Nigeria’s Economy Is On The Path Of Recovery, Says Buhari’s Aide

The Special Adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, has said that Nigeria’s economy is on the path of recovery.

Dipeolu said this following a GDP figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with oil, agriculture and industrial sectors leading the charge.

According to him, the report is a clear indication that the Nigerian economy has improved further.

“The Buhari administration welcomes the new growth figures, and will continue to work diligently on a daily basis to ensure inclusive growth, to which we have always been committed through the active pursuit of a raft of policy initiatives, past and present,”  a statement signed by Mr. OlaLaolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, reads.

Dipeolu, in the statement, noted that such initiatives include but not limited to the Social Investment Programmes, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, longstanding Budget Support Facilities to the States, plus other bailout packages, ensuring the comprehensive payment of workers’ salary & pension backlogs among others.

He also revealed that Federal Government will be ramping up the implementation pace of the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan.

“The latest NBS GDP figures show that the Nigerian economy grew by 1.4% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017).  This is a steady continuation of the positive growth of 0.55% (now revised to 0.72%) experienced in Q2 2017 and reinforces the exit from the 2016 recession.

“The positive growth in Q3 is consistent with the improvements in other indicators.  Foreign exchange reserves have risen to nearly $34 billion while stock market and purchasing managers indices have also been positive.

“The naira exchange rate has stabilised while inflation has declined to 15.91% from 18.7 in January 2017.  While inflation is not declining as fast as desirable, it is approaching the estimated target of 15.74% for the year in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Agricultural growth was 3.06% in the third quarter of 2017, maintaining the positive growth of the sector even when there was a slow-down in the rest of the economy.

“The industrial sector grew at 8.83% mostly due to mining and quarrying.  The oil sector grew very strongly as forecast in the ERGP and partly as a result of the policy actions in the plan to restore growth in the sector.

“The service sector is yet to recover but should soon begin to be positively affected by the improvements in the real economy and the effects of the dedicated and focused capital spending of over N1.2 trillion on infrastructure by the Federal Government.

“It is expected that the economy will continue to grow given these developments and the reform, and improvements in the business environment shown by the upward movement of 24 places in the recently released World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings which was better than the target of 20 places specified in the ERGP,” the statement reads in part.

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Nigeria’s GDP Records 1.4% Growth In Q3 — NBS

In the third quarter of 2017, Nigeria recorded a growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.4 per cent, data released today by the National Bureau Statistics (NBS) revealed.

In the report obtained by Sundiata Post, the stats office said this growth is the second consecutive positive growth since the emergence of the economy from recession in the second quarter of this year.

In the data released on Monday, NBS said, “This growth is 3.74 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–2.34 per cent) and higher by 0.68 per cent points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter, which was revised to 0.72 per cent from 0.55 per cent (Q2 was revised following revisions by NNPC to oil output and hence led to revisions to Oil GDP).

It noted that quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was 8.97 per cent year-to-date Real GDP growth stands at 0.43 per cent.

In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N29,451,303.99 million in nominal terms higher when compared to N26,537,651.01 million in Q3 2016, resulting in a Nominal GDP growth of 10.98 per cent.

“This growth is higher relative to growth recorded in Q3 2016 of 9.15 per cent,” the stats office stated in the report on Monday.

NBS further disclosed that in the period under review, oil production is estimated to have averaged 2.03 million barrels per day (mbpd), 0.15million barrels higher than the revised daily average production recorded in the second quarter of 2017 (revised from 1.84mbpd to 1.87mbpd).

Oil production during the quarter was higher by 0.42million barrels per day relative to the corresponding quarter in 2016, which recorded an output of 1.61mbpd.

It added that real growth of the oil sector was 25.89 per cent (year-on-year) in Q3 2017. This represents an increase of 48.92 per cent relative to rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
Growth also increased by 22.36 per cent when compared to Q2 2017 which was revised from 1.64 per cent to 3.53 per cent.

