Ecobank Drives Digital Strategy, Merges 74 Branches

Ecobank Nigeria limited has entered an advanced stage of its digital transformation agenda which is aimed at enabling its customers depend more on its digital platforms to do their daily banking activities, thereby reducing the need to go to branches. By this development, the bank will deliver enhanced services leveraging more on its digital channels.

The Managing Director of the Bank, Charles Kie says the move is part of the bank’s transformation agenda which is meant to create a fundamental shift of its banking activities to digital channels, as well as improve customers’ experience, while also reducing the cost of serving them. This also supports the bank’s financial inclusion strategy and the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mr. Kie says as part of this strategy, the bank has enhanced its Retail Internet Banking platform with much speed and flexibility while also strengthening the Ecobank Mobile App that enables customers do instant payments, open accounts as well as do instant transfers across 33 countries in Africa.  The Ecobank App, the first of its kind in Africa, has an innovative payment solution, theEcobank Masterpass that allows customers the convenience to pay for goods at merchant locations by simply scanning a QR code on their phones.

 He says the bank has also decided to merge some of its branches across the country. According to  Mr. Kie, “after a detailed analysis of the physical network of branches needed to serve our customers, the decision was made by the Ecobank Nigeria Board, and approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to optimize 74 out of its 479 branches. With the merger, Ecobank now boasts of 405 branches across the country supported with top of the range technology application”.

He stated that most of the staff in the affected branches will be moved to other projects. In his words “We are deploying staff and other resources from the merged branches to other ongoing projects, while also strengthening the existing branches to make them more resourceful and up to speed in their daily activities”. He reiterated that this is a well thought through decision expected to fundamentally shape Ecobank’s business for better performance.

Access Bank declares N26b Profit In First Quarter Of 2017

Access Bank Plc on Thursday reported unaudited financial results for the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2017, indicating an increase of 38% in Profit before Tax, “which rose to N31.2 billion when compared to ?22.6 billion in Q1 2016. Profit after Tax (PAT) grew by 34% to ?26.0 billion in Q1 2017 from ?19.4 billion in Q1 2016”.

 Gross earnings for the period grew by 44% to ?116.0 billion as against ?80.3 billion recorded in the corresponding period of March 2016, with interest income and non-interest income contributing 68% and 31% respectively.

 Shares in the Bank, which have gained 12.1% per cent Year to Date (YTD), rose 2.8% to N6.58 on Thursday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

 Access Bank’s Balance Sheet remained strong with a 2% growth in Total Assets as the Bank closed the quarter ended March 2017 with Total Assets of ?3.54 trillion from ?3.48 trillion in December 2016. The Group‘s capital and liquidity ratios of 21.0% and 46.3% respectively, remained in excess of the minimum regulatory requirement and would support the business adequately.

 Commenting on the Bank’s performance during the period, Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe said that 2017 marks the end of our third five-year transformation journey and in the coming months, we will focus our priorities on the delivery of our strategic objectives.”

He added: “We will continue to improve on profitability and shareholder value by maintaining our capital and liquidity positions, assiduously implementing our cost management strategy, and exploiting retail business opportunities using our digital platforms and deepening market share of the wholesale business.

Transcorp Declares 20% Growth In Revenue

For the first quarter ended March 31, 2017, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), has announced total revenue of N13.2billion representing a 20% increase when compared to the Group’s performance of N15.8billion in the corresponding period of 2016.

 According to the Group,  Gross Profit increased to N6.94billion, indicating 17 per cent growth from N5.91billion in 2016 first quarter while operating profit is N4.23billion from N3.25billion recorded in 2016 first quarter.

 Other highlight of the result includes:

* Net Finance cost: N2.81bn compared to N1.52bn in Q1 2016;

·Tax: N238mn compared to N524mn in Q1 2016;

· Profit Before Tax: N1.73bn compared to N1.72bn in Q1 2016;

· Profit After Tax: N1.49bn compared to Profit After Tax N1.21bn in Q1 2016 (24% YoY increase)

·Total Comprehensive Income: N2.1bn compared to N1.1 in Q1 2016 (92% YoY increase)

·Total Assets: N244.87bn up from N232bn as at 31 December 2016

·Shareholders Fund: N88.56bn up from N86bn as at December 2016.

