Chinese Firms Bid For Ibom Deep Sea Port

A Pre Bid Conference with three firms that are pushing for the development of the Ibom Deep Sea Port was held in Uyo the Akwa Ibom state capital.

The Consortium of Bollore and Power China, China Road Breach Corporation, CRBC and China Harbour Engineering Company of Nigeria are the International firms that are vying for the development of the project.

Addressing the Technical Committee on Ibom Industrial City and Deep Seaport, which includes representatives of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, consultants and other stakeholders, Governor Udom Emmanuel told the bidders that they would not have asked for a better investment opportunity than the Ibom deep seaport.

Governor Emmanuel described the proposed Ibom Seaport as standing in a very good position to serve the south-south, south-east and middle belt regions of the country including Abuja just as it is capable of also servicing the Gulf of Guinea.

The Governor explained the challenges of operating a single seaport in Nigeria and stated that a country of over 170 million people cannot be fed from only one seaport.

He said that the Port will be digital with at least 4 Exits to ease traffic congestion within and outside the facility just as the facility when completed would sit on a  natural draught, which would not need to be dredged.

The Governor expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the support in respect of the project and assured that the state and other stakeholders involved in the development of Ibom Seaport will get it done in compliance with international standard.

He pointed out that latest technology will be applied to make sure goods are cleared at a very fast pace to enable investors to realize the return on their investment right on time.

The Chairman, Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City Technical Committee, Mrs Mfon Usoro explained that the conference with the bidders is a mandatory requirement in the Federal Government procurement process.

She said they gave them more information about the project with the hope that they would be able to submit robust proposals to the Ministerial Projects Development Steering Committee for evaluation before the parties involved get to the next stage of the project.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Akan Okon noted that before the end of the year, they should come to the end of the entire transaction since everyone involved in the project was showing great commitment.

In a remark, the Chairman, Project Development Steering Committee and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sani Galadanchi said the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has the passion for the project and promised to continue to work with the State Technical Committee and other stakeholders to achieve result.

The representatives of Bollore and Power China and that of China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, all described the Port development project as a mega facility while also hoping to emerge the preferred bidder.

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CBN Orders BDC Operators To Access Forex Window Thrice Weekly

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has made it mandatory for all the Bureau de Change, BDCs, operating in Nigeria to access Foreign Exchange from it thrice a week.

A statement from the CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, on Sunday indicated that the new directive would allow eligible travellers more access to foreign exchange and allow more liquidity to the market.

“All BDCs shall henceforth access forex from the CBN on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

”It is compulsory that all BDCs access forex at least three times weekly.

”Any BDC that fails to access the forex window at least three times weekly shall have its licence reviewed by the CBN,” Mr Okorafor said.

According to Mr Okorafor, the CBN has also authorised all commercial banks to buy and sell foreign exchange to travellers whether they operate an account in the said bank or not.

He said that the banks were mandated to do this once a customer or non-customer presents relevant, valid travel documents such as visa and travel ticket.

“All travellers shall be attended to immediately at the banks’ counters. Any contravention shall be sanctioned by the CBN,” he said.

This new directive is coming after the CBN announced on Wednesday that some banks were turning back customers that come to purchase Foreign Exchange for Personal and Business Travel as well as for pilgrimage.

According to the CBN, it has supplied enough dollars to the banks to meet needs in the invisible segment.

Customers were enjoined to report any bank that refuses to attend to their legitimate demands within 24 hours.

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CBN Injects $210 Million Into Foreign Exchange Market

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected 210 million dollars into the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market to boost liquidity in the system.

The acting Director, Corporate Communications,  Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement in Abuja, said the CBN allocated 100 million dollars to dealers in the wholesale sector.

He said also the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment and invisibles received 55 million dollars each.

‘‘The continued interventions in the interbank foreign exchange market was mainly to ensure sustained liquidity and stability in the market, ‘‘  Okorafor, said

According to him, the interventions by the CBN had impacted the market positively and guaranteed a stable exchange rate for the Naira, which has since stabilised the foreign exchange market.