Quarter-on-Quarter, the oil sector grew by 21.10 per cent in Q3 2017. As a share of the economy, the oil sector contributed 10.04 per cent of total real GDP in Q3 2017, up from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2016 and up from the preceding quarter, where it contributed 8.09 per cent and 9.04 per cent to GDP respectively.

It was also stated that the non-oil sector grew by -0.76 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter. This is lower by -0.79 per cent point compared to the rate recorded same quarter, 2016 and -1.20 per cent point lower than in the second quarter of 2017.

This sector was driven this quarter mainly by Agriculture (Crop), Other services and Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.

In real terms, the Non-Oil sector contributed 89.96 per cent to the nation’s GDP, lower than the share recorded in the third quarter of 2016 (91.91 per cent) and in the second quarter of 2017 (90.96 per cent).

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FG Unveils Plans To Create Special Economic Zones

The federal government says it has plans to create special economic zones in some states to drive the industrialisation target of the nation.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this at the opening of the 2017 Lagos International Trade fair with the theme “promoting industrialisation for economic recovery and sustainable growth”.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said the economic zones would be structured to provide all necessary infrastructures needed to make industries thrive and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s GDP.

“We’re working with Lagos state, we are working with other states in the country to make sure that these zones demonstrate what are needed, where you see infrastructure, lower the cost of doing business, make regulations easy. We must show examples, there’s power in examples and by so doing,  I think the whole thing will catch up for the rest of the country”, he said.

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Jumia Facilitates Timely Delivery Of Alcoholic Beverages With Jumia Party

Nigeria’s number 1 online food ordering website, Jumia Food has announced the launch of Jumia Party, a new category on Jumia Food website/app which allows customers to order their favourite alcoholic beverages and get them delivered within barely 60 minutes. The service, which offers free delivery on orders above N10,000, is currently available only in Lekki, Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Managing Director of Jumia Food Nigeria, Olamide Bada made the announcement in Lagos recently. She described the new category as a faster, cheaper and easier channel of buying alcoholic beverages and getting them delivered in an hour’s time. She also added that Jumia Food has formed a partnership with Pernod Ricard to retail all its product lines such as Absolut Vodka, Martell Blue Swift, Jameson, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, Seagram and many more. Pernod Ricard is a French producer of distilled beverages that also owns a wide variety of international beverage brands.

“We are absolutely excited about our partnership with Pernod Ricard. This provides us an opportunity to cater to our customers’ needs, especially those who wouldn’t have the time to buy directly from offline retail shops. Jumia Party is a faster and cheaper alternative for them to order and get their favourite drinks delivered in no time. This partnership has been successfully operational in other African countries, such as Kenya; there’s no doubt that the Nigerian market will be excited about this new category on Jumia Food,” said Bada.

To place an order on Jumia Party, you are simply required to login and confirm the legal drinking age of 18 years; select preferred products; add the purchases to the cart; and confirm delivery location on checkout. Users have the option of paying cash or via mobile money payment service. Jumia Party is also giving customers offers on selected brands and surprise gifts during the festive season.

“The last thing you want is to run out of drinks while you are at a party – whether planning or attending. Nigerians can now worry less about this because of Jumia party. The best part being that you can have drinks delivered to your doorstep within the hour! True convenience,” said Joy Uzuegbu, Head of Marketing for Jumia Food Nigeria.

As the Jumia Black Friday festival – slated for November 13 through December 13, 2017 – approaches, Bada said lovers of alcoholic beverages should get ready for amazing and exclusive deals and merchandise on select products purchased on the Jumia Food website.

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Ecobank Hosts Customer Forum, Pledges More Support For Import, Export Trade

Ecobank Nigeria has organized customer forum for exporters and importers targeted at boosting trade and commerce in the country.

Country Head, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Rotimi Morohunfola, said, the forum held in Lagos at the weekend, is one of the several avenues by which the Bank extends support to promoters and stakeholders in export and import business.

