Etisalat Nigeria has been drawn to media reports that the management of Etisalat Nigeria is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following a petition to “the Federal Government asking that Etisalat be investigated” on how the funds from the syndicated loans were utilized.

Etisalat wishes to categorically affirm for the avoidance of doubt that the reports are patently false and most unfortunate considering the damage such misleading information can have not only on our business, but indeed on the telecommunications industry and the country as a whole. A simple interrogation of the rigorous process for securing a syndicated loan from a consortium of reputable banks would have exposed the truth to the original writer of this story and other media channels who have subsequently re-circulated the falsehood without interrogation or verification.

Concerned parties have access to our books and do not require an investigation into how the loan sum was utilized. All of the infrastructure investment and services for which the loan was secured, were paid through our banks and these are verifiable.

It is indeed crucial for the media to correctly inform the general public by providing the needful macro-economic context around which the challenges we encountered with meeting up with the loan obligation
occurred.

It would be recalled that the $1.2bn loan, a medium-term seven-year facility, was obtained by Etisalat Nigeria for the purpose of expanding its network and improving the quality of service on its network.

The economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan value, thus prompting Etisalat to request a loan restructuring from the consortium of banks.

Contrary to the widely reported misrepresentations about Etisalat Nigeria’s debt obligation to the consortium of 13 banks, it has become pertinent to set the records straight. Prior to this time, Etisalat had in fact consistently and conscientiously met up with its payment obligations.

As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to US Dollars. This in essence means almost half of the original loan of $1.2bn, has been repaid.

Etisalat continued to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced.

We hereby appeal to our media partners to continue to uphold the ethics of the profession by exercising some restraint particularly in the publication of such misleading and damaging information. We have been accessible and remain available to the media to clarify or verify information when required.

Access Bank, Others Insist Etisalat Must Repay Loans

Contrary to reports in a section of the media, the banks being owed $1.2 billion by Etisalat Nigeria are yet to take over the telecommunication company from the investor, Etisalat UAE.

The consortium of banks led by Access Bank says it is interested only in the repayment of the loans since depositors are already asking for their money.
Other banks in the consortium are GTB, UBA, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank among others.

According to the consortium, there was no share transfer to the banks, insisting that Etisalat has the money but planning run out of Nigeria with it.

It was further gathered from a member of the consortium that the announcement by Etisalat was a ploy to whip up sentiment against the banks so as not to repay the loans.

The source says “It is all lies that we have taken over the telecom firm. Etisalat has been leaking our discussions to the media to discredit us. All we wanted is our money and we are not interested in the collapse or takeover of the firm.

“We have given them concession on the loan in addition to options like injection of more capital, equity restructuring but they don’t want to do that. Etisalat was insisting that it has suffered devaluation.
“They sold towers and frittered away the money. They can’t say that this is exactly what they used the money for.”

It will be recalled that Etisalat Nigeria had in 2013 secured a N541 billion facility from a consortium of 13 banks led by Access Bank to refinance an existing commercial medium term debt of $650 million and continue its network rollout across the country.

Meanwhile, talks about the restructuring of the loans have been ongoing but appear to have collapsed.

But, in a statement on Tuesday, Etisalat Nigeria, announced a share restructuring which will see the banks take over control of the telecom firm.

The statement signed by Ibrahim Dikko, Vice-President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs of Etisalat, noted that the negotiations were considering a number of possible options including bringing in new equity partners or going into a merger with other industry players.

“Discussions are ongoing regarding other issues such as the trading name during the transition phase,” Dikko said.
According to investigations, Nigeria is not the first country where Etisalat would try to play smart.

Etisalat had refused to repay loans in other countries such as Tanzania and India.

The United Arab Emirates telecom operator, Etisalat, invested in Zantel in Tanzania with 85 percent stake in Zanzibar Telecom limited (Zantel) and in India 45 per cent stake in Etisalat DB, a joint venture between Indian player DB Group and Etisalat of UAE.

It is on records that Etisalat UAE sold the stakes in both countries making substantial gains and leaving the local stakeholders in debt.

EFCC Set To Probe Etisalat’s $1.2bn Loan Crisis

Strong indications emerged on Wednesday that a consortium of 13 banks, involved in Etisalat Nigeria’s 1.2 billion dollars loan is seeking the Federal Government’s intervention to investigate the management.

A management source close to the banks told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos that the banks want the government, through the EFCC, to wade into the matter, by investigating what the company did with the loan.

The source alleged that the loans were siphoned and needed to be investigated by the EFCC, noting, there was no proof of what the company did with the loan.

He said that the affected banks had rolled out a lot of viable options to Etisalat for the loan to be restructured, but was rejected by the company.

