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The unveiling of the all-new 2018 Kia Rio marked the exciting premiere of the new wave of sub-compact car in Nigeria. The fourth-generation Kia Rio, as Kia’s global best-seller, has been completely redesigned and re-engineered to exceed the expectations of all car enthusiasts across the globe. The new Rio has arrived in an even more compelling package with enhanced aesthetics and functionality. It has been redesigned for a more dramatic and distinctive look, boasting sleek, straight lines and sophisticated interior. The bestselling model also delivers a powerful driving experience with responsive and engaging handling.

Among the most anticipated vehicles for the 2018 model year, the all-new Kia Rio definitely stands out. Making its grand debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, the all-new Rio sedan is slightly bigger in size than its predecessor and is certainly sleeker with more balanced ride characteristics. Considering its enhanced technology and performance along with tremendous value, it is not surprising that the all-new Rio is already gaining widespread attention in the subcompact market.

New Look, New Attitude

The 2018 Kia Rio’s pleasing proportions mask its diminutive dimensions, avoiding the vaguely bubble-top look of many compact cars. The car has a higher ground clearance, wider and longer, the wheels have been pushed farther toward the corners, and the windshield has been made more upright. The overall effect makes the Rio the best-looking vehicle in its segment.

The inside has also been upgraded and feels very solidly built. The redesigned dash and gauge cluster looks upscale as well, so even though the Rio is a budget-priced car, it doesn’t feel cheap. The interior presents itself better than cars costing more. Additional sound insulation, a redesigned suspension, and revised steering help, too, making the new Rio feel buttoned-down and solid on the road. At speed on the freeway, the car has the sense of the weight of a larger vehicle, but when the road gets twisty, it reveals a planted sportiness. It’s a subcompact car where nothing feels flimsy or like a design afterthought. From the ground up, the 2018 Rio is a solid car that just happens to be very small.

The intelligently designed dashboard and center console, along with a windshield that has less rake, help the Rio feel surprisingly roomy on the inside. Rear-seat headroom is another surprise, as a 6-foot passenger sits upright comfortably. Rear legroom has grown 2 inches from the previous model. The front seats are comfortable, accommodating and wide enough to give most drivers plenty of breathing room. The seat feels a little lower and sportier than many subcompacts. Thanks to a lowered window line, outward visibility is excellent, while the steering wheel also has plenty of telescoping range, something taller drivers will greatly appreciate.In terms of ride and handling, the new model remains the sportiest offering in the segment.

The Rio is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.4-liter gasoline direct-injected four-cylinder engine pumping out Max. Power (ps/rpm) 100/6,000 and 123/6,300 Max. Torque (kg·m/rpm) with a six-speed automatic transmission, driving the front wheels. The Rio has adopted Kia’s current design language — overseen by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer — along with a brash look that is distinctive and upscale. A smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission effortlessly transfers the engine’s torque to the wheels, offers quick, smooth shifts and gear ratios matched to the engine’s torque curve. For utility, the Rio sedan offers 13.7 cubic feet of cargo room.

Style matters

With a slender tiger-nose grille, crispier lines and swept-back headlights for a more aggressive appearance, the impressive roster of styling details perfectly sum up how captivating the fourth generation Rio really is.

Slightly larger in size over the previous generation, the Rio’s new look is emphasized by the stretched thin and wide tiger nose grille. The vertical side vents and the sporty headlights at the front accentuate its stance, giving it a bolder look. The horizontal styling of the Rio further sends enchanting vibes with its roof seamlessly extending to the rear edge. To add an even sportier touch, the Rio offers an improved ergonomics.

Perfect fit for urban driving

Ideally suited to urban driving, the new Rio has become decidedly more sophisticated and athletic for driver enjoyment. The little Rio has always been compact enough for urban parking on crowded streets, and so is the redesigned Rio.

For a more engaging driving experience, the latest Rio is equipped with a  1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, improving the driving dynamics as well as fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions over the outgoing Rio. Able to deliver exceptional power and torque, the turbocharged Rio is ever-more capable of maneuvering, making a long commute or weekend road trip all the more pleasant.

Stable and safe

Rio’s solid structure makes use of advanced high-strength steel to increase durability and torsional stiffness for improved handling and ride quality as well as collision protection. And for the first time, the Rio offers optional Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a system that detects obstacles and automatically applies the brakes to avoid accidents. Standard safety features include airbags, side-impact door beams, a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

“This fourth-generation Rio makes significant improvements over its predecessor in design, technology and passenger comfort, resulting in an even better value proposition while raising the bar in the small-car segment. All in all, the 2018 all-new Rio is a most reliable driving companion, especially if you are looking for a versatile subcompact with a well-tuned combination of style, safety, and affordability,” said Debanja Paul, assistant vice president of sales, Kia Motors Nigeria.

