By Dan Premo & Segun Lawal(iroko)
…Celebrates staff with renewed focus on Integrity, Enterprise and Excellence
Africa’s leading financial service merchants, The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) recently expressed its commitment to excellence in customer service, by celebrating members of staff who have strived to implement the Bank’s core values of Enterprise, Excellence and Execution.
The Eko Hotel Expo Centre, Lagos, Nigeria recently played host to customers, captains of industry, dignitaries from politics and diplomacy, staff and Board members from its 19 African country network, to witness the 2017 UBA CEO Awards.
Established in 2008, the prestigious Awards event seeks to celebrate outstanding performance within the UBA Pan-African family, thus showcasing excellence, significant innovation and service as key areas of the Group’s business.
UBA’s industry-leading recent promotion of 3000 staff members illustrated the Bank’s appreciation of their contributions and their service delivery to customers. Amongst a distinguished audience, the Bank and senior management on Saturday night again celebrated its staff at the CEO Awards Ceremony, in UBA’s inimitable style – bringing together Lions and Lionesses from across Nigeria and Africa.
In the Over 10 Awards given, of each award category, the GMD, Kennedy Uzoka regaled winners saying: “We recognise and appreciate that there are so many staff members who have demonstrated aspects of each of our core values, but we have had to single out the very best. We celebrate our Lions and Lionesses who used their ingenuity and creativity, as well as their industry experience and passion, to work tirelessly to deliver excellent service to our customers and to continue to achieve exceptional results within the Group’.
Various winners emerged having excelled in innovation and execution across Africa. There were also those who were rewarded for their entrepreneurial abilities. The CEO of UBA Ghana, Mrs Abiola Bawuah was chosen in the special award category of “Business Leader who defied all odds and opened up new opportunities for the Bank”. Mrs Bawuah was described by the GMD as ‘a relentless CEO who breaks barriers, extends the horizon and motivates, inspires and encourages others.’
On the night, Ibrahim Ogbanagbo, the UBA security staff at the UBA Oba Akran branch in Lagos, who found $10,000 cash belonging to a customer and returned it to the customer stole the show. Ogbanagbo talked about how the $10,000 could have changed his life and how he could have taken it, but how his upbringing, as well as UBA’s value and focus on Integrity would never have allowed him to do so. He was given the Excellence Award for his display of honesty and integrity.
The Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu went on stage to congratulate Ogbonagbo personally. Elumelu said that Ogbanagbo exemplified someone who is committed to the hallmarks of Excellence in the execution of his duties.
“This is an example to us all. How anyone, no matter their position in our Group can distinguish themselves and set an example. Today, we stand here to celebrate a junior UBA staff member, who returned money that was misplaced and who through this action, gained much more than he could ever have imagined. As a leading pan-African bank, this is what we stand for and we commend Ibrahim Ogbonagbo for living the principle of integrity” Elumelu said
Mr Ogbonagbo was not only recognized and awarded the 2017 CEO Excellence Award, but he warmed the hearts and minds of many. He received a standing ovation, as well as rewards from dignitaries in the audience who came on stage to acknowledge him. The Governor of Adamawa State , Alhaji Bindo Jibralla pledged the sum of $5,000 and he also received a personal commitment of $10,000 from the Governor of Bauchi state, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar. The Deputy Senate president, Senator Ekweremadu said that Ogbanagbo’s name will be announced at the floor of the Senate during plenary and will be given the sum of N5,000,000 by the Senate.
The theme for the night was “the Journey of UBA”, brought to life by an African entertainment concept, crisscrossing the length and breadth of Africa and highlighting UBA’S Pan-African vision, starting with its oldest region, West Africa and showcasing East and Southern Africa, as well as the significant presence of an African Bank in New York, London and Paris. There was dance and prose, rhythm and theatre . There were also loved artistes including Dare Art-Alade who opened the show with a terrific rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem, Adekunle Gold, Dr. Sid, Flavor N’abania, P-Square, Awilo Longomba from the Congo and the undisputed King of Juju music, King Sunny Ade. Guests and dignitaries, management and staff of UBA found themselves letting their hair down and throwing protocol to the wind.
Governors of Adamawa and Taraba States, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ekweremadu, former Governor Donald Duke, Alhaji Abdul- Samad Rabiu and many others including key industry players, diplomats, ministers and key influencers in Nigeria, as well as the CEOs and Board Chairmen of the 19 African countries in which UBA operates, democratising banking for over 14 million customers , witnessed the event.
In all it was a night to remember, an evening of reward and celebration, and perhaps most poignantly, the story of how the integrity and honesty of a UBA security staff could become the role model of an African group of over 25,000 people and a symbol of the paramount commitment of UBA to its customers.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, with presence in 19 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.
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.
Following its listing on the NSE in 1970, UBA became the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering while also being the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. UBA shares 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.
Heritage Bank stimulates CBN’s financial inclusion on 2020 target
As part of efforts to consummate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiated policy aimed at reducing the figure of the unbanked populace by 20 percent by 2020 and to ensure greater participation in the nation’s financial sector, Heritage Bank Plc has keyed into this initiative to drive financial inclusion and promote economic growth.
CBN has mandated all banks in line with the 2020 financial inclusion target, to have a nationwide Account Opening Week.
The Account Opening Week is an initiative of the CBN, Bankers’ Committee and other Stakeholders to provide opportunities for financially excluded Nigerians and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to open accounts with formal financial institutions, with the overall aim to access financial services to reduce the current 36.8per cent financially excluded to 20per cent and stimulate economic growth.
