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How Nigeria can curb Naira fall, soaring unemployment – Analysts

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Analysts have advised the fiscal, monetary policy authorities to calibrate reform policies aimed at tightening of financial conditions in Nigeria.

They said the development will be enough to push inflation down to target levels relatively quickly as well as reversing current high unemployment rate in the country.

They also advised that policymakers should heed the lessons of the past and be resolute to avoid potentially more painful and disruptive adjustments later.

Their suggestion follows the uncertain outlook and persistent current account deficit in Nigeria.

They advocated the need for the Federal Government to prioritise greater investment in physical capital, education, and social safety nets, as well as more support for retraining and re-allocating workers to new and better jobs that will lead to the transformation of the economy to make it smarter, greener, and more resilient and inclusive.

They observed that the critical point for the domestic economy is the disequilibrium in the foreign exchange market which has starved businesses of dollars and pushed consumer prices higher, adding that the dollar crunch in the economy is due to the lack of clarity around Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy and investors’ aversion to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s demand-management strategies.

They expressed fears that further devaluation of the nation’s currency might not be necessary on the strength of the pressure on the Naira is due to speculative attacks and much of the concern for investors lies with the uncertainty around foreign exchange policy, according to

They advised the Federal Government to strengthen the credibility of fiscal policy to create room for further support in the short term without jeopardising public credit, adding that emergency spending needs to be accompanied by measures that ensure transparency and accountability.

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The international monetary Fund (IMF) recently said that Central banks in major economies expected as recently as a few months ago that they could tighten monetary policy very gradually.

Inflation seemed to be driven by an unusual mix of supply shocks associated with the pandemic and later Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it was expected to decline rapidly once these pressures eased.

Now, with inflation climbing to multi-decade highs and price pressures broadening to housing and other services, central banks recognise the need to move more urgently to avoid an unmooring of inflation expectations and damaging their credibility.

The Federal Reserve, Bank of Canada, and Bank of England have already raised interest rates markedly and have signaled they expect to continue with more sizable hikes this year.

The European Central Bank recently lifted rates for the first time in more than a decade.

SEE ALSO:  CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s licence

Central bank actions and communications about the likely path of policy have led to a significant rise in real (that is, inflation-adjusted) interest rates on government debt since the start of the year.

While short-term real rates are still negative, the real rate forward curve in the United States—that is, the path of one-year-ahead real interest rates one to 10 years out implied by market prices—has risen across the curve to a range between 0.5 and 1 percent. This path is roughly consistent with a “neutral” expand around its potential rate. real policy stance that allows output to

The Fed’s summary of economic projections in mid-June suggested a real neutral rate of around 0.5 percent, and policymakers saw a 1.7 percent output expansion both this year and next, which is very close to estimates of potential. The real rate forward curve in the euro area, proxied by German bunds, has also shifted up, though remains deeply negative. That’s consistent with real rates converging only gradually to neutral.

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The higher real interest rates on government bonds have spurred an even larger rise in borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, and contributed to sharp declines in equity prices globally.

The modal view of both central banks and markets seems to be that this tightening of financial conditions will be enough to push inflation down to target levels relatively quickly.

The monetary and fiscal tightening in train should cool demand both for energy and non-energy goods, especially in interest-sensitive categories like consumer durables. This should cause goods prices to rise at a slower pace or even fall, and may also push energy prices lower in the absence of additional disruptions in commodity markets.

Supply-side pressures should ease as the pandemic relaxes its grip and lockdowns and production disruptions become less frequent.

Slower economic growth should eventually push down service-sector inflation and restrain wage growth.

But, the magnitude of the inflation surge has been a surprise to central banks and markets, and there remains substantial uncertainty about the outlook for inflation.

It is possible that inflation comes down more quickly than central banks envision, especially if supply chain disruptions ease and global policy tightening results in fast declines in energy and goods prices.

