Saturday , 20 December 2014
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Category Archives: Business

Pan-Atlantic University Commends Diamond Bank Plc

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Diamond Bank Plc, a leading retail bank in Nigeria, has been commended by Pan-Atlantic University’s Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), for its robust and unwavering support for young and upcoming entrepreneurs in the country.

Speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Lagos where the bank was recognized as a sponsor at a National Scale, Peter Bankole, Director, EDC, said that Diamond Bank, through its array of MSME-friendly products and propositions, has contributed significantly to the development of the sector in recent years, noting that the Bank’s robust initiative for MSMEs has aided a lot in stimulating employment in the country.

“Diamond Bank has done a lot in the development of the economy through her support for the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs). The initiatives of the bank have positively impacted areas such as employment generation, advisory support services to MSMEs and access to finance for entrepreneurs,” he said.

Speaking on the Bank’s itch for entrepreneurial development, Ayona Trimnell, Head Corporate Communication, stated that Diamond Bank is very passionate about MSMEs development in the country, and drives the initiative through its Building Entrepreneurs Today (BET). According to her, the programme is structured for capacity building, business education training aimed specifically at generating interest in entrepreneurship and driving employment and entrepreneurship in the economy.

“This initiative has contributed immensely to the pool of skilled small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the country and by extension enduring wealth creation across the populace. What we do is that at the end of the training, the top five (5) entrepreneurs are awarded the sum of three million naira (N3,000,000) grant to take their businesses to the next level. Since inception, over 1000 businesses have benefitted from this training programme.”

While responding to the recognition and award, Chima Nnadozie, Head, MSMEs Propositions, Diamond Bank, said the bank’s focus on MSMEs is borne out of the need to contribute to the development of the sector which in turn would positively impact the country’s economy.

“At Diamond Bank, we recognize the strategic role that the MSMEs could play in the country’s economy if the potentials are well harnessed. The entrepreneurs need business support in terms of advisory services and access to funding. The bank has been faithfully doing these over the years and we have testimonies to show that our efforts are already paying off,” he said.

UBA’s Indelible Footprint At Youth Future Awards

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

The future progress of Africa, as a continent, is in the hands of its youthful population, Phillips Oduoza, Group Managing Director and CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has said. He was speaking during the Future Awards and Summit also popularly known as The Future Awards where hundreds of youths gathered last Sunday at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, to celebrate youths excelling in different aspects of life.

UBA was a lead sponsor of the awards and summit as part of its commitment to the development of the next generation of future leaders in Africa.

Explaining why UBA was sponsoring ‘The Future Awards Africa’ Oduoza, represented by the Divisional, Head, e-Banking UBA Plc, Dr. Yinka Adedeji, said: “Over 50 percent of Africans are youths. As a pan-African bank with operations in 19 African countries, UBA aligns its vision to the aspirations of the continent’s youthful population by developing tailor-made products that align with the aspirations and ambitions of the African youth. For example, our Next Generation account also known as ‘NextGen’ is specifically targeted at youths and is about building the next generation of educated and enlightened professionals, employees, entrepreneurs, self employed persons, from all walks of life, early in their financial life cycle.”

The Next Gen account, Adedeji said, allows account holders to have access to 24-hour online banking services on UBA’s highly acclaimed internet banking platform besides other privileges like free web portals, specially branded Mastercard, interest bearing savings accounts, career advisory, scholarships, work place experience schemes with the UBA Group, entrepreneurial skills development workshops and social media engagements.

Adedeji spoke  during the presentation of the prize for “the Future Africa Award in Agriculture,” won by Samir Ibrahim and Charles Nichols, Founders of SunCulture, Kenya; a solar-powered irrigation kit which makes it simpler and cheaper for farmers to grow food. The kit replaces expensive diesel and petrol pumps.