He explained that the engagement, basically an interactive session afforded the Bank the opportunity to obtain feedback from participants with a view to serving them better. According to him, “We take into cognizance the role of exporters and importers in the economy.

The economy is largely driven by trade. This is why we decided to hold this forum to engage our customers, feel their pulse, and also bring in the regulators like CBN to build capacity and further enlighten them on new trends and market practices.”

Morohunfola further re-assured participants of the Bank’s determination to support them at all times, urging them to continue to do business with the Bank.

Presentations were made by Transaction Services Group, Treasury and Trade Operation departments of the Bank.

On support for small businesses, Head, SME, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Sunkanmi Olowo, said the Bank had put in place several initiatives to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

According to him, “Ecobank is commonly regarded as SME friendly bank. This is because of our support for the sub sector. For instance, we have an online mall called MyMall which presently have over 5000 SMEs trading on the platform globally; we are in partnership with EDC and Lagos Business School (LBS) where SME operators are trained and empowered to start their businesses; we offer window for them to access foreign exchange and also explore the CBN window to assist them.

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We Are Ready For Business, Emefiele Tells Investors

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has urged foreign investors to come over to the country.

He made the call at the weekend, at a forum of capital and money market players, investment bankers, treasurers and other fund managers at the London Stock Exchange.

The forum was organised by the London Stock Exchange, in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.Emefiele told the investors that the Return on Investment (ROI) in all sectors of the Nigerian economy is among the best in the world.

In his message, titled: “Nigeria is ready for business,” he lauded the country’s emergence from what was its worst recession in decades,The CBN governor explained the ongoing reforms and the huge opportunities available to investors in several sectors, especially agriculture, solid minerals and infrastructure.

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Adesina To Set Up Fund For Young Farmers, Agripreneurs With $250,000 World Food Prize money

“I am proud as the Governor of Iowa State to proclaim Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.”

With these words, the Governor of the State of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, officially named President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate, on behalf of the World Food Prize Foundation, setting off an atmosphere of festive celebration at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines.

Accompanied by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and John Mahama, former President of Ghana, Adesina took elegant steps to the podium to receive the award – the world’s highest recognition for food and agriculture, with his wife Grace and his two children, Rotimi and Segun, and a large and distinguished crowd cheering him on. Representatives of the Nigerian Government, Purdue University, his alma mater, friends, associates and Bank staff were among the well-wishers who came in out in large numbers to celebrate the African agriculture icon, known as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug.”

In line with his avowed commitment to a new deal for youth empowerment, Adesina pledged devote the US $250,000 prize money to a fund in support of young African farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs.”

“And so, even though I don’t have the cash in my hand, I hereby commit my $250,000 as a cash prize for the World Food Prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture to feed Africa,” Adesina said.

“We will arise and feed Africa. The day is coming very soon when all its children will be well-fed, when millions of small-holder farmers will be able to send their kids to school,” Adesina said.

“Then you will hear a new song across Africa: ‘Thank God our lives are better at last.’”

The President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, paid tribute to Adesina, “whose breakthrough achievements have impacted millions of farmers and those living in rural poverty in Nigeria and throughout Africa, and whose leadership holds great promise for uplifting millions and millions more across that continent.”

In a speech at the colourful ceremony, the Vice-President of the United States of America, Michael Pence, commended the Laureate in a speech read on his behalf by Mark Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“As our global food system is stretched, and the need to feed more people grows, agricultural transformation will require persistence from leaders like you in driving change and capitalizing on public- and private-sector expertise,” Pence said.

The Vice-President described Adesina’s devotion to the cause of fighting global hunger as admirable, and deeply needed, and on behalf of President Donald Trump, extended heartfelt congratulations.

“The United States is and remains committed to food security, and we will continue to work with leaders like you to find innovative ways to end global hunger,” he said.

The Purdue University Glee Club and multiple award-winning all-female Nigerian signing group Adunni and Nefertiti set the mood of the evening with musical performances, followed by the star act: Omawumi, a popular Nigerian vocalist, who had flown in from Lagos for the occasion. The infectious rhythms of Adunni and Nefertiti and popular songs of Omawumi soon moved Adesina and his wife to get up on the dance floor, where they were joined by Obasanjo.