Even so, inflation risks appear strongly tilted to the upside. There is a substantial risk that high inflation becomes entrenched, and inflation expectations de-anchor.

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Inflation rates in services—for everything from housing rents to personal services—appear to be picking up from already elevated levels, and they are unlikely to come down quickly.

SEE ALSO:  A Promise Fulfilled: UBA Shareholders commend 2023 superlative performance, dividend payout

These pressures may be reinforced by rapid nominal wage growth. In countries with strong labor markets, nominal wages could start rising rapidly, faster than what firms reasonably could absorb, with the associated increase in unit labor costs passed into prices. Such “second round effects” would translate into more persistent inflation and rising inflation expectations.

Dr Muda Yusuf, Founder/CEO Centre for the Promotion Of Private Enterprise (CPPE) , in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, said the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report by the NBS indicated that Nigeria still has a structural problem, inhibiting both production and exports potential.

He expressed optimistism that there is room for improvement in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure, investment productivity, and boosting of local business activities to support export activities and strengthen channels for dollar inflow.

He said: “There is need to reduce the level of debt financing especially the reliance on commercial debt to fund government operations. Public debt is already at an unsustainable threshold. Steps should be taken to attract foreign exchange through a strategy of ensuring new investment opportunities to stimulate foreign capital inflows into the economy.

“We should be seeking more equity capital than debt capital. There is urgent need to review the country’s trade policy to support investment growth and investment sustainability. tax policy must support investment not become a disincentive to investment”.

Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, fiscal policy partner and Africa tax leader, PwC in a chat with DAILY INDEPENDENT, advocated the need for institutional reforms that are necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions have better disposition to support the growth of investment and focus less on the generation of revenue and boost employment opportunities for the youths

He warned that the continuous introduction of new taxes without considering the poor may create a social problem for the Nigerian government.

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Speaking against the backdrop of the recently announced 5% excise duty on telecommunications services, Oyedele said the tax system in Nigeria lacks intentionality as it creates no room for the protection of the poor and vulnerable.

According to him, an additional 5% tax on telecoms services will bring the total consumption tax on data and voice calls to 12.5%, when VAT is added. This, he said, will add extra burden on poor Nigerians who use telecommunications services, which have become essential needs for all.

Emphasising the importance of call and data services to every Nigerian, Oyedele noted that if Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory were to be developed today, telecom airtime and data could have been properly classified along with food and shelter as physiological needs hence the need to ensure that government is not excessively taxing basic needs.

SEE ALSO:  UBA @ 75: GMD Alawuba recounts milestone achievements, hails Elumelu

Mr. Friday Udo, South-South Coordinator of Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (ICEN), told Daily Independent that there is need for urgent steps to be taken to ensure a better macroeconomic management framework to stabilise the exchange rate, eradicate the challenge of liquidity in the foreign exchange market and to stem the current depreciation of the Naira.

Calling for business friendly reforms and policies that will restore confidence, improve the regulatory environment and address insecurity, Udoh said: “there is need for not only competitive returns, but also investors’ confidence and an enabling environment of which clear and robust policies, good infrastructure and business friendly regulations are a major component”.

“Concomitantly, unemployment in any economy is connected to short demand at the same time this affects consumption which means that little money would be available for businesses to expand their production line. At the same time little money will be available for saving which businesses would have accessed as loan”.

Oyinkan Olasanoye, the National President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), told our correspondent that Federal Government should lay emphasis on reforms that will simplify complex regulation and processes, and eliminating the hurdles that stand in the way of a bigger and more productive private sector.

She said: “Significant reforms across the labour market, business environment and fiscal management will be required. A skilled workforce is critical to improving Nigeria’s productivity and efficiency to boost revenue generation for the government.

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“Considering the services sector is projected to be the key drivers of the Nigerian economy going forward, measures have to be implemented to improve the value-added of labour in this sector. A comprehensive approach is needed; sound and quality education provides a solid foundation to develop the relevant skills for the workplace. In addition, collaboration among all stakeholders to design and implement education and training tailored to market needs is necessary.”