UBA also endowed The Future Africa Awards “Young Person of the year,” which was won by Sangu Delle, Co-Founder, Cleanacwa, Ghana; a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Ghana who built a Clean Water organisation that has impacted tens of thousands of people in rural Liberia and Ghana. The prize was presented by the representative of President Goodluck Jonathan, Boni Haruna, Minister of Youth Development and two-time governor of Adamawa State.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Minister of Solid Education, young entrepreneurs, students from different secondary and tertiary institutions, as well as captains of industry attended the awards ceremony.

One of the major highlights of the evening was the final phase of The Future Awards Africa’s #STOPEBOLA campaign, which was held via an auction on a custom piece by A-List haute couture designer, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, with a winning bid of N1 million on the dress. The proceeds will go to the UN Ebola Response Fund.

The awards which was hosted by Iyanya, Osas Ighodaro, Ice Prince and Flavia from Uganda, saw 10 outstanding individuals rewarded for their excellent work across different fields: business, entertainment, politics, science and technology and education.

The Future Awards are a set of awards given by The Future Project (TFP), a social enterprise set up with a strong, practical commitment to human and capital development, especially in Africa. The Future Project is the largest home-grown network of policy-makers, business people, and other stakeholders in Young Africa.

It is also committed to finding effective and innovative ways of addressing social issues. It has become one of the most respected private sector-driven development platforms with a history of verifiable impact, including in under-privileged and grassroots communities.

c: news express

GTBank Is “Best Bank In Nigeria For 2014” By The Banker

Chief-Executive-Officer-GTBank-Mr.-Segun-Agbaje

Guaranty Trust Bank plc wins “Best Bank in Nigeria for 2014” by The Banker Magazine (a publication of The Financial Times) for promoting industry-wide excellence in Global Banking Ethics and adherence to the highest corporate governance standards. The prestigious award ceremony which held on Thursday November 27th, 2014 at Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, London had in attendance more than 350 senior executives from well over 120 countries.

 The Banker is the world’s leading monthly journal of records for the banking Industry, with over 90 years expertise in publishing development in the banking industry both Africa and on the global scale. For over 1000 applications collected, The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries shortlisted.

Commenting on the award, Mr. Segun Agbaje, MD/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc said “we are happy to receive this award” and attributed the bank’s achievements to the hardwork and commitment of its employees and loyalty of its customers. According to the MD/CEO “we are committed to building an enduring institution with strong values and sound corporate governance standards which will ensure that we continue to deliver over and above the expectations of all stakeholders.”

GTBank has continued to push the boundaries with the introduction of products and services tailored to meet the needs of its customers. The Bank was also the recipient of other prestigious awards in the global banking space within the last 12 months. These include “2014 African Bank of the Year” award by The African Banker, “2014 Best Bank in Africa” and “2014 Best Bank in Nigeria” awards by Euromoney.

Guaranty Trust Bank plc has introduced several innovations over the last few months in its bid to further consolidate its position as the most service focused bank in Nigeria. These includes The MarketHub; an e-commerce platform where buying and selling are transacted in a virtual market space hosted on the bank’s platform, One click Top-up; an alternative service that enables GTBank account holders conveniently recharge their mobile phones with airtime from their bank account with ease.

Guaranty Trust Bank plc with over 200 branches within Nigeria, presently has business subsidiaries in Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the United Kingdom. The GTBank brand is regarded as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries singularly for its bias for World class customer service ethics, organizational structure, culture and innovation.

The Bank’s 3rd quarter audited results which were released on the floor of the Nigerian and London Stock Exchange show gross earnings of over N199.2billion and a profit after tax of N66.7billion for the nine (9) months period of January to September, 2014.

UBA Big Deal For E-Banking In December, Gets Multiple Awards

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has announced incentives to encourage its customers to use electronic channels for their transactions in
December.

Tagged: “UBA Cashless December,” the initiative according to a statement from the bank is aimed at encouraging non-cash transactions, in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) cashless policy.