The evening was capped by an elegant award ceremony dinner in the Capitol Rotunda.

Under President Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The World Food Prize also recognizes Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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Oil Price Rises Towards $59

Oil prices rose on Wednesday, lifted by a fall in U.S. crude inventories and concerns that tensions in the Middle East could disrupt supplies. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at 58.27 dollars at 0131 GMT, up 39 cents, or 0.7 per cent from their last close – and a third above mid-year levels.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 52.08 dollars per barrel, up 20 cents, or 0.4 per cent and almost a quarter above mid-June levels. Traders said that prices were pushed up by a drop in U.S. crude inventories as well as concerns that fighting in Iraq and mounting tensions between the United States and Iran could affect supplies. U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.1 million barrels in the week to Oct. 13 to 461.4 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late on Tuesday.

Official U.S. fuel inventory data is due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration. Adding to a tightening U.S. market, tensions in the Middle East meant that a risk premium was being priced into oil markets. Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk earlier this week, responding to a Kurdish independence referendum, and there are concerns that fighting could disrupt supplies.

The Iraq crisis adds to a looming dispute between the United States and Iran. Last Friday U.S. President Donald Trump last week refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide further action against Tehran. During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, some 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.

NAN

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UBA Emerges Best Bank In Support Of Real Sector At Banking Awards

Pan-African banking group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, at the weekend was recognised for its extraordinary support of the real sector as it won best bank in the category, ahead of its peers. 

The award, the organisers noted is in recognition of UBA’s leadership role as in expanding access to funds for the support of the real sector in Nigeria and the rest of Africa where it operates. This feat they further said has brought about unprecedented growth to the sector and by extension, the nation’s economy and that of Africa. 

Speaking while receiving the prestigious award on behalf of the bank, Head Strategic Business Group, Mr. Usman Isiaka expressed appreciation to Businessday for recognising the distinctive role, UBA is playing in Nigeria as well as the African continent in driving financial inclusion coupled with its role in supporting the growth of critical sectors. 

“The Real sector is pivotal to economic development in Nigeria and all of Africa as it forms the main driving force of any economy and its development.

We are pleased with the acknowledgement of our support to the sector. It is worthy to note that our expansion to Africa has not only helped diversify our earnings base, it has provided us with the opportunity to grow economies and partake in the development of Africa. We are grateful to all stakeholders for their support and are stimulated to do even more” he said. 

Frank Aigbogun Publisher, BusinessDay, Nigeria’s leading business newspaper emphasised that the BusinessDay Banking Awards is the product of a rigorous process by BusinessDay’s Research and Intelligence Unit, designed to feed the editorial and also drive commercial research.

 “We are motivated by philosophy that, Great institutions and leaders deserve to be recognised so as to boost healthy competition in their sector” that is why we make it a point of duty to celebrate those who make the conscious effort to stand out”, Aigbogun noted.

 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.

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Emefiele Bags Forbes Award, Woos Investors To Nigeria

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has been conferred with the 2017 Forbes Best of Africa Innovative Banking Award by the Forbes Magazine.

Presenting the award to Mr. Emefiele at a dinner held at the Willard Intercontinental, Washington, on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Thursday, October 12, 2017, the President of Forbes Customs Emerging Markets, Mark Furlong, said the award was in recognition of Emefiele’s courage and determination in using monetary policy to ensure financial stability in Nigeria.

According to him, the CBN under Emefiele had also shown transparency, which had helped to stabilise the economy and had made huge interventions in the real sector of the economy. He particularly cited the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Bank as a major boost to the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

Before receiving the award, the CBN Governor highlighted efforts made by the Bank, under his leadership, since 2014, to stabilize the financial system and maintain the international value of the naira.