The source said that the banks were not into telecommunications and had no intention of running Etisalat, stating that “All we want is to recover the loans; we cannot write off the loans as being demanded by Etisalat, because the company is viable.”

The source said that Etisalat wanted the banks to write off the loan as non-performing, which was rejected because the company was doing well.
According to the source, the company wants injection of new capital, and this has been suggested to the majority shareholder.

The source said the government should investigate the matter with all seriousness, to dig out the truth.

NAN reports that UAE’s Etisalat on June 20 said that it had been instructed to transfer its 45 per cent stake in Etisalat Nigeria to a loan trustee.

Etisalat said it had been notified to transfer its stake by June 23. It said the stake had a carrying value of zero on its books.

In the last three months, Etisalat Nigeria had been in talks with the consortium of banks, to restructure a $1.2 billion loan, after missing repayments.

The loan is a seven-year facility, agreed with 13 banks in 2013, to refinance a 650 million dollar-loan, and fund expansion of the telecommunications network.

Although the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), stepped into the fray to prevent a takeover by the banks, those discussions failed to produce an agreement on restructuring the debt.

UBA Emerges Financial Brand Of The Decade

Pan African banking and financial services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has added yet another laurel to its cap as it emerged the Financial Brand of the Decade at the Marketing Edge Awards which was held over the weekend.

The award in recognition of UBA’s innovative and pacesetting role, is a product of painstaking review and assessment of the iconic contributions of the brand to the growth, development and continuing evolution of the Nigerian banking industry. It also recognises UBA’s commitment to the enthronement of global best practices in the Nigerian banking sector.

The awards session was dedicated to outstanding brands (both corporate and product) and to personalities in the integrated marketing communication industry aimed at promoting the brand idea, in line with the company’s vision. The award also celebrated the career exploits and achievements of brands, agencies and nominees of which UBA emerged the big winner.

Mr. Toruka Osandunkwu, UBA’s Head, Brand Management, who received the award over the weekend in Lagos, expressed his delight and commended the organizers for the recognition given to UBA. He explained that UBA’s dedication to innovation and hardwork towards satisfying customers’ needs, earned the bank the award of Financial Brand of the Decade. He emphasized the bank’s endless commitment to excellent service in line with its renewed focus to put the customer first.

He said, “We have worked very hard to make this brand what it is today, and we are indeed grateful for the recognition of our various efforts, which have resulted in UBA coming up with innovations that are changing the face of banking on the African continent’.

Mr. John Ajayi, the CEO, Marketing Edge Publications Limited, organizers of the awards, said UBA’s impactful strides in the face of daunting challenges, especially its pathfinder role and market leadership for the past 70 years has earned the bank the award of Financial Brand of the decade.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, with presence in 19 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank provides services to over14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.

UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.

Access Bank, Others Take Over Ownership Of Etisalat Nigeria

A consortium of banks, led by Access Bank PLC and other Nigerian and foreign banks, has taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, effective June 15.

The take-over followed the collapse of the effort by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, promoted by-one time Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan in the protracted $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt impasse.

However, EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

GTBank Launches GTPatriot, A Subsidized Package For Nigeria’s Military And Paramilitary Personnel

Foremost financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, has launched GTPATRIOT, a unique Salary Account Package which offers Nigeria’s servicemen and servicewomen subsidized banking products and dedicated value added services. The GTPatriot Account allows serving members of the Military and Paramilitary institutions to open accounts with zero minimum balance whilst offering reduced Current Account maintenance fees and access to loans at reduced interest rates, amongst other value added services.

GTBank has been at the forefront of providing innovative account packages designed for the unique needs of various segments of the society. Among these account packages are the GTCrea8 e-Savers account which offers young people, especially undergraduates, benefits beyond banking, such as scholarships and career master classes, and the GTBank Seniors Account which offers senior citizens aged 65 years and above free banking services. With the introduction of the GTPatriot Account, the bank will expand and deepen its relationship with another core segment of the society in line with its goal of enriching the lives of all customers and the communities in which it operates.

Commenting on the launch of the GTPatriot Account, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc said, “As an institution that deeply believes in service, we are excited to introduce this premium account that recognizes, applauds and appreciates the invaluable service that members of military and paramilitary institutions offer to the nation. The GTPatriot Account Package goes beyond providing best in-class banking products to servicemen and women, it includes a wide range of value added benefits that guarantees a superior banking experience and genuinely enriches their lives.”

He further stated that “We will continue to create innovative and specially targeted products and services in order to ensure long-term value adding relationships with several segments of our customers and the communities in which we operate.”

Guaranty Trust Bank plc has always been at the forefront of industry innovations within the Nigerian financial services sector and plays a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service, quality and innovation.