It explained that beginning from today to December 31 2014, its customers that carry out transactions on its U-Mobile, U-Direct or pay with their cards on the web and PoS would have a chance to win prizes.

In addition, the bank stated that cardholders who use its ATM value-added services such as bill payment, airtime top up and funds transfer are also eligible.

It listed the prizes to be won to include iPhone 6, airtime for phones, movie tickets, and shopping vouchers. These incentives are for new and existing UBA customers.

“Going cashless during this festive period is not only convenient, but it also enhances your personal safety and protects your hard earned money,” the bank’s Divisional Head of e-Banking, Dr. Yinka Adedeji
explained.

He also noted that “going cashless means customers abstaining from all forms of cash transactions and embracing e-Banking.
“UBA’s highly secure mobile banking platform, U-Mobile, enables customers carry out about 90 per cent of all their regular banking transactions on their phones.

“U-Mobile customers can do funds transfer from their UBA accounts to any bank in Nigeria. Customers can also pay different bills, including air time top-up, cable subscription and transfer funds to loved ones for the festive season.”

He also described the U-Direct as UBA’s internet banking platform that enables customers do most of their transactions from a desk top computer, laptop or tablet from any location and at anytime.

“Foreign exchange transfer has been introduced on this platform making it easy to send money across the world without visiting the bank,” he added.

Meanwhile the Bank has swept the global banking awards in London Thursday, winning in five categories to become one of the highest single winning bank brands ‎at this year’s awards.

During the event, organized annually by The Banker magazine, UBA was voted ‘Bank of the Year in Africa’ for 2014, trumping others to win the highly coveted award for pan-African bank brands. This is the second time in three years that UBA Plc has won the prestigious award; the first time was in 2012. Four country subsidiaries of UBA Group in Sierra Leone, Gabon, Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire also won “Bank of the Year” for their respective countries, reflecting a brand excellence that cuts across national bounds and pervades the continent. UBA Senegal won the award for the third consecutive year, having won in 2012 and 2013.

Group Managing Director/CEO for UBA Plc, Phillips Oduoza, said, “winning this award twice in three years is a recognition of our commitment to delivering excellence and our consistent achievement of that goal. We remain focused on the realization of our strategi intent of becoming “Africa’s Global Bank” and continue to explore opportunities in markets and sectors across the continent that will enable us achieve this intent,” said Mr. Oduoza.

A publication of the Financial Times newspaper, The Banker is a global financial intelligence magazine that provides global bank ratings and analyses and is the definitive reference on international banking for high level decision makers globally. According to the magazine, the aim of the award ceremony “is to highlight industry wide excellence within the global banking community.”

One winning bank is selected from participating banks in each of the 120 countries from which entries are received for the competition.

Associate Publisher of the magazine, Philip Church, stressed that UBA’s performance at the awards is a testimony to the trust the bank’s clients have placed on the bank and its operations over the year. “Being named as Bank of the Year in your own country by the world’s longest running international banking title is testament to the strong management, sound business model and prudent risk approach of your bank” said Mr. Church.

Only last September, UBA won ‘Best Transaction Bank from Africa’. The award which focuses on transaction banking does not only recognizes banks that have mad improvements to their investments in technology, but more importantly how these improvements are of real use to the bank’s customers, noted Jane Cooper, Transaction Banking Editor at The Banker.

Uduaghan Hails Jonathan As CBN Rolls Out N2 Billion Micro, Small, Medium Fund in Delta