In addition to the improved design and ergonomics, the 2018 Kia Rio is the most technically advanced version of the model ever produced with the new integration of the latest safety features and cabin technologies. Mature and sophisticated, the fourth-generation Rio has joined the stream of made in Nigeria cars by Kia and is currently available for the markets.

The Kia Rio has been setting the Nigerian market on fire recently, having outsold other models in its segment for over a decade and remains Kia’s best-selling car internationally. That means the highly sophisticated Rio carries a lot of big expectations, and the newly redesigned version made it clear how seriously our global engineers took the task of updating the all-new Kia Rio” said Olawale Jimoh, Marketing Manager, Kia Motors Nigeria.

The 1.4-liter MPI unit feels relaxed and ready to serve up plenty of go without nervous stabs at the throttle, offering confident overtaking on the highway without much drama or noise. Likewise, road and wind noise stay at a comfortable minimum thanks to tall tires on 15-inch wheels soaking up most of the broken pavement. The 2018 Kia Rio is now available in all the showrooms across the country. Customers’ first impressions were positive, and the new Rio came across as a comfortable, solidly built, and smartly designed a compact car with above-average driving dynamics for the class. The Rio, since launching in Nigeria, has impressed all with its quiet interior, solid driving dynamics and impressive use of power and performance.

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank to disburse CBN’s N100bn loan to health, sells FX to SMEs, education sectors

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As part of proactive measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 and revamp the nation’s dwindling economy, Heritage Bank is set to disburse the N100billion set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This is in line with the apex bank’s policy to introduce another intervention scheme directed to the health sector, which is known as the NGN100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare sector (the Scheme). Specifically, the scheme is to provide credit to indigenous pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare value chain players intending to build or expand capacity.

Also, the CBN resumed provision of foreign exchange to all commercial banks for onward sales to parents wishing to pay schools fees and small medium enterprises (SMEs) with plans to make essential imports needed to revamp economic activities across the country. In particular, the CBN is resuming the provision of over US$100 million per week for both categories.

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank serves as a conduit which will assess and channel the profiles of interested applicants to the CBN while using its platforms to create awareness for the scheme.

The CBN has also made complete arrangements to resume foreign exchange sales to the BDC segment of the market for business travels, personal travels, and other designated retail uses, as soon as international flights resume.

To access the N100bn loans provided by the CBN for firms in the healthcare sector, a corporate entity must submit its application to a participating financial institution (PFI) which could be either a Deposit Money Bank or a Development Finance Institution of its choice with a bankable business plan.

It stated in its latest guidelines that the PFI must appraise and conduct due diligence on the application; and upon approval by the PFI’s credit committee, the application would be submitted to the apex bank with relevant documents attached.

The CBN would process and disburse funds to the PFI for onward release to the project, it added.

The CBN stated that the PFI must receive and review applications submitted by its customers; undertake due diligence based on normal business considerations, and bear the credit risk.

They must also issue offer letters and forward qualified applications to the CBN; disburse the released funds to successful applicants; monitor the project and recover the loans from the beneficiaries, and maintain adequate records of all beneficiaries and facilities.

It requires the PFIs to register all movable assets with the National Collateral Registry; forward periodic returns in the prescribed format on the scheme to the CBN; comply with the guidelines, and carry out any other duties as the CBN may prescribe from time to time.

According to the CBN, eligible participants under the scheme comprise healthcare product manufacturers – pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; and healthcare service providers/medical facilities – hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centres/laboratories, fitness and wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, dialysis centres and blood banks, among others.

Others include pharmaceutical/medical products distribution and logistics services; and other human healthcare service providers as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.

Eligible activities under the scheme would include manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; establishment/expansion/upgrade of basic and specialised healthcare facilities; and medical/pharmaceutical supplies.

Others are medical/pharmaceutical research and development; distribution of medical/pharmaceutical drugs and supplies; Manufacturing of medical/pharmaceutical drugs distribution technology; and any other healthcare value chain activity as may be prescribed by the CBN.

The CBN said the term loan had a maximum of N2billion per obligor; and the interest rate under the intervention would not be more than five per cent per annum up until February 28, 2021; and that interest on the facility would revert to nine percent as from March 2021.

To access further details on the modalities, interested persons and institutions can logon Heritage Bank’s website (www.hbng.com).