Nigeria Unveils Guidelines and Conditions Of Certification For Yam Export

The Coordinating Director of Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Services (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe has outlined guidelines farmers need to meet to be able to export yams.

Dr. Isegbe said that the certification process would range from the sizes, species, weight and free from all forms of infections.

According to him, “We do the certification and we do what is called backward integration to let the farmers know that if your commodity is intended for export to a particular country, this is their requirements.”

He said further: “The yam should be of uniform size, it should not have a growth on the head, it will be cut and waxed with candle to prevent infection, the yam should not have any nematode infestation…It should be of uniform specie, put in the carton in a particular way, it should be properly labelled and weighed, and if it is going to a particular country, the import condition for that yam will be stated, if it is going to be fumigated, the chemical for fumigation will be stated, so we will comply with the request of the importing country to ensure that those things are put in place before exporting.”

He said one of the conditions for the certification process would include the inspection of farms, as the agency wants to be able to trace each tuber of yam to the farm.

“We will be able to trace that this tuber in a particular consignment came from a particular farm, if it has any issue in the importing country and they informed us, we will be able to trace the yam to the farmer and the farmer”

Concerning educating and enlightening farmers and intending exporters, Dr, Isegbe said the Agency was educating farmers and exporters on what they are supposed to do, so that they don’t bring the yam at the point of export and it will be rejected.

He said the Agency had jingles to tell farmers where the locations of their offices are for enquiries.

Senegal Seeks Improved Trade Ties With Nigeria

The Senegalese Government has called for improved trade and investment ties with Nigeria to boost intra Africa trade.This is according to Mr Mamadou Lamine, Director, Investment Promotion and Major Projects (APIX), Senegal.

Lamine spoke on the sideline of the ECOWAS Investment Climate Scorecard Round Table that seeks to review the barriers militating against cross-border trade in member countries.

The two-day event tagged: Improved Business and Investment Climate in West Africa is a 7.7 million Euro project funded by the European Union while the World Bank Group provided the technical assistance.

Lamine said there was need for strong inter-connectivity between Nigeria and Senegal to reach new markets and expand the present bilateral trade between both nations for mutual economic gains.

“There is already a strong foundation of trade relations between Nigeria and Senegal and an even stronger rationale to expand upon it.”

“Nigeria is a big market and Senegal is one of the doors through which Nigeria can use to go to North of Africa.”

“We seek to bridge the gap by facilitating dialogue, business dealings and knowledge transfer between both countries,” he said.

He said that both countries could explore opportunities in agriculture, fabrics, financial services, machinery and oil and gas.

“We have just discovered natural gas and would stand to benefit from Nigeria’s knowledge in the processing of natural gas,” Lamine said.

The director also called for the revival of direct flight from Lagos to Dakar to ease movement and commercial activities between both countries.

He stressed that strong economic ties would increase investment inflows, drive growth, reduce poverty and create jobs for citizens of both nations.

Union Bank launches ‘UnionAccelerate’, A Zero-Cost, High Interest Savings Account For medium-sized businesses

Union Bank has announced the launch of UnionAccelerate, a high-interest savings account with zero bank charges for medium-sized businesses.

UnionAccelerate is a full-featured innovative banking solution that helps manage the challenges of high overhead costs and restrictive bank deductions experienced by businesses across the country.

Speaking about the product, Kunle Sonola, Union Bank’s Executive Director, Commercial Banking, explained its benefits while reiterating the Bank’s strategic approach of creating innovative banking services with a focus on products that truly meet the needs of customers.

“Offering zero account maintenance fee, unlimited withdrawal on all account variants, and one of the highest interest rates compared to any competing product, UnionAccelerate provides an important opportunity for our medium-sized business customers to leverage on and grow their enterprise with adequate support from us” Sonola said. “All they need to do is call their Union Bank Relationship Manager or walk into any of our branches nationwide to sign up for the account – it’s that easy,” he added.

UnionAccelerate which focuses on new and existing medium-sized businesses offers several features including:

  • Free initial cheque books
  • Zero Account Maintenance Fee
  • Attractive and competitive interest rate
  • Unlimited withdrawal on all account variants
  • Pay in and issue all clearing instruments i.e. cheques, dividend warrants etc.
  • No extra charges for all Union Bank services: on-line/ real time banking, e-banking (both Internet banking & banking via ATMs)
  • Can be used as a salary/payroll account. Zero charges will apply on all salary payments initiated via the Union Bank e-payment platform – UnionOne.
  • Participation in annual Business Seminars and Business Development Trainings with Certificates of participation awarded

The launch of UnionAccelerate underscores Union Bank’s commitment to providing simpler and smarter banking to customers.

 

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