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Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan declared in Asaba on Monday that contrary to the perception of a segment of the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan was working quietly to develop the country.
Governor Uduaghan who spoke at the official roll out of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMED) in Delta State, explained that President Jonathan has done a lot in the implementation of his transformation agenda for the nation.
“I want to thank you, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and through you, I want to thank Mr. President because if Mr. President does not allow you to do what you are doing now, you will not be able to do it, so, I want to thank President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is quietly developing Nigeria, I thank him,” Governor Uduaghan said.
Dr. Uduaghan receiving the symbolic  N2 billion cheque  from the CBN Governor,  Mr. Godwin Emefiele said that the Delta State Government would give out the loan at zero interest by paying off  the 9 per cent interest of N180 million on behalf of the beneficiaries as well as bear the cost of logistics in the disbursement of the fund.
 “I want to commend you (CBN Governor) for the support you have given to the state, you are here to roll out MSMED fund which is the brain-child of your leadership in the CBN,” the Governor said, emphasizing, “the fund is not being rolled out because you are from the state, it is being done because Delta State has prepared for the fund. We have worked hard to meet the criteria for the fund; you can recall that at the launching of this fund in August by President Goodluck Jonathan, Delta State was one of the two states that qualified for the fund.
“I want to assure the CBN that the fund will go to the real beneficiaries, you don’t need to be a politician to get the fund, you must meet the criteria before benefiting from it, I want to say that the whole N2 billion will go to the beneficiaries as the state government will provide the logistics needed, this loan will be at zero interest rates to Deltans as the state government will pay the 9 per cent interest on the loan which amounts to N180 million to the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.
The governor explained that the Delta State Government in designing its micro credit programme has  “been cautiously  and consciously biased towards the pro-poor in our execution of our programme, we have laid emphasis in the areas of education, health, water supply, transportation which benefits the pro-poor, those people at the bottom of the pyramid, we ensure that we can touch these set of people, that is why this type of programme gladdens my heart,” he said.
He charged old participants in the programme to put their experience at the disposal of new entrants by mentoring them to ensure that they pay back as at when due so that the programme does not suffer set back.
The CBN Governor, Mr Emefiele explained that the apex bank initiated the N220 billion MSMED fund as “a catalyst to stimulate economic growth and poverty alleviation in Nigeria, the fund couldn’t have come out at a better time than now where there is fall in price of oil.
“It will be a means of diversifying our economic base through production of goods locally and reduce the pressure on our foreign reserve,” adding that the fund has been structured to be accessed by those who really needed them the most rather than those who were  privileged politically.
He commended Governor Uduaghan’s administration for designing a robust micro credit programme that has imparted greatly on the less endowed segment of the society, “it is no mean feat to set up a Ministry to alleviate our people from poverty into prosperity, I took note of some of the things produced by the beneficiaries of the micro-credit programme, from the young graduates to the elderly, it tells that when you are faced with challenges, you turn to your creative ability to create development for yourself and your country, I salute you (Governor Uduaghan).”
“The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation have done what the CBN want to do, working with people, banks and granting loans to ensure economic growth and diversification,” he added.
High point of the occasion was the presentation of N2 billion cheque to the Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and the presentation of certificates to beneficiaries of the MSMED fund.

UBA’s Ruby: 4 Awesome Reasons Why You Ladies, Sisters & Mums Should Go For It

Phillips Oduoza, UBA - MD

It’s a new priority product for female customers with current account. According to the bank, Ruby is a current account offered by UBA exclusively to its female bank customers to satisfy some of their business and personal needs.

1.     A statement by UBA said, “Priority Pass’ is the new value added services offered by UBA to Ruby account customers. The ‘Priority Pass’ grants customers access to over 600 VIP lounges in more than 100 countries and 300 cities worldwide regardless of the class of travel or airline a Ruby account holder flies.

It further quoted the bank’s Head, Retail Products, Mr. Olumide Osunyomi as saying, “Priority Pass membership offers great value for money and allows members to use any of 600 airport lounges whenever they travel.”

She said some of the benefits the account holders would enjoy when they travel include: access to over 600 VIP lounges in more than 100 countries and 300 cities worldwide; use lounges regardless of the class of travel or airline they are flying; privileged access to over 70 US Airport VIP Lounges; relaxation ambience for both customer and her guests; complimentary refreshments and snacks as well as access to e-mail, Internet and conference space powered by WiFi technology.

