By Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma (NAN)
For many years, until the early 1980s, the Nigerian textile industry was the highest employer of labour, after the public sector. Sadly, the industry is in dire straits battling for survival in recent times.
Among the challenges that confronted the sector were policy inconsistency leading to closure of many textile companies occasioned by poor power supply, smuggling, poor access to finance and high operating cost, among others.
It is unarguable that the closure of many textile companies contributed to the rise in the country’s high unemployment rate, rising insecurity and other social vices.
It is against this backdrop that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently lamented the country’s descent from being a textile giant to a mediocre player in the world economy.
Emefiele said Nigeria used to be home to Africa’s largest textile industry in the 1970s and early 1980s with the employment of over 450,000 people.
“The textile industry at that time was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.
“The industry was supported by the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
“This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as the United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, Texlon, Enpee and Aswani Mills, among others.
“In addition, the cotton growing sector has gone dead, thereby depriving thousands of smallholder farmers the chance to earn a living.
Furthermore, a large proportion of our clothing materials today are imported from China and countries in Europe,” Emeifele stated.
It is against this background that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, in line with its celebratory 125th anniversary , themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”, on Oct. 2 commemorated the country’s independence with a locally made textile attire.
Specifically, the bank set aside Oct. 2 to have all staff wear a locally made textile attire adorned in its 125 anniversary logo and over 18,000 staff across the bank and FBN Holdings participated.
The bank in a statement attributed the initiative to moves to celebrate the country’s 59th Independence anniversary and at the same time support the textile industry.
“The native attire fashion statement by FirstBank and the FBN Holdings Group is rooted in our trust in the diverse opportunities the textile industry provides.
“And indeed its contribution to national growth and development, vis-à-vis the job opportunities, youth and women empowerment, as well as the entrepreneurship driven influence its creates cannot be overemphasised.
“The bank is indeed honored to have been woven into the Fabric of Society in the last 125 years and is committed to keep promoting activities and opportunities that contribute to the growth of the textile industry.” it added.
Apart from the above intitative, FirstBank also provide access to market and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) of the fashion industry with an initiative tagged Fashion Souk.
The bank partners with Eventful Nigeria Ltd with Fashion Souk, a platform that creates an opportunity for players in the fashion industry to exhibit and sell their wares to the thousands of event participants.
The bank also in a bid to ensure sustainability of the industry recently introduced fashion design loan specifically designed to offer financial support to the participants in the textile industry.
The bank’s fashion design loan with a single obligor limit of up to two million naira is targeted at tailors, dressmakers and traders in clothing accessories with no tangible collateral required.
To be eligible for the loan, applicants must have been in line of business for a minimum of three years.
Commenting on the development, Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), described the initiative as a wonderful concept.
“I hope those in the local textiles value chain will key into it and take advantage of this initiative.
“FirstBank should also ensure that the concept is properly communicated to the larger audience to ensure more patronage of locally made textile,” Igbrude said.
He noted that the Federal Government on its part should encourage institutions that are supporting our local industries by way tax incentives.
Also speaking, Mr Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended the bank’s support for local fabric and the textile industry.
Mikail said that the initiative would boost the morale of interested bodies who would like to venture into local fabric in promoting our culture to the world.
He said that the bank should focus on the fashion designers who would be ready to promote Nigerian mode of dressing to meet the world class in fashion design.
“This will help in promoting Made in Nigeria fabric and it will also encourage an interested investor to venture into textile industry business and this will tranform our economy,” Mikail stated. (NAN)
FIRSTBANK PARTNERS WITH CFA SOCIETY NIGERIA TO HOST 2019 ETHICS CHALLENGE COMPETITION
In the furtherance of the Bank’s commitment to promote business ethics, professional excellence and education, reflected in the Bank’s Endowment programme – the Samuel Asabia Chair for Business Ethics at the University of Lagos – First Bank of Nigeria Limited for three consecutive years is partnering with CFA Society Nigeria to host its annual flagship event, the Ethics Challenge, scheduled for Friday & Saturday, 15 -16 November 2019 in Abuja and Lagos for the regional and national levels respectively.
The Ethics Challenge is designed to increase students’ awareness of the ethical dilemmas and issues they may face when they enter the investment management industry. At the Ethics Challenge, students are given an ethics case study to analyze, evaluate, recommend and present to a panel of judges. To determine the winning team, the judges provide feedback based on the identification and understanding of the ethical issues in the case, the recommendations provided with the depth of the analysis, quality of the presentation, and responses to the judges’ questions.
The 2018 winner, Obafemi Awolowo University, would compete with 15 other higher institutions in the country to defend its trophy. Babcock University, Bowen University, Covenant University, Federal University of Technology Akure, Mountain Top University, University of Calabar, University of Ibadan and University of Lagos are the schools competing in the Lagos preliminary round.
Other schools are University of Abuja, University of Maiduguri, Bayero University, University of Ilorin, University of Nigeria and Madonna University in the Abuja based preliminary round.
The competition will be judged by Mrs. Adeola Asabia, Member, Board of Trustees, Business Ethics Chair, University of Lagos; Musa Bagudu, CFA, Head, External Funds Management Office, Central Bank of Nigeria; Kunle Anida, CFA, Director, Deals Advisory, PWC Nigeria amongst others.