He reiterated that the Bank’s interventions had reduced the country’s import bills and led to accretion to its foreign reserves.

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Tantalizers Pursues Expansion, Opens New Outlet In Ikare Akoko

Tantalizers, one of the leading brands in the nation’s Quick Service Restaurant sector, says its expansion program is fully on course as many towns in the country have been identified for new restaurant locations soon.

In pursuance of this business resolve, Tantalizers has opened a new outlet in Ikare Akoko, Ondo State, bringing the brand’s number of outlets to over 60 across the country.

While speaking during the official opening of the new outlet located within the Forte Oil Filling Station Complex along Ikare-Arigidi-Akoko road, Deputy Managing Director of Tantalizers Plc, Mr. Gbolahan Labinjo, encouraged Nigerians to be a part of the brand’s growing franchise program. He said the new outlet was opened in response to the desires of consumers in Ikare Akoko and environs for a qualitative QSR outlet that would serve and excite consumers in the entire Akoko area of Ondo state including Akungba, Oba and Arigidi.

Mr. Labinjo further stated that the new outlet would offer all Tantalizers product offerings including popular local favourites.

Tantalizers, a wholly indigenous QSR company is the only quoted company in its category on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and presently has over 60 outlets in the country.

The QSR is a one-stop restaurant brand that offers a wide variety of products and services including ‘local favourites’ which are the meals of the locality where each restaurant is located.

 

 

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Ecobank Unveils Africa’s First Unified Digital Payment Solution

A multi-featured digital payment solution, Ecobank Pay, is now available from Ecobank Nigeria. Ecobank Pay is built as a core part of Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem approach and will deliver unified and instant self-service across a range of interconnected payment solutions. It can be used by all businesses from small informal micro merchants to large corporates as well as governments, allowing them to offer easy and convenient payment options to their customers in-store or online.

Ecobank Pay includes a rebrand of the Ecobank Scan+Pay QR offering, which allows customers to pay in-store via the Ecobank mobile app. Merchants can now also speedily sign-up for their QR merchant code via the Masterpass QR for Merchant functionality on Facebook Messenger.

As the Ecobank Pay ecosystem expands it will unify all of Ecobank’s digital payment offerings for internet payments, eCommerce, paying bills via mobile and airtime top via mobile.

The Ecobank Pay QR offering, or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), will continue to allow customers of any bank in Nigeria or beyond, to make payments for goods and services, using their mobile banking app to Scan+Pay with MasterPass, Visa or mCash as the means of payment.

mCash allows merchants to receive payments from their customers on one single Merchant Terminal ID for both Scan+Pay and USSD through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) mCash service by dialing *402#.

For both Ecobank Pay Scan+Pay (via MasterPass and Visa) as well as USSD, merchants will receive instant credit on their account with Ecobank. This digital payment solution is targeted at small informal micro merchants, registered small and medium size merchant businesses, corporate and institutional merchants operating in-store or online, as well utilising the social media platform of Facebook Messenger to sign up for QR technology.

“Ecobank is committed to simplifying doing business for the people it serves, and Ecobank Pay is a payment solution channel that will make payments easier, faster, convenient and more secure,” commented Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria.

“As an enhanced payment platform, it will make business cash flow easier to manage and will help to grow sales as it accepts payment from any mobile phone user at anytime and anywhere, whilst improving both convenience and the client experience.  It has no initial transaction charges and is a cost-effective alternative to POS terminals as payments are directly authenticated, pushed and approved by the customers buying the goods or services, therefore limiting the risk of chargebacks or disputes.”