2.    “Ruby is a unique current account in the Nigerian banking industry because it is not just a bank account. Once you have a Ruby account, you join an exclusive club of discerning women enjoying access and significant discounts on great services and products.” Olumide said.

Besides, the additional perks that comes with having a Ruby account, account holders also enjoy up to 25 per cent exclusive discounts to access products and services from UBA accredited Ruby Partners nationwide

3.     According to the bank, current partners where Ruby account holders can enjoy significant discounts are; AA Rescue, Ruff and Tumble, Laterna ventures, Zaron International, Clear essence Spa, Avis Nigeria, Mega care, Fine and Country, Bulwark Vault & Safes Deposit.

Exquisite Magazine, Nathans Superior Dry-Cleaners, Laserderm Clinics, Body Boost, Prime Wash Drycleaners, Ginger Blu, Bold & Beautiful Salon and many more.

4.     “The benefits of having a Ruby account are many. You will hardly have any other bank account that offers so much perks for free. We understand that every woman needs to be pampered and cared for, which is what Ruby has been designed to do,” said Olumide.

She noted that the Ruby current account was the only bank account specifically targeted at women among UBA’s bouquet of retail banking products

Champagne & Beer Prices Increase As Hard Times Hit Nigeria Over Global Fall In Oil

 

nigeria alcoholic drinksJonathan’s government has announced austerity measures in Nigeria as oil price slide from $100 to $80 globally. One of the effects is heavy taxation on Alcoholic beverages which will lead to increase in price.

The decline in the price of crude oil may have started taking its toll on Nigeria   as   the Federal Government on Sunday announced measures aimed at cushioning its impact on the economy.

The Minister of Finance and the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy , Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced this   Abuja while addressing journalists on the Federal Government’s response to the crisis in Abuja on Sunday.

The measures which will   see Nigerians paying tax on luxury goods, the nation would be experiencing a challenging time owing to the global fall in oil prices.

The other measures, according to her,   are a reduction in public expenditures and international travels by public servants.

As part of the efforts to reduce expenditure, she said international travel within the public service would be severely curtailed,

“We are not talking about (cutting) salaries and benefits. We are talking of trainings and travels and these will be only for critical and essential items which will be pre-approved by the Head of Service and the Director-General of the   Budget Office and then if someone invites you for overseas course, you can go provided they pay for your training and your stay and you have to furnish evidence that they are paying

“The drop in oil prices is a serious challenge which we must confront as a country. We must be prepared to make sacrifices where necessary.

“But we should also not forget that we retain some important advantages such as a broad economic base driven by the private sector and anchored on sound policies.

“Our strategy is to continue to strengthen the sectors that drive growth such as agriculture and housing while reducing waste with a renewed focus on prudence.”

She stated that the decline in oil prices had given additional impetus to the Federal Government’s focus on increasing non-oil revenues.

In this regard, the collection target for the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which has been working with Mckinsey to increase receipts will be revised upwards for next year.

Se said the country had recorded good success in reaching the initial target set this year of N75bn; noting that so far N65bn of this had been collected.

For 2015, the minister put the revised target at N160bn above the 2014 base.

Okonjo-Iweala also unveiled plans by the   government to introduce what she called “tax on luxurious goods,” stating that this was a part of measures aimed at increasing revenue from non-oil sources.

She said that users of luxurious items, such as private jets, yachts, alcoholic beverages and expensive cars, would be required to pay special taxes for such goods.

The minister, who said the government was still compiling the list of luxurious goods to be taxed under the new initiative, assured that the proceeds from these items and services would be used to support the economy from external shocks.

She said, “We all know the definition of luxury goods, we are still compiling the lists and one of the things we can tax is champagne, alcoholic beverages, jets, luxury cars- we will look at the engine capacity, and yachts.

“We are putting the list together but we intend to do a surcharge going forward on these items.