Towards this developments, Heritage Bank strategically deployed its technology and large number of staff to reach the large populace who do not have bank accounts in selected states were sensitised and mobilised to designated centres in rural areas, where they opened their personal accounts.
Speaking on this exercise, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that Heritage Bank has been at the fore front and continued to give its unreserved backing towards reducing the exclusion rate to 20per cent by 2020, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve the welfare of the people.
According to him, the bank succeeded in opening more than 2, 000 bank accounts in designated centres of the following six (6) states; Kano, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Gombe, Bayelsa and Ondo.
Meanwhile, Sekibo made recourse to Heritage Bank’s supports so far, thereby noting that the bank have been taking aggressive approach with the introduction of agent banking partners.
He pinpointed that the bank has brought on board over 10,000 agent partners since the commencement and launching of ‘corner shop’, which lends credibility to the consistency of the service and how it is changing lives and empowering Nigerians across the country.
At this steady growth rate of approximately 17.5 percent new agent per month, one can say that hitting the long term vision of 100,000 active agents in five years is well within reach.
However, Sekibo explained that financially excluded persons constitute a gap in the financial system and there is no way to create a perfect economy except all these people are brought on board.
“Another issue is that the older generation seem to be averse to technology because they have not been exposed to it and the fear of fraud,” he also said, but assured that the CBN and the banks will continue to improve its technology space.
Ikeja Electric commissions new 33KV feeders to boost supply, expand network
Persistent in the drive to optimize its services in the sector, Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company, Ikeja Electric, has commissioned two new Feeders, Igando 33KV and Ijegun 33KV, to further boost supply to customers in the network.
With the completion of these Feeders, beneficiary communities will experience improved power supply, while the project has also enabled better alignment and strengthened network. Areas such as White Sand Joint CDA, Mutairu Alli, Taiwo Olaniran, Boripe, Idi Cashew, Lasisi Ajibade, Harmony, Ire-Akari and environs would benefit from the Ijegun 33KV feeder, while areas including Egan Town, Ajao Jimoh, Imoba 1, Iloilo, Taiwo Along, Abibatu Oseni, Oke as well as Bayas would benefit from Igando 33KV.
Meanwhile, Maximum Demand customers in these areas will also be able to increase capacity within their business for increased production and sales.
Speaking on the project, Head, Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue explained that Ikeja Electric has consistently strengthened its network through new projects designed to boost electricity supply to customers and create exceptional service.
He said: “At Ikeja Electric, improvement of our network and enhancement of operations is a critical requirement because we are committed maintaining about ensuring efficient service delivery. And it will only get better as we roll out this expansion initiatives. We will continue to strengthen our lines, embark on new projects where necessary, in order to ensure that our equipment and installations are optimized, while also reducing downtime supply in order to satisfy our customers.
“These new projects will address issues of fluctuations, load-shedding on overloaded distribution transformers and perennial faults resulting to frequent downtime within the network as well as improve economic activities due to quality power supply to customers within these communities,” he noted.
Resulting from the new project, the company noted that the alignment carried out in the network made the Shasha 33KV feeder to be moved from T3 100MVA to T2 60MVA, Igando Injection Substation now feeds from Igando 33KV feeder, while Ijegun Injection Substation now feeds from Ijegun 33KV feeder and Egbe 33KV now feeds only line loads.
Ikeja Electric appealed to customers to report issues or faults promptly, ensure protection of Ikeja Electric installations within their locality, pay monthly bills on time and avoid assault on staff of the company. The Disco reiterated that its commitment to provision of quality, reliable and exceptional service delivery, remains the focal point.
The company noted that several strategic projects aimed at bolstering the network are ongoing across its six business unit and will be completed in due time.
Heritage Bank, GEZAWA set to transform Nigeria’s agric sector to huge commercial hub
The Nigerian agricultural sector is set to witness a huge growth, as Heritage Bank Plc the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX) has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionise agricultural value-chain, aimed at providing fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.
Heritage Bank was appointed as the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Ltd and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.
The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange would facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa.
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who was a panelist at the 2nd GCMX Farmers’ Cooperative Forum in Kano at the weekend, stated that the partnership is targeted to de-risk the sector that would bring about structured and enhanced agro-business and attain food security that leads to economic development.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye explained that the partnership which would help bridge the huge gap associated to risk, will fast track effective price discovery mechanism and traceability and enhanced trade settlement services.
Specifically, the bank’s helmsman stated that under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank would provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria’s external reserves.
According to him, with its assigned position Heritage Bank would play a pivotal role in ensuring that there would be an effective and readily available platform for market linkages among players in the agribusiness value chain, involving FMCGs, warehouse operators, collateral managers, processors, farmers’ cooperatives to transact in a seamless way that guarantee quality, quantity, payment and delivery.
Speaking the event, the ED/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo affirmed that the initiative would help foster diversification of non-oil export trade.
He, however, stated that NEPC would ensure that the primary for the signing of the MoU would be achieve, whilst calling for the need to ensure adequate and seamless supply of agricultural commodities for the business to be sustainable.
The Gezawa Project Consultant, Binchang Binfa, Managing Director of Makarios Global Resource, disclosed, “the ultimate goal was to unlock the vast potential of agricultural value chain via partnerships and synergy with likeminded enterprises, organisations and institutions that will mutually create wealth, generate local employment and contribute significantly to the economic growth and GDP the nation.”
He stated that the Exchange would provide services on price discovery and transparency, increase foreign exchange earning capacity, commodity storage and warehouse receipt system, employment generation of 15, 000 direct and indirect jobs, investment opportunities, increase in non-oil export, ease of doing business, weather report, soil test report, as well as 24/7 online trading of commodities on alive trading platform.
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