The clear advantages of Ecobank Pay is that everyone can use it regardless of size, and the value it brings through the digital QR code technology that will enable businesses to access more financial services and grow.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, says: “The merchant receives instant credit for all transactions as opposed to the current transaction day plus one (T+1) of a POS transaction. Customers can make payment from any type of mobile phone and notification is provided through SMS, the merchant app and the merchant portal. Ecobank Pay is an innovative, cost-effective and convenient digital payment solution that will enable businesses to enjoy quick settlement, grow sales, increase customer loyalty and make it easier for them to expand into new markets.”

Mr. Akintwuntan calls on businesses and organisations to embrace cashless payments and calls on religious organisations, government agencies, transport companies, telecom service providers, agency banking service providers, financial payment facilitators, the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sector, e-Commerce and utility companies and all others to harness the opportunities and advantages of solutions like Ecobank Pay, which will move Nigeria and Africa into a more cashless and financially inclusive society. These, and many other business sectors, can embrace the convenience, speed and security of Ecobank’s innovative digital payment solutions.

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ATMs Record Transactions Worth N1.56bn In Q1 – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from selected Banks across the country, recorded transactions valued at N1.568 billion in first quarter.

The NBS stated this in its Selected Banking Sector Data for First quarter, 2018, posted on it’s website.

The bureau stated that a total of 457,226,406 transactions valued at N32.48 trillion were recorded in the first quarter on Electronic Payment Channels in the Nigeria Banking Sector.

It, however, stated that ATM transactions dominated the volume of businesses recorded by the banking sector which was 212,370,853 transactions.

In terms of credit to private sector, the report stated that a total of N15.60 trillion credit was allocated by the banks in the quarter.

It stated that the Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit allocation of N3.42 trillion and N2.07 trillion to record the highest credit allocation within the period under review.

The report also stated that the number of banks staff decreased by -0.93 per cent from 90,453 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 89,608 in the review period.

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Ecobank Shareholders Approve Resolutions As Chairman Hails Improved Outlook

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, parent of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African bank with operations in 36 countries across the continent, concluded its 30th Annual General Meeting in Lomé, Togo, today.

Shareholders welcomed Ecobank’s return to profit for the year to 31 December 2017 as they approved all the resolutions at the AGM, which included the ratification of the co-option of Messrs. Monish Dutt, Brian Kennedy and David O’Sullivan as Directors. They are nominees of the International Finance Corporation, Nedbank Group and Qatar National Bank respectively.

The firms Deloitte and Touche, Nigeria and Grant Thornton Côte d’Ivoire were re-appointed as Joint Auditors for a one-year term.

Ecobank Group Chairman Emmanuel Ikazoboh said: “Ecobank enjoyed a return to profitability in 2017 as the strengthening of underwriting and risk management processes began to address our legacy credit issues. There were substantial improvements in the financial performance of our Consumer Bank and Corporate and Investment Bank divisions and the Board is confident that the foundations are now in place to enable the sustainable growth that will create shareholder value throughout Ecobank.”

Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive of Ecobank Group, said: “Our digitisation strategy is rapidly yielding results that are putting Ecobank firmly on its path to becoming the digital bank of choice across its pan-African territories.

Additionally, having ‘right-sized’ the business and ‘fixed the basics’, Ecobank is leveraging its inherent strengths as middle Africa’s leading financial platform to the benefit of all its stakeholders as a strong and sustainable bank as it promotes economic development and financial integration across the African continent.”

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Ecobank Mobile App Reaches 4 Million Users In Africa

The upgraded version of Ecobank’s revolutionary mobile app has attracted 3 million new customers in just 6 months, taking the total number of users to 4 million.

The app builds on the core functionality that saw the original version applauded as a game changer for African banking by using digital technology to combat many of the financial inclusion barriers faced by those on the continent. This includes the dearth of rural branches, affordability of products, high transaction costs and minimum opening balance requirements.

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO, says Ecobank’s strategic mission is built around using mobile banking to deliver innovative, efficient and cost-effective services to those who have typically sat outside of the formal economy, and therefore goes far beyond the reach of the traditional branch and ATM networks.