   Commenting on the result, the President and Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp, Mr. Emmanuel Nnorom said “Transcorp’s resilient performance is drawn from the diversity of our various business offerings. The closure of the Abuja Airport negatively affected occupancy for our hotel business, however this was buoyed by top line Year-on-Year growth in our power business following improvements in gas supply.

“We expect to recover the lost ground brought on by the Abuja airport closure in Q2 2017. The reopening of the airport will pave the way for aggressive marketing that will improve traffic and occupancy at Transcorp Hotels. In addition we expect to see continued improvement in our power sector revenue as gas supply stabilises following the increased capacity of our plant arising from the recent commissioning of Gas Turbine 15”.

GTBank Releases Q1 2017 Unaudited Results …Reports Profit Before Tax Of ?50.39Billion

Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.

A review of the results shows positive performance across all financial indices, reaffirming the Bank’s position as one of the most profitable and well managed financial institutions in Nigeria. Gross earnings for the period grew by 39% to ?104.66billion from ?75.39billion reported in March 2016; driven primarily by growth in interest income. Profit before tax stood at ?50.39billion, representing a growth of 64% over ?30.68billion recorded in the corresponding period of March 2016. The Bank’s loan to customers dipped marginally by 2% from ?1.591trillion recorded in December 2016 to ?1.563trillion as at March 2017. Deposit from customers grew marginally by 1% from ?1.986trillion in December 2016 to ?2.012trillion in March 2017.

The Bank’s balance sheet remained strong with a 1.6% growth in Total Assets as the Bank closed the quarter ended March 2017 with Total Assets of ?3.16trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ?546.9Billion. The Bank’s non-performing loans remained low and within regulatory threshold at 3.62% (Bank: 3.27%) with adequate coverage of 231.6% (Bank: 266.6%). Capital remains strong with CAR of 20.03%. On the backdrop of this result, Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) closed at 31.55% and 5.28% respectively.

Commenting on the financial results, the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said that “Given the significant progress we made in 2016, we came into the year better equipped to navigate any further economic headwinds, and our performance in the first quarter demonstrates our ability to deliver sustainable long-term growth. We remain committed to maximizing shareholders’ value and delivering superior and sustainable return, guided by our founding values of hard work, discipline and integrity.

He further stated that “As we transform our organization into a platform for enriching lives, we are providing our customers with information and access they need to thrive. We are also leveraging our brand and networks to support small businesses through free business platforms and capacity building initiatives.

GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry and reported the best financial ratios for a Financial Institution in the industry with a return on equity (ROE) of 31.55% and a cost to income ratio of 38.75%, evidencing the efficient management of the banks’ assets. Overall, the Bank has enshrined its position as a clear leader in the industry.

In due recognition of the Bank’s leading role in Africa’s banking industry, owing to its bias for world class corporate governance standards and excellent service delivery and innovation, GTBank was  recognized in 2016 as the Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney, Most Innovative Bank in Africa by African Investor and Best Banking Group Nigeria by World Finance Magazine.

FAAC Disburses N466.93billion Allocation For March

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed the sum of N466.93bn to the three tiers of government in March 2017 from the revenue generated in February 2017.

The amount disbursed comprised of N290.16bn from the Statutory Account; N40.33bn from exchange gain; N60.89bn from Excess Petroleum Product Tax (PPT) Account; N69.21bn from Valued Added Tax (VAT) while the sum of N6.33bn was refunded to the Federal Government from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Federal government received a total of N180.51bn from the N426.88bn shared. States received a total of N116.51bn and Local governments received N87.47bn.

The sum of N3.80bn was shared among the oil producing states as 13% derivation fund and N31.47bn transferred to the Excess Petroleum Product Tax (PPT) Account.

Digital Economy To Create Over 3m Jobs, As Nigeria, Others Discuss Road Map In Geneva

It has emerged that financial services within Nigeria’s digital economy could add US$88 billion and create over 3 million new jobs over the next 10 years.