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Banking

COVID 19 Rebound: We are building Entrepreneurs and supporting financial Inclusion through Xpress Point Agents – Ecobank

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Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated that its agency banking scheme, also known as Xpress Points, is building entrepreneurs and pushing financial inclusion to the large unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The Ecobank Xpress Point enables eligible Agents to carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) and earn commission on every transaction processed. The consumer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch. Ecobank Xpress Points is also a channel that can be used for the deployment of national social intervention programmes of the Government.

The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neoghbourhood to provide easy banking services.

Speaking in Lagos, Nike Kolawole, Head, Agency Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said unemployed and retired persons should avail themselves the opportunity to earn extra income by keying into services offered by the bank as Xpress point agents. According to her, the Ecobank Xpress point which are in various neighbourhoods across the country, are well positioned to facilitate basic financial transactions, with the process and services simplified to attend to a broad spectrum of the society.

She further disclosed that agency banking in general, brings about economic and youth empowerment by way of job creation and earning extra income, adding that small savers can easily do their savings at home or near their home. This leads to financial inclusion of the underbanked in the country.

For now, Ecobank has over 43,000 agents across Africa. The agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission per transaction processed. Xpress Points can also be used as a channel for the deployment of national social intervention programmes, especially at this time that we are fighting the impact of lockdowns due to the COVID-19.”

Kolawole listed the services offered by the Xpress point agents as; cash in, cash out, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge, remittance and account opening, among others. She added that the services are available for “sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, microfinance banks, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair saloon and others.”

Ecobank boasts of a bouquet of digital channels comprising solutions aimed at delivering convenient, accessible and reliable financial services. For instance, users of the bank’s USSD code, *326# carry out transactions without paying session charges. The USSD platform, *326#, makes it possible to open an Xpress account and Xpress Save account instantly. The bank’s mobile banking app, Ecobank Mobile offers the option of generating a virtual card; this comes in handy as customers are continually turning to web payments for their shopping and payments. The Ecobank virtual card offers the flexibility and convenience of creating a shopping card that is not linked to a customer’s account but is fully capable of carrying out online payments. The virtual card can also be shared with loved ones as a gift card for their own shopping.

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BUSINESS

Mastercard Builds on COVID-19 Response with Commitment to Connect 1 Billion People

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Extends effort beyond 500 million financially included over the past five years; Maximizes technology, partnerships to deliver aid, insights and access to businesses and communities; Programs like the Mastercard Farmer Network and Kasha are connecting people across East Africa.

The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard (www.Mastercard.com) has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.

The extended commitment builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 related health and economic challenges facing individuals all over the world, including in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Financial inclusion remains key to unlocking the potential of Sub-Saharan Africa, and will become crucial as we support Governments in driving long-term, sustainable economic recovery. Digital transactions are both safe and efficient and giving access to these for as many people as possible, is an important part of supporting the most vulnerable parts of the population through the current situation. Our focus right now – beyond philanthropy – is to steadfastly continue collaborating  with governments and private sector partners on solutions that are safe, viable, and most importantly, socially impactful for communities across the region,” said Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system. It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.

The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion (www.Mastercard.us) – the technology company’s first lab focused on financial inclusion – is committed to empowering millions of Africans through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions. One such solution is the Mastercard Farmer Network, a mobile platform that improves market access, increases price transparency and digitizes payments to connect small farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

East Africa is also served by Kasha, an e-commerce platform optimized for women’s health and personal care. It offers confidential and convenient service, online/offline digital ordering and delivery to both urban and low-income rural areas. In Uganda, Mastercard launched Kupaa in partnership with UNICEF Uganda and the country’s Ministry of Education. It enables parents and caregivers to pay school fees and other school expenses with their mobile phones securely, easily, and in small payments when they are able, easing the burden of lump sum payments.

Mastercard also expanded its partnership with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store) – a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend credit for stock purchases.

Additional efforts include ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programs.

This announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach. That work includes:

  • In the first weeks of the global health crisis, Mastercard committed up to $25 million in seed funding to establish the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (www.TherapeuticsAccelerator.org) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others to help speed up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by discovering, developing and scaling-up treatments for deployment around the world.
  • Mastercard has committed $250 million in financial, technology, product and services support over the next five years to small businesses in many markets where it operates, supporting the vitality of businesses and the financial security of their workers.
  • Mastercard is leveraging its network to provide support to governments around the world in a range of areas. This includes providing data insights to inform policymakers about the economic impact of the pandemic; increasing the speed and efficacy of aid disbursements to communities and business segments that need it most; developing donation platforms to enable emergency fundraising; and working with governments to assist business owners and consumers with cyber vulnerability assessments.
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