An executive director of a new generation bank in Nigeria, who craves anonymity,  said Nigeria’s low revenue generation has been a very serious challenge for past and present Administration, and therefore, called for the review of the medium-term fiscal frameworks that can reassure lenders that governments are fiscally responsible and lower financing costs.

The banker argued that: “Although the international community has provided critical support so far to help alleviate fiscal vulnerabilities in low-income countries, more is needed. (Daily Independent)

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CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s licence

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Heritage Bank

The Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank Plc, effective immediately.

This decision was made due to the bank’s failure to improve its financial performance, posing a threat to financial stability.

The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communication Department, Sidi Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

According to the CBN, the bank’s management has been unable to stem the decline despite various supervisory steps taken by the regulator. With no reasonable prospects of recovery, the CBN has taken this action to protect the financial system and maintain public confidence.

“The Nigerian financial system remains on a solid footing.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety and soundness of our financial system, and this action reflects that commitment,” the statement added.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation has been appointed as the liquidator of Heritage Bank, following the Banks and Other Financial Act 2020.

This move is seen as a significant step by the CBN to maintain the stability of the financial system and protect depositors’ funds. The public has been assured that the revocation of Heritage Bank’s license will not impact the overall health of the financial system.

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The statement read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and exercise of its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA) 2020, hereby revokes the licence of Heritage Bank Plc with immediate effect.

“This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial
stability.

SEE ALSO:  CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s licence

“This follows a period during which the CBN engaged with the bank and prescribed various supervisory steps intended to stem the decline. Regrettably, the bank has continued to suffer and has no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.

“Consequently, the CBN has taken this action to strengthen public confidence in the banking system and ensure that the soundness of our financial system is not impaired.

“The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is hereby appointed as the liquidator of the bank under Section 12 (2) of BOFIA, 2020.

“We wish to assure the public that the Nigerian financial system remains on a solid footing. The action we are taking today reflects our continued commitment to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and soundness of our financial system.”

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A Promise Fulfilled: UBA Shareholders commend 2023 superlative performance, dividend payout

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l-r Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Oliver Alawuba: Group Chairman, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu,CFR; Company Secretary and Legal Counsel, Mr. Bili Odum; Group Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Muyiwa Akinyemi; and Non-Executive Director, Ms Angela Aneke, at the 62nd Annual General Meeting of United Bank for Africa (UBA), coinciding with the Bank’s 75th Anniversary, held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Friday

…Shareholders give approval to recapitalise as directed by  regulators

 • UBA  pays total dividend of N95.8bn, translating to N2.80 per share in 2023

Shareholders of Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, have praised the board, management and staff of the Bank on the impressive performance recorded over the past years and especially in 2023, culminating in the payout of N78.7bn as final dividend for the 2023 financial year.

The shareholders took turns to express their delight during the bank’s 62nd Annual General Meeting which was held at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hotels in Abuja on Friday.

The shareholders overwhelmingly approved the Board of Director’s proposal to raise additional capital through the issuance of securities comprising ordinary shares, preference shares, convertible and/or non-convertible notes, bonds or any other instruments in the Nigerian and/or international capital market.

Addressing shareholders at the event, the Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, appealed to shareholders to participate fully and re-invest their dividends in the bank’s recapitalisation drive as this will ensure that they continue to enjoy even higher returns from their investments.

He said, “I call on you shareholders to re-invest a substantial part of your dividends in our rights issues which will be announced soon, as we will be giving you the first opportunity to own a share in all the countries where we operate, I am advising shareholders, as you get your dividends, reinvest a significant part of it. As for my board members and I, we would be investing 100% of the dividends we get, because If we don’t do so, it means we would be leaving food on the table for others who did not labour for it,” Elumelu stated.