This comes as Ministers from developing countries namely Nigeria, Mexico, Kenya, Argentina, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica and Pakistan under the auspices of Friends of E-Commerce for Development (FED) resolved to put forward a policy agenda to bridge the digital divide as well as provide development solutions in the long term, during their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today.

The job figures are in line with estimates of a study carried out by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). Further studies indicate that potential gains of the digital economy will be manifest in digital accounts, payments, mobile money, health and educational services and other sectors of the economy.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah who led the Nigerian delegation to Geneva, explained that the Ministry is already developing the “Smart Nigeria Digital Economy Project” and that the objective is to solve efficiency problems and create leap-frog opportunities in the economy, improve competitiveness and foster technology development and innovation more generally.

“The Smart Nigeria Digital Economy Project is Nigeria’s response to an area of intense economic and technological activity by Nigerian youths, where there is a growing pool of talent”, he stated.

“It is a sector of the economy where the private sector already has ownership. The role of government would therefore be to ensure a sound pro-competitive regulatory environment and hardware infrastructure to foster rapid growth of this area,” Enelamah added.

The Minister also shared the fact that there are currently 150 million active mobile users in a country of 170m, of which over 60% are connected to the internet. There are some 17m Facebook users and new technology start ups and young people writing apps that solve problems and spur growth.

Lagos, the largest commercial city in Africa accommodates some of Africa’s well-known consumer tech businesses such as iRokotv, Hotels[dot]ng, Jobberman, Andela, Balogunmarket, and Truppr[dot]com.

Meanwhile, FED gathered for its first Ministerial Meeting in Geneva on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) E-Commerce week.

In a communiqué at the end of their meeting, the group said that the road map put together by member countries would form the foundation for sustainable economic development as well as pave the way for conversations at UNCTAD and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in advance of the Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Argentina later this year.

The communiqué noted that the “FEDs came together to build an inclusive and open space for discussion of e-commerce viewed from the development perspective. FEDs view e-commerce as an instrument that brings the digital, development and trade agenda together and as a tool for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

The FED is a diverse, non-negotiating, group of WTO Members and UN Member States at different levels of development, with an understanding of the impact of E-Commerce and its ability to create sustainable economic opportunities for all.

In light of Nigeria’s strong engagement in the fast developing area of digital economy of which e-commerce is a part, on 24th April, Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe was invited by the office of the UNCTAD Secretary-General to deliver the Keynote Address at the UNCTAD E-Commerce week session on E-commerce in Africa. In his address titled: “Trumping Timidity: The Importance of Audacity in the Digital Economy”, Ambassador Osakwe urged African countries to integrate digital economy strategies and action plans into domestic structural reforms for diversification, modernization and growth. “Africa needed to be offensive in this area, acting innovatively, purposefully and expeditiously” because the gains and development yields were considerable as evidenced by the Nigerian example.

Ease Of Doing Business: PEBEC Completes 31 Reforms In 60 Days

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has released a report card on the 60-Day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business which was implemented from February 21, 2017 to April 21, 2017. 

The report, which highlights 31 completed reforms across the Council’s eight priority indicators, was unveiled on Monday, April 24, 2017, at PEBEC’s monthly meeting.

A statement from the PEBEC Secretariat disclosed that the “Report Card is in keeping with PEBEC’s promise to be accountable to Nigerians for the targets set and promises made.

“Completed reforms are being closely monitored to ensure diligent implementation with minimal disruption, and pending reforms are being escalated to ensure completion in the coming weeks.”

On Starting a Business, the report highlighted the CAC’s online registration portal, document upload interface, single incorporation form, e-stamping, among other reforms which have led to a reduction in the number of days needed to incorporate a business. The completed reforms on the Entry and Exit of People indicator include Simplified Visa-on-Arrival process, Infrastructural improvements at the Abuja airport, and the new Immigration Regulation 2017. On Trading across Borders, some of the completed reforms include palletisation of imports, advanced cargo manifests, reduction in documentation requirements and scheduling of Joint Physical Examination by the Customs Service.

The National Action Plan contained initiatives and actions implemented by responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the Governments of Lagos and Kano states, as well as some private sector stakeholders.