Attributing the award to the collective efforts of the management and staff of the CBN, the cooperation of the Nigerian Federal Government and the people of Nigeria who stood by the Bank, he said the CBN had to take inflation head-on in order to check the negative effects of several global shocks that had hit Nigeria between 2014 and 2016.

He said the monetary authorities were glad that its policies had contributed in forcing inflation down from its previous heights of 18 percent to 16 percent, even as he expressed optimism that the rate of inflation would be further lowered with other policies in place.

On the decision of the CBN to restrict access to foreign exchange from the Nigerian foreign exchange market to some 41 items, Emefiele stated that the CBN had to take bold decisions in order to stop a further plummeting of Nigeria’s foreign reserves due to huge import bills among other things.

Citing some success stories, the CBN Governor said the decision had yielded positive results, particularly with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Bank, which had increased the yields of farmers, created wealth and provided jobs for thousands of Nigerians.

He further disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had urged the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Employment, Labour and Productivity, as well as other stakeholders including State Governors to strategise to create more jobs through agriculture. According to him, countries that had made huge economic progress had done so through agriculture.

Speaking on the management of the country’s foreign exchange, he recalled the adjustments made to the naira, noting that the creation of several windows in the inter-bank foreign exchange market, particularly the investors’ window, had triggered excitement in the foreign investor community and led to capital inflow of about $10 billion into Nigeria between May and October 2017.

While thanking the foreign investors for showing confidence in the Nigerian economy, he invited the larger foreign investor community to invest in Nigeria, stressing that the Nigerian market remained the largest in Africa.

“Nigeria has a lot of potentials. The environment is good; the climate is good. Nigerians are hospitable and good people. Nigeria is good for business,” Emefiele noted.

Present at the event were the Acting Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America, Amb. Hassan Hassan; Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, CBN, Dr. Okwu Nnanna; the President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa, Florie Liser; former Ambassador of the US to Nigeria, Amb. Robin Sanders; Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Oluyemi Dipeolu; Director General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; CEOs of some Nigerian Deposit Money Banks, Chief Executives of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and members of the foreign investment community.

BusinessWise

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CBN Harp On Sustainable Development With Agriculture

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and stakeholders in the renewed drive for economic diversification through agriculture have reiterated that agriculture presents the major opportunity of a long-term sustainable development in the country.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said with the current levels of unemployment in Nigeria, agriculture sector remained vital to the efforts of the Federal Government in diversifying the country’s monolithic economy away from oil. Emefiele, who made the observation at the weekend in Abuja, during the stakeholders’ meeting on the operational framework for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari, also said the meeting was in efforts to consolidate the collective efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities to diversify the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, the Bankers Committee said nation’s deposit money banks are now ready to disburse its pooled five per cent equity contributions at N26 billion, meant to support small businesses in the agriculture sector at concessional rates.

The Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, who spoke for the committee, affirmed that the special fund was set up to the tune of N26 billion to provide equity contributions to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in the agriculture sector.”We mentioned before that the framework for this was being developed. The Bankers committee can confirm that this is being finalised and disbursement will commence by the end of this fourth quarter.

“To further support this the CBN has created a special export intervention scheme to support export and of course, that will generate additional foreign exchange. This will be closely monitored and we expect a lot of SMEs to benefit from this scheme.”The issue we had in the past was the failure of some exporters to repatriate the foreign exchange generated, and the CBN has agreed with the Bankers Committee to sanction defaulting exporters.

But the Director of Banking Supervision Department at CBN, Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi, added: “This export scheme is different from the Export Expansion Grant of the Federal Government. This one is a CBN initiative to boost exports, so that exporters can access the fund just like the Commercial Agricultural Scheme or the Anchor Borrowers Programme to boost their businesses.

Similarly, the agriculture stakeholders meeting organised by CBN, which had the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, state governors, among others in attendance, was expected to significantly improve the agricultural output, drive economy growth, reduce unemployment among youth and increase national cohesion.