“The principle is that those who are better off in the society and I hope they won’t mind will be willing to share a bit more in remitting a little bit more to the treasury than what they normally do .

Rejects calls to print more Naira

On calls from some quarters that the Federal Government should respond to the decline in revenues   by printing more naira to fund projects, the minister said that such recommendations would be disastrous for the country if implemented.

Okonjo-Iweala , who argued that such prescriptions ignored the elementary principles of economics, said “printing money without adequate revenue support will lead to serious consequences for the country.

“It will spur inflation as the experiences of Germany in the early part of the last century and more recently, Argentina and Zimbabwe demonstrate.

“This prescription will victimise the poor and the middle class that it is supposedly protecting.”

She explained that the best way to protect the interest of the ordinary people was to control inflation as much as possible, expand the economic base, strengthen the sectors that drive growth, boost critical infrastructure and create more jobs.

The minister added, “We have already started doing that, the results are already coming but we still have a lot of work to do.

“To show how serious government is about job creation, President Jonathan will tomorrow, (Monday) November 17 launch the 4th edition of YouWin to support another 1,500 entrepreneurs along with a private equity fund for entrepreneurs.

“That is an expression of government’s commitment and seriousness to job creation.”

The implementation of the new mortgage system, including the current processing of over 66,000 applicants for mortgages, according to her, will go on as planned.

This, she added, would help to ensure that the country reaps the strong benefits that will come from unleashing the housing revolution which is attracting serious interest from local and international investors.

Also, unaffected are public sector wages as well as key initiatives in education, health and other areas critical to the country’s human development.

Meanwhile, financial experts have said that Nigerians should be ready for a harsh economy in the nearest future as a result of the continued fall in the prices of oil.

The experts, while reacting to the   measures adopted by the Federal Government, stated that the decline was only the beginning.

They spoke with our correspondents during separate interviews on Sunday.

A renowned economist and Chief Executive, Financial Derivatives Company, Mr. Bismark Rewane, stated that the step by the government was a good start, but wondered if the measures   would actually cushion the impact of the falling oil prices.

He said, “That is a good start. The most important thing is the fact that the government has come to accept that it has to do something with respect to the falling oil prices. What we are seeing now is not a short-term phenomenon. Whether the therapy is adequate is another issue. But I think it is a good move and it has not ruled out other moves.

“On the $2bn withdrawal from the ECA, I don’t think that will make any impact. The reality is that we have to look at what is important. And what is important is that the Nigerian government has come to terms to the fact that it has to start austerity. So it is encouraging and this is the beginning of a number of steps to be adopted.”

On whether there might be more measures, Rewane said, “Certainly, this is just the beginning. And I will like to say that it will be good for Nigeria to accept the reality on ground presently.”

Also, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Nzekwe, said the government’s resolve to adopt austerity measures was not surprising.

He said, “About 80 per cent of our earning is from oil and so it is not a surprise that the government is adopting austerity measures considering the fact that oil prices are falling. This is actually the beginning o things to happen. Apart from imposing tax on luxuries, they should look at how to diversify the economy by creating enabling environment so that industries can thrive.

“Increasing or taxing more utilities is not the major solution. The government should now make more efforts to diversify the economy. They should make concerted efforts to ensure that the agricultural sector and a few others are working.

“Nigerians may not worry much about the tax issue because it is expected but this tax should be used wisely. It should not end in the pockets of a few individuals because since the country’s earning is mostly from oil, it means a fall in the price of this commodity will deny Nigeria a lot of income to build roads, power plants and many other things that will benefit the ordinary Nigerian.”

The All Progressives Congress, through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, described the proposed austerity measures as a reflection of the massive corruption inherent in the Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party government .

It argued     that it was unfair for the Federal Government to subject Nigerians to austerity measures after frittering away the “petrodollars accruable to the country in the last 15 years.