PEBEC is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) but Monday’s meeting was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. Other Ministers at today’s meeting included Foreign Affairs Ministers Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State for Industry Trade & Investment Aisha Abubakar, and her counterpart in Budget & National Planning Zainab Ahmed. Other government dignataries at the meeting included the Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, and several heads of MDAs. The report was presented by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Trade & Investment.

The Council emphasised that with the conclusion of implementation of the Action Plan, the next phase would involve “deepening existing reforms; completing and implementing pending initiatives; engaging with the public; validating completed reforms and kicking-off medium-term reforms.”

The Council would also kick-start “sub-national reforms across Nigeria’s 36 states; trading within Nigeria; kick-off of initiatives and reforms improving business processes and regulations within Nigeria; and ease of movement of goods within and across regions in Nigeria.”

Please find the Report Card below. For inquiries, send email to info@ebes.gov.ng.

PEBEC’s Mandate:

1.       Remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria

2.       Move Nigeria 20 places upwards in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings

Priority Areas:

1.       Starting a Business

2.       Construction Permits

3.       Getting Electricity

4.       Registering Property

5.       Getting Credit

6.       Paying Taxes

7.       Trading Across Borders

8.       Entry and Exit of People

 

A.  Starting a Business

 

60-Day Target: To reduce number of days required for business registration from 10

days to 2 days

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.       Company name search on CAC portal: Enabled online search on Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) portal (www.cac.gov.ng) to avoid duplication of names and prevent selection of prohibited names

2.       Company registration no longer requires lawyers: Made it optional for SMEs to hire lawyers to prepare registration documents

3.       Single incorporation form: Introduced single incorporation form (CAC1.1) to save time and reduce costs

4.       Document Upload Interface: Introduced document upload interface on CAC website to enable e-submission of registration documents

5.       FIRS e-payment solution integrated: Integrated FIRS e-payment solution into CAC portal to enable e-stamping

6.       CAC lawyers conduct declaration of compliance:  Empowered CAC internal lawyers to certify company incorporation forms and conduct statutory declaration of compliance for a fixed fee of N500

7.       Company Registration timeline revised: Amended CAC regulation to reflect 24-hour timeline for company registration from when application form is completed and all required documents available

Reforms: PENDING

1.       CAC portal uptime reliability: Improve reliability of CAC portal to ensure over 99% uptime

B.  Dealing with Construction Permits

 

60-Day Target: To reduce number of days required to get construction permits from 42

days to 20 days in Lagos

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               E-planning platform: Operationalised electronic planning platform (www.lagosepp.com.ng) through which applications can be made and tracked, fees can be paid and architectural designs uploaded

2.               Clarity on EIA and Soil Test: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required for only construction works with potentially heavy impact on the environment. Soil Investigation Report only required for four-storey buildings and above, except in cases of construction in marshy or swampy areas.

3.               Clear timelines: Uploaded timelines for obtaining permits on Lagos State Physical Planning and Permit Authority (LASPPPA) e-planning platform

4.       Fees published online: Published breakdown of formulas and rates for fees on the LASPPPA e-planning platform to prevent arbitrariness and enhance transparency

5.       Qualification laws published online: Published all laws concerning qualification of professionals (Town planners, Engineers & Architects) involved in construction on e-planning platform

6.       Procedures and Laws published online: Published all laws and procedures concerning dealing with construction permits on e-planning platform to enhance transparency

Reforms: PENDING

1.               Regulation on Construction Permits: Issue regulation committing LASPPPA to issue construction permits in 30-day timeline

C.  Getting Electricity

 

60-Day Target: To streamline procedures and improve timelines for businesses to get

connected to the grid

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               Reduction in number of procedures from 9 to 5: The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued draft order officially reducing number of procedures for new connections to the grid from 9 to 5

2.               Reduction in timeline from 198 days to 61 days: NERC has issued draft order officially reducing timeline for new connections to the grid from 198 days to 61 days

D.              Registering Property (Lagos)

 

60 Day-Target: To reduce number of days required to register property from 77 to 30

and eliminate unnecessary procedures

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               Sworn affidavit no longer needed: Eliminated requirement for sworn affidavit as a procedure for conducting title search at the Lagos Land Registry