According to CFA Society Nigeria President, Mr. Banji Fehintola, “The annual Ethics Challenge embodies CFA Society Nigeria’s mission to promote the highest standards of ethics in our investment and financial services industry. It touches on many of CFA Institute’s Future of Finance six areas of focus which include: Transparency and Fairness, Regulation and Enforcement, and Safeguarding the System. It also promotes ethical awareness and fosters a healthy investment industry that works for the ultimate benefit of society. Through our collaboration with First Bank of Nigeria Limited to run this competition annually, we will continue to invest in our university students and we hope to build the commitment of our future professionals to operate according to sound ethical principles”
Expressing her delight on FirstBank’s support and participation in the CFA Ethics Challenge, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Folake Ani- Mumuney said “through our 125 years of existence, we at FirstBank pride ourselves in being exemplary in ensuring that global best practices are upheld in adherence to ethical standards across our organizational practices and activities.
“We recognize the impact of the CFA Society Nigeria through its giant strides in fostering Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct amongst university students and other touch points in the society in preparing them to overcome ethical challenges that they may face in the workplace environment “.
Heritage Bank identifies high prospects in Nigeria’s £4bn Gold market
Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, disclosed that Nigeria’s Gold market is worth £4 billion Pounds with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.
The MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo, who stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.
According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favourably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to additional value to the small holder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at international market price.
He further stated that a metric tonne of Gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.
He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.
“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.
“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.
“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”
He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector, but may be studying to understand the sector properly.
“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.
“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, on the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.
Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.
Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.
“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happen in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.
“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”
Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.
Waziri also said there is need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales launches Twitter and Facebook rival
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has quietly launched a rival to Facebook and Twitter that he hopes will combat “clickbait” and misleading headlines.
WT:Social, his new social-networking site, allows users to share links to articles and discuss them in a Facebook-style news feed. Topics range from politics and technology to heavy metal and beekeeping. While the company is completely separate to Wikipedia, Mr Wales is borrowing the online encyclopedia’s business model.
WT:Social will rely on donations from a small subset of users to allow the network to operate without the advertising that he blames for encouraging the wrong kind of engagement on social media. “The business model of social media companies, of pure advertising, is problematic,” Mr Wales said. “It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content.”
While Facebook and Twitter’s algorithms ensure that the posts with the most comments or likes rise to the top, WT:Social puts the newest links first. However, WT:Social hopes to add an “upvote” button that will allow users to recommend quality stories. People are feeling fed up with all the junk that’s around Jimmy Wales Since launching last month,
WT:Social is approaching 50,000 users, according to Mr Wales, doubling in the past week alone. Still, that is far short of Facebook’s audience of more than 2bn. “Obviously the ambition is not 50,000 or 500,000 but 50m and 500m,” Mr Wales said. More than 200 people have donated to support the site, he said, pointing to the success of subscriptions at Netflix, Spotify and the New York Times as evidence that a new generation of consumers are prepared to pay for “meaningful” content online.
WT:Social is also operating a wait-list for new users, which donors can pay to skip. “It won’t be massively profitable but it will be sustainable,” he said. The company only has a handful of staff, including developers and a community manager. Several well-meaning alternatives to Facebook have come and gone over the years, from Ello to Diaspora. Even Snapchat, with more than 200m daily active users, is considered small by the standards of the giant networks owned by Facebook and Google. But Mr Wales said he believes the time is now right for a new venue that is free from what he calls “clickbait nonsense”. “People are feeling fed up with all the junk that’s around,” Mr Wales said. “News organisations are doing the best they can in this difficult environment but it’s actually a problem with the distribution.”
WT:Social is a spin-off from Wikitribune, the “collaborative media” site that Mr Wales started alongside co-founder Orit Kopel two years ago. Wikitribune was launched with a high-profile crowdfunding campaign in 2017 but it ultimately failed to attract a large audience. A year ago, Mr Wales was forced to lay off the dozen reporters and editors that it had hired to work alongside “citizen journalist” contributors, as well as some technical staff. “I’m really bootstrapping [WT:Social] from nothing. I didn’t raise money for this,” he said. “I want to keep a tight rein on the costs.” Recommended Wikimedia Foundation Inc Wikipedia takes Turkey to European human rights court One flaw in Wikitribune was its attempt to cover stories that appealed to readers all over the world. Instead,
WT:Social hopes to build smaller, niche communities that can sustain themselves. These include “SubWikis” about beekeeping or board games, alongside more serious news. That includes relying on WT:Social’s community of users to police potential abuses of the site. While Facebook has hired thousands of moderators to help it tackle manipulation, fake news and bullying,
Mr Wales said he believed that model was “not scalable”. “Almost everything on the platform is editable,” he said. “That alone gives a huge incentive for good behaviour because if you say something obnoxious, someone will just delete it.” However, while this approach has succeeded on Wikipedia, it is largely untested on a social network. After the failure of Wikitribune, Mr Wales admitted he faces an uphill struggle. “This is a radical, crazy experiment of mine,” Mr Wales said.
“I’m happy to say I don’t know all the answers.”
NEWS3 weeks ago
BreakingNews:Supreme Court dismisses Atiku’s appeal, affirms Buhari’s election
BUSINESS2 weeks ago
The Time is Now to Invest in Africa and African SMEs, Tony Elumelu Tells Global Investors in Paris
NEWS2 weeks ago
OGUN ASSEMBLY CONFIRMS GOV ABIODUN’S NOMINEES FOR JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION
BUSINESS3 weeks ago
FIRSTBANK CELEBRATES TOP PERFORMING FIRSTMONIE AGENTS NATIONWIDE
NEWS2 weeks ago
Ecowas backs sacked G.Bissau PM
NEWS3 weeks ago
Buhari extends closure of Nigeria’s borders till January 30 – Official
BUSINESS3 weeks ago
FIRSTBANK WINS BEST PRIVATE BANK AND BEST RETAIL BANK IN NIGERIA AWARDS
Features3 weeks ago
DEFORESTATION IN NIGERIA; THE CASE OF SHEA TREE PLANTATION AND IT’S ECONOMIC IMPLICATION