Dangote’s Price Slash Revebrates Globally, Becomes Game Changer!

aliko dangote

Dawnward review of cement price to N1000 per bag by Billionaie Aliko Dangote has become the talk-of-town locally and globally. It has changed prices of competitive, complimentary, substitute and auxiliary products.

One of the competitors the Chairman of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, has even thrown his weight and support behind the  Dangote Cement reduction in the cost of bag of cement to N1000, a 40 per cent price cut.

Rabiu said he has always been concerned about the high cost of cement in the country and has often advocated for a reduction in cost so that more Nigerians can have access to the product and realise their dream of owning houses.

“It is against this background that I commend Alhaji Aliko Dangote for this patriotic initiative, which is long overdue.”

“What Dangote has done today is significant. I am very pleased about it because it would make the cost of the product more affordable to Nigerians. With the price being low, it will result in more consumers buying the product which will drive up volume and increase market share for all stakeholders. I hereby urge all cement producers to emulate Dangote and bring down the cost of cement. There is absolutely no reason for a bag of cement costing so much. While it is true that we have infrastructural challenges, it is not so much as to make the cost of cement so expensive.

“On our part, I have already directed all our plants to follow suit and implement the new price regime. We still believe that more can be done to bring down the price even further for the benefit of Nigerians.”

There is really no reason for cement to cost more than N1000 per bag, bearing in mind the massive success of the backward integration policy, which implementation commenced 12 years ago, in which tens of billions of dollars has been directly and indirectly injected into the Nigerian cement industry with Dangote Cement accounting for more of this. This has seen cement national productivity rising from a mere 2.2 million tonnes to over 30 million tonnes.

BUA Group acquired the Edo State Cement Company three years ago and has pumped over $500 million in putting up a greenfield, three million tonnes per annum plant deploying the latest technology in cement production. The plant is billed to be commissioned in the first quarter of next year. It has gone from its 500,000 tonnes capacity annual production to 3.5 million tonnes per annum.

The company also has controlling equity in Sokoto Cement Company also known as Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), which is also being expanded with an installation of 1.5 million tonnes per annum. Construction is in progress and is expected to be commissioned in early 2016.

10 Factors That Gave Diamond Top Job To Uzoma Dozie

UZOMA-DOZIE1.     Its natural to believe he got the job as son of the owner, well….. that may be a factor, but yet there are others.

The Board of Directors of Diamond Bank has announced the resignation of Dr Alex Otti effective October 30th 2014 and the appointment of Mr. Uzoma Dozie as its new Group Managing Director effective November 1st 2014. 

The Bank’s Board approved the appointment of Uzoma Dozie as Group Managing Director/ CEO- designate subject to CBN approval.

 2.     Uzoma Dozie who is 45 years old, began his banking career 20 years ago spanning various roles and functions related to Credit and Marketing, Planning and Financial Control and Business Process Re-engineering.

3.     He is currently the driving force behind the Bank’s market leadership in the Nigerian Retail Banking space, championing major innovations in e-banking (Diamond Mobile app), banking the un-banked (Diamond Yello and BETA proposition) and masterminding the strategy for promoting a seamless transition to a cashless economy.

 4.     Uzoma Dozie graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Reading, Berkshire England. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Chemical Research from University College, London in 1992. As he progressed in his professional career, he enrolled at the Imperial College Management School, London, where he obtained an MBA with specialisation in Finance (MBA finance) in 1998.

 5.      He started his banking career from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1993 where he worked in the Commercial Banking Unit, and later moved to Citizens International Bank Limited where he worked in the Oil and Gas Division. In 1998, he joined Diamond Bank Plc as an Assistant Manager and Head of the Bank’s Oil and Gas Group where he expanded the Bank’s Oil and Gas businesses.