2.               On-going streamlining of registration process: Merged requirement for stamping of Deed of Assignment with final registration process, for lands owned by Lagos State Government

Reforms: PENDING

1.               Consolidation of payments: Consolidate several payments into one

2.               Reduction of time for governor’s consent: Reduce time for consent as it exceeds that of countries with similar laws

3.  Reconstruction of Lands Registry: Launch of re-constructed Lands Registry/service centre scheduled for May 1st

4.  Complaint mechanism available online: Upload information of PR, Complaints’ Unit and Lands Services Directorate in Lagos

 

E.               Getting Credit

 

60 Day-Target: To ensure MSMEs have more access to credit, ultimately at cheaper rates

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               Online searches on the National Collateral Registry: Interested parties can conduct online searches of secured interests on movable assets on the National Collateral Registry

2.               Increased usage of the National Collateral Registry: Increased utilisation of National Collateral Registry for online registrations, amendments and cancellations of financing statements by lenders

3.               Increased usage of credit history and credit scoring: Increased sensitisation and utilisation of Credit Reports and Credit Scoring by banks and other financial institutions

Reforms: PENDING

1.       National Assembly to pass relevant legislation: NASS working to pass two priority bills to ease access to credit: Secured Transactions in Movable Assets (aka Collateral Registry) Bill and Credit Bureau Services Bill.

F.               Trading Across Borders

 

60-Day Target: To   reduce export and import time by up to 50 per cent

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               Palletisation of Imports: Imports into Nigeria now required to be placed in pallets to enable quicker physical examination

2.   Provision of advanced cargo manifest: Vessels importing goods into Nigeria now required to transmit cargo manifest in advance to ensure improved risk assessment and optimal cargo placement

3.       NCS to coordinate physical examination: NCS now required to schedule and coordinate joint physical examination to ensure only one point of contact between officials and importers

4.       Accelerate pre-export documentation procedures: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and banks now required to process Net Export Proceeds (NXP) forms within 72 hours; and Pre-Shipment Inspection Agencies (PIAs) required to issue Certificate of Clean Inspection (CCI) within 3 days

5.       Reduction in documentation requirements: Approval obtained to reduce number of documents required for imports from 14 to 8, and number of documents needed for export from 10 to 7

6.       Reduction in container placement notice time: Reduced minimum container placement notice time needed by Terminal Operators for examination from 24 hours to 12 hours

Reforms: PENDING

1.       Standardise template for reporting fees

2.       Roll out complaints portal

3.       Optimise pre-shipment process for exports

4.       Revise SLAs: Ensure contracts and revised Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are put in place for PIAs and make the process for appointing PIAs fully online

G.   Entry and Exit of People

 

60-Day Target: Visa processing timeline and improved traveller experience

 

Reforms: COMPLETED

1.               Simplified Visa-on-arrival and submission process: Updated visa-on-arrival procedure to include to include e-submission of applications to dedicated NIS email address (oa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng)

2.               New Immigration Regulation 2017: Honourable Minister of Interior has approved and released a new Immigration Regulation

3.       Consolidation of arrival/departure forms: Consolidated arrival and departure forms now available and in use at the airports

4.               48-hour visa processing time: Approved timeline of 48 hours for business and tourism visa processing at Nigerian missions abroad

5.               Infrastructural Improvements (Abuja Airport): Select infrastructural improvements at Abuja airport, including repairs of ACs, escalators, carousels, toilets and painting

Reforms: PENDING

1.               Infrastructural improvements (Lagos airport): Effect infrastructural improvements at Lagos airport, including repairs of ACs, escalators, carousels, toilets and painting

2.               Eliminate manual baggage searches: Deploy baggage scanners at the airports to eliminate intrusive and time-consuming manual searches

Lagos Generates N436b IGR In 2016

For the year 2016, the Lagos State Government generated N312.820billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Speaking during an interactive session with Journalists on Monday, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade,explained that the new IGR, represented 75 per cent of government’s projection and 72 per cent of total revenue.

Ashade explained that the State Revenue Service (LIRS), in 2016, raked in N247.022 billion, representing 80 per cent of the estimate, 79 per cent of the total IGR and 57 per cent