Subsequently, while the app won one million customers in its first year of launch, upgraded features have seen the rate of sign-ups treble in half of the time. So far this year, app usage has been growing at an average 700k new customers per month.

“Customers can use the app on their mobile to instantly open Ecobank Xpress Account™, which doesn’t have any account fees, paperwork or minimum balance requirements, or to send and receive money across 33 African countries,” he explains. “Therefore, our app not only removes the barriers that have financially excluded so many Africans but offers next generation functionality to help them send money, make withdrawals or pay for goods and services.”

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking, says that Ecobank is committed to providing all Africans with access to financial services, but doing so in a way that conjoins functionality with convenient, accessible and efficient banking channels, such as the rollout of Ecobank Xpress  Point Agents.

“We want to be the digital bank of choice for all Africans,” he said. “Functionality is one thing – giving our customers unrivalled convenience is another. The Ecobank Xpress  Point Agents that can now be found in your local neighbourhood enable you to deposit money into your app-based Ecobank Xpress Account™ and begin to make digital payments on the app using Ecobankpay. You can also withdraw funds in local currency that may have been sent to you from friends or relatives using our innovative instant transfer or Xpress Cash capabilities.”

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Naira Remains Stable Against Dollar, Euro

The Naira on Monday remained stable as it traded at N362 to the dollar at the parallel market, same amount it was sold last Friday.

The Naira also closed against the euro at N481 at same market in Lagos.

The  Bureau De Change (BDCs) window, the Naira also recorded same stability.

It traded at N362 to the dollar, while the euro was sold at N482 since last week.

Data from the Financial Market Dealers Quote (FMDQ) showed that the indicative exchange rate for the I&E was at N360.15 per dollar.

The exchange was an appreciation of 0.01 percent from N360.19 per dollar recorded last Friday.

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) rate closed at N305.95 to the dollar.

Some of black market operators and BDCs said that there was no figure for pounds.

They were skeptical about trading naira for the currency because of the banknote changes by Bank of England.

Reports also revealed that the old £10 note is set to go out of circulation on March 1, 2018.

However, old notes can still be spent ahead of the cut-off date or exchanged at the bank once the point has passed.

The old paper fivers went out of circulation on May 5, 2017.

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CBN Boosts Foreign Exchange Market With $210m

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has provided fresh 210 million dollars to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the foreign exchange market.

The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okoroafor in a statement in Abuja, said that 100 million dollars was offered to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market.

Okorafor said that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got 55 million dollars, while customers in need of foreign exchange for tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), were allocated 55 million dollars.

Okorafor reiterated the CBN’s commitment to continuous intervention in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

He said that the CBN would continue to strategically manage the foreign exchange market with a view to reducing the country’s import bills and halting depletion of its foreign reserves.

On February 12, the CBN had intervened to the tune of 210 million dollars to cater to requests in the various segments of the market.

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Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Hit $42.8bn, Says CBN

Nigeria’s foreign reserves have hit $42.8 billion, according to spokesman of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Isaac Okoroafor.

Okoroafor, who disclosed this at a meeting with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Wednesday, in Abuja, attributed the steady growth of the reserves to CBN policies targeting reduction in importation of goods, especially food that can be produced in the country.

He said: “CBN decided to go into the funding of rice and other agricultural produce because we felt that food supply is key if price stability is to be maintained.

“food makes up a disproportionately large portion of the basket of prices in the country.

“We decided to target food supply to bring down inflation.

“Second, we went into this business of funding agriculture because we felt that food, especially rice, was a key component of importation in Nigeria.

‘It was, therefore, a key component in the depletion of our foreign reserves.

“So we felt if we could deal with rice importation and replace it with local rice production, we would be working at rebuilding our reserves.

And I tell you, we have succeeded in meeting those two objectives.

‘’The reserves have gone to $42.8 billion as at yesterday (Tuesday) and you can see the inflation figures have been dropping and we expect this to continue throughout the year.”