SEE ALSO:  CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s licence

In the year under consideration, UBA had declared an interim dividend of N17.1bn representing a pay-out of 50kobo per share for the first half of 2023, thus bringing the total dividend for the 2023 financial year to N95.8bn, representing N2.80 per share.

Surprisingly and in another first, dividend payouts were received while the meeting was still on just seconds after the resolution on dividend payments were passed at the meeting by the shareholders, resulting in open excitement from the shareholders.

They also commended the bank’s management over the impressive performance for the 2023 financial year, which resulted in the large payout of dividend to its investors, and highlighted its thriving business in its African subsidiaries, which continues to contribute significantly to the Group’s total income.

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Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar, one of the shareholders who spoke at the meeting, commended the Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, and the Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, for their concerted effort towards ensuring that the performance of the bank reached unprecedented heights in the year under consideration.

He said, “I want to specially commend the management and Board of UBA, especially the Chairman, Tony Elumelu and the GMD/CEO, Oliver Alawuba, who have been managing activities of this great institution over the past few years.

“We are impressed at the results that you have recorded so far, how you have managed to maintain a well-structured balance-sheet and diversified balance sheet with total Assets growing to over N20trn. The achievement that the bank has recorded under your leadership, especially the sterling contributions of our subsidiaries in Africa deserves accolades,” Muktar stated.

SEE ALSO:  UBA @ 75: GMD Alawuba recounts milestone achievements, hails Elumelu

Another shareholder, Patrick Ajudo, also commended Elumelu for keeping the promise made to shareholders a few years ago to begin to pay increased dividend.

“Our Chairman, Tony Elumelu, promised shareholders a few years ago in this same hall, that he will move from ‘kobo-kobo’ dividends to naira dividends, and he has kept that promise. We are very excited, because, not only have you kept that promise, but you have backed it up by even matching the industry standards. Indeed, we are proud to be associated with such a brand that has integrity, and we highly commend you for this,” he stated.

Barrister (Mrs) Adetutu Siyanbola, another shareholder, took time to commend the bank’s management for its operations over the decades, especially as it celebrates its landmark 75th year anniversary, praising the gender balance and high female representation on the bank’s board, which according to her, is a feat worth emulating by other financial institutions in Africa.

While commending the GMD for wining several awards in the 2023 financial year, she expressed satisfaction that the bank did not incur any penalty in the year under consideration, which meant that UBA had zero infractions and didn’t run foul of any regulations.

At the end of the 2023 financial year, UBA recorded an impressive leap in gross earnings, as it grew from N853.2 billion recorded at the end of 2022 to close at N2.07tn; representing a strong 143 percent growth; total assets also rose remarkably by 90.22 percent, to close at N20.65 trillion up from N10.86 trillion in 2022.

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Profit before tax, also grew exponentially by 277 percent, to close at N758billion, up from N200.88 billion recorded in 2022; while profit after tax (PAT) grew by 257 percent from N170.2 billion in 2022, to N607 billion.

SEE ALSO:  A Promise Fulfilled: UBA Shareholders commend 2023 superlative performance, dividend payout

The Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Oliver Alawuba, explained that despite being a year of significant geopolitical and economic challenges, UBA’s strength, the effort and dedication of the team, and its leadership in strategic areas such as innovation and sustainability, helped the bank to grow in a profitable and sustainable manner,

Looking ahead, he said, “The outlook is great because we are diversified. Our African subsidiaries contributed over 55% to the bank’s profit this year, and we will do more. Already, the Bank entered 2024 from a position of strength, with proven resiliency, a powerful brand and a strong capital position.

“As we begin 2024, “execution” will continue to be on the front burner, with an unrelenting focus on market leadership and excellent customer experience at all touch points,” Alawuba explained.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in twenty African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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UBA @ 75: GMD Alawuba recounts milestone achievements, hails Elumelu

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…says UBA’ll continue to invest in innovative products

The United Bank for Africa, (UBA), has stated that it will continue to invest in innovative products and digital platforms that enhance customer experience and drive operational efficiency.