 6.     Having acquired years of experience in business development,  Uzoma moved to the Financial Control Group of the Bank in 2000 and rose through the ranks to become the Bank’s Financial Controller. As the Financial Controller, Uzoma was charged with the responsibility of managing the Bank’s balance sheet, developing various MIS reports and reporting the Bank’s financial records to regulatory authorities. While in Financial Control, Uzoma served in various Management Committees including the Assets and Liabilities Committee, Cost Management Committee, Personnel Management Committee, New Products Committee, Management Credit Committee, and other ad hoc Committees at various times. He implemented various initiatives including laying the foundation for the deployment of paperless office programs and improved Management Information Systems.

7.      In 2004, Uzoma spent time with the Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (ABSA) where he was exposed to the rudiments of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management. Upon his return, he set up the Personal Banking Group with focus on offering propositions to the Affluent and Mass Market customer segments (Retail Business). Uzoma developed various partnerships with business franchises for retail business growth, created market awareness and developed various retail propositions to drive liability generation.

8.      Following his success in Personal Banking, Uzoma was appointed an Executive Director in 2006. In 2008, he was reassigned the Corporate Banking portfolio where he was responsible for managing and developing relationships in Oil and Gas, Power, Infrastructure, Construction, General Commerce and Manufacturing businesses. In 2010, Uzoma’s responsibilities were expanded to include acting as the Bank’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) following the retirement of the erstwhile CFO. As the acting CFO, Uzoma oversaw the Bank’s corporate strategy, Financial Management, Business Transformation and Investor Relations.

9.      In February 2011, following the appointment of a new CFO, Uzoma’s responsibility was modified to cover Corporate Banking and all Businesses in Lagos and West regions. While in charge of Corporate Banking and Regional Business, Lagos, Uzoma developed and nurtured business clienteles in the middle market and national corporate segments, in addition to his corporate banking functions.

10.     In January 2014, he was re-assigned to the Retail Banking Directorate and appointed Deputy Managing Director in April 2014. During his banking career, Uzoma attended various local and offshore training programs including the High Performance Leadership Program in IMD International, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School; Credit Risk Analysis and Management at Citibank, New york. He is currently the Secretary of Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria (HBSAN).

 The Board believes that Uzoma’s wealth of experience, remarkable leadership skills and strong mentorship capabilities will serve to help the Bank achieve its short and long term goals especially in the highly competitive Banking industry in Nigeria.

Diamond Bank Empowers Nigerian Youths With World-Class ICT Skills

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, Diamond Bank Plc is empowering 100 Nigerian youths in selected tertiary institutions, with top-of-the-range Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Entrepreneurial Skills. At the completion of the three months training programme, the trainees would have learnt and internalised world-class ICT knowledge and skills that would help them face the future with predictable successful outcome.

Ayona Trimnell, Head, Corporate Communications of the Bank, stated that this year’s ICT capacity building programme is scheduled to hold in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria from October to December 2014, noting that preparing and fortifying the youths for the future with the requisite up-to-date ICT knowledge and skills, is one of the surest ways to guarantee certainty, and bring Nigerian youths to play and compete at the global stage.

According to her, “Our activity in this area focuses on training and equipping students of tertiary institutions in the states across the country with (ICT) and Entrepreneurial Skills. The training will not only provide the youths with practical skills that makes them employable but will also serve as a source of livelihood through ICT skills development”.

Trimnell stated further that Diamond Bank is particularly interested in young people because they hold the key for providing superior value and technology-based innovation for the future; and represent the strategic vision of the Bank’s operations; therefore are a core of its strategic focus.

It could be recalled that the first edition of the ICT capacity training programme held in October 2013 with 100 students from two tertiary institutions in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State benefitting from the training scheme.

The initiative is being implemented in partnership with Paradigm Initiative of Nigeria (PIN), a social enterprise organisation that connects underserved Nigerian youths with ICT opportunities. The capacity training initiative will highlight the ill effects of unemployment and cybercrime among other vices that limit the potential contribution of young Nigerians to the nation’s economy. On behalf of the Bank, PIN provides trainees withcontinued post-program mentorship and support for a period of six months after graduation.