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Obazelu Of Benin Kingdom Lauds Skye Bank For Rewarding Loyal Customers

 …as civil defense corps Inspector emerges Millionnaire at the Benin city draw


Benin, Nigeria – The Obazelu of Benin Kingdom, Chief Osaro Idah, has commended Skye Bank Plc., for rewarding loyal customers, making people happy and helping their businesses to grow.

 He said this during the presentation of N1 million cheque to Mrs. Eunice Odubor, an Inspector with Civil Defence Corps who emerged a lucky winner in the bank’s on-going “Reach for the Skye” millionaire reward promo which held at the palace of the monarch at the weekend.

 The Obazelu noted the commendable efforts of Skye Bank in encouraging savings culture in Nigeria and for giving equal opportunities to all customers to get a chance to win in the on-going “Reach for the Skye” millionaire reward promo.

 According to the monarch, “We are very impressed with your great steps to make life beautiful for our people. Your bank understands tradition and the core needs of the people. We will also continue to support your bank and encourage our people to bank with you.

 “I am also particularly happy that the winner is our own daughter and I believe that she will use the money to do well in our state, helping other people to live well and get better.

 “I encourage Skye Bank to continue with this initiative to make more people happy and help their businesses to grow,” He added.

 Mrs. Eunice Odubor, who runs an account with Forestry Road branch, Benin was full of praises for Skye Bank at the news of her emergence as the millionaire and particularly for putting smiles on her face even as people from all walks of life trooped out to witness the occasion.

 The 48-year old widow, a loyal customer from 2006, was thankful to Skye Bank for this reward noting that after the death of her husband three year ago things had not been rosy for her and 4 kids – 2 graduates and 2 schooling. One of them had to drop out from Ekpoma for lack of funds but now with this N1m she wants to push for him to continue his university education and also buy a land to start a small building project.

 “Your bank has never for a day deduct from my savings and I’ve never contemplated ever switching to another bank even when some of my colleagues were thinking of doing so at some point. I told them NO,” she added.

 Since it was introduced, the Skye Bank ‘Reach for the Skye Millionaire’ reward promo has been changing the lives of many for the better. The scheme, which is a feature for its flagship savings products, has produced millionaires including; Bello Sarafa Bayonle in Otta branch, Olusola Olusegun Ezekiel of Ikorodu branch in Lagos; Elizabeth Ohaeme of Ngbidi branch in Owerri and Buhari Aminu of Ibrahim Taiwo branch in Kano and other consolation prizes, is meant to encourage savings culture amongst the mass market segment.

 Speaking on the Bank’s commitment, Group Head, Product & Innovation Group, Skye Bank Plc., Ndubuisi Osakwe said “the scheme provides a unique opportunity for the Bank to stay in touch and reward its savings customers, who have a unique role to play in the country’s economic expansion”.

 “As a bank, we are committed to continually satisfy the needs of our customers as well as empower and encourage a savings culture in them, through initiatives like this and provide opportunities for them to establish small businesses with limited capital provided”, he said while commenting on why the bank kicked off the season 2 of the reward.

 “The reward focuses on retail banking that is anchored on the premise of building a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust as well as supporting the financial inclusion drive of the CBN so as to bring a lot more people into the financial system and the formal economy”, Osakwe said.

 “Reach for the Skye Millionaire Reward” promo is a year-long initiative, with series of monthly raffle draws during which more and more winners will continue to emerge. A chance to win various cash prizes including N100,000 for 10 customers, N50,000 for another 10 customers and N20,000 for 20 loyal customers exists every month throughout the period of the scheme. 

 Part of activities lined up for the event is the instant reward for people who open any savings account during the event. The instant reward items at the draw venue include generator sets, refrigerators, blenders, phones, table gas cookers and even recharge cards.

 Skye Bank is Nigeria’s leading retail bank with wide-ranging electronic solutions promoting consumer lifestyle and e-commerce experience for its customers.

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