While acknowledging the twin-challenge of youth restiveness and unemployment, the Emefiele stressed the need for stakeholders to confront the challenge with innovative thinking, using agriculture as a fulcrum of a long-term sustainable and profitable approach.Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, commended the courage of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team, in introducing the policy on the restriction of access to foreign exchange for some 41 items, which can be produced in Nigeria.

For Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who doubles as the Head, Technical Sub-committee of AADS and Chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Rice and Wheat, commended the efforts of CBN in galvanizing rice production revolution through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. Bagudu appealed to Nigerians to support the AADS, noting that even industrialised nations have had to protect their agricultural production through tariffs and trade policy, especially in areas the country has comparative advantage.

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Skye Bank Empowers Women Entrepreneurs

Skye Bank Plc., is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs across various sectors of the Nigerian economy. This position was further reinforced by the bank when it presented certificates of proficiency to three lucky members of the Skye Pearl community who participated in the just -concluded 3-month art of fashion training organised by Ibile Vogue Academy.

The training, which is a give back initiative of Skye Bank and Ibile Vogue Academy, entails both executive and full time classes that teaches students everything about fashion; from pattern drafting, colour sequencing, garment construction to soft business skills; as well as provide linkages to help students develop their own clothing line with the aim of grooming top notch fashionprenuers.

Speaking at the presentation of the certificate, the Head, Retail Banking, Skye Bank Plc., Mrs. Ayodele Olojede, lauded the graduands and thanked everyone who played a significant role in making the dreams of the participants in the training come true. She challenged them to start adding value with the skills they have acquired, so as to stay competitive.

Mrs. Olojede also noted that the initiative was embarked upon as part of the gains of being part of the Skye Pearl community. “This, for us, is both a give-back and value add under our Skye Pearl Initiative beyond just funding which a bank is naturally known for adding that, “our aim is to address the peculiar challenges of the woman, the wife, the mother and the professional with a view to empowering her economically.

Shedding light on the format of the training, the Banker disclosed that the training ran for twelve weeks. The criteria for selection include; be an active Skye Bank account holder; be a member of the pearl community; aged between 20 and 40 years; must have completed or be in a tertiary institution.

Non-account holders and dormant accounts were also encouraged to open new accounts or reactivate dormant accounts to qualify.

On her part, the Director of Studies, Ibile Vogue Academy, Mrs. Temitope Olanre-Alade, applauded the bank for the initiative and particularly for providing the platform (Skye Pearl) that made it possible for her organization to also give back to society. In her words to the graduands: “You owe Skye Bank and Ibile Vogue Academy immensely and therefore you should do everything within your power to make us proud.”

Mrs. Olanre-Alade further admonished the graduands not to see their senior colleagues in the industry as competitors, but rather mentors from whom they could glean further ideas on how to be better at the trade while encouraging them to attend shows, seminars and get mentored. She further admonished: “Don’t just jump into the business, you must intern as there are things to know; things to do and people to be around in order to scale up in the profession.

The three members of the Skye Pearl community who benefited from the training; Toyin Akinpelu, Okunowo Biola and Oyindamola Olukutan, were all delighted and commended the joint efforts of Skye Bank and Vogue Academy for the opportunity to actualize their dreams. All three were presented with certificates of proficiency in pattern drafting, fashion design and garment construction after completing the training course.

One of the graduands, Oyindamola Olukutan, on behalf of her fellow awardees, thanked the bank for the rare opportunity of being trained at no cost. According to her, “It afforded us the opportunity to meet with staff of the Academy who were like a family. The freehand class was mind-blowing and we have learnt to communicate more and better. Thanks to Skye Bank.” She encouraged the bank not to relent in her efforts to add value to the society through initiatives like this, even as she promised to spread the news.

Skye Pearl Initiative is a best in class program which offers women real value-add beyond finance, taking into account the holistic needs and concerns of women in their quest to actualize their potentials either as entrepreneurs, professionals or stay-at-home mums.

The community offers knowledge and networking opportunities, market linkages and access to finance in ways that clearly reflect the attitudinal difference between men and women which are critical dependencies for business success.

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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