The Group Managing Director of UBA, Oliver Alawuba, who stated this at a World Press Conference to mark the bank’s 75th anniversary in Lagos, Nigeria on Monday, also said that the bank is committed to expanding its presence, seize growth opportunities, and deliver value to all stakeholders.

Alawuba hailed the Chairman of the global financial power house, Tony Elumelu, and other stakeholders for the success recorded by the bank in its 75 years of existence.

Alawuba stated that since its inception in 1949, UBA has evolved from a modest beginning in Lagos Island to a global financial institution with a presence in 20 African countries and 4 global financial nerve centres (New York, London, Paris and Dubai).

He pointed out that the bank boasts of over 25,000 Staff, over 35 million customers served through multiple channels – over 350,000 POS terminals, 2,000 ATM terminals, 1,000 Business Offices and 19.7 million Card Customers.

“Amidst economic challenges and market dynamics, UBA has demonstrated remarkable financial strength and resilience. Our splendid performance, especially within the last year, is a testament to our robust fundamentals and sound strategic decisions. As we navigate through the ever-changing landscape, we remain committed to creating value for our shareholders and capitalizing on emerging opportunities in the market.

“Innovation and digital transformation are at the heart of UBA’s strategy for future growth and competitiveness. We will continue to invest in innovative products, services, and digital platforms that enhance customer experience and drive operational efficiency. Our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is strong, with initiatives focused on education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability; thus, making a concrete impact on communities across Africa.

“Looking ahead, our vision is clear – to be the role model for African Businesses. UBA is one bank, uniting Africa while connecting Africans to the World and the World to Africa. Our primary focus is to be the payment bank for Capital flows, trade and investments between Africa and the rest of the world.

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“We are committed to expanding our presence, seizing growth opportunities, and delivering value to all stakeholders. Collaboration and partnerships as exemplified by the $6bn SME funding agreement signed with the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be instrumental in achieving our strategic objectives. We are dedicated to deepening relationships with customers, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders for mutual benefit and long-term success,” he said.

SEE ALSO:  CBN revokes Heritage Bank’s licence

The GMD took out time to appreciate all the past and present Leadership of UBA, and well its customers, which he posited, contributed immensely to the success story of the bank.

Alawuba, particularly appreciated the Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, whom he said his visionary push in 2005 and tutelage over the years, helped brought the bank to where it is today.

He said: “It is with great pleasure and a profound sense of pride that we gather here today to commemorate a momentous occasion – the 75th anniversary of United Bank for Africa Plc.

“As a matter of record UBA commenced operations in 1949 on Kakawa Street, Lagos Island as the British and French Bank.

“First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate all our former Chairmen of Group and Subsidiary Boards, Board Members, Group and Subsidiary MD/CEOs, and staff in various capacities over the years.

“As we honour our past leaders, we also commend our present and look forward to future leaders who will continue to raise the bar of banking in Africa and globally.

“To this end, please join me in celebrating our current Group Chairman, Board Members, Executive Management and staff across all our subsidiaries.

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“Without your sacrifices, contributions, support, and guidance over the years, we would not be where we are today.

“We appreciate and honour you because you built and nurtured the platform on which we are standing today.

“Our Group Chairman (Mr. Tony Elumelu, CFR) truly deserves special recognition and mention.

“Without his visionary push in 2005 and tutelage over the years, I doubt whether we would be where we are today.

“For these and more, we say a ‘BIG AND RESOUNDING THANK YOU’ to him.

“This milestone is not just a celebration of longevity, but a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to excellence that have defined UBA’s journey over the decades.”

Alawuba said it was important to acknowledge that UBA means different things to different people.

SEE ALSO:  UBA @ 75: GMD Alawuba recounts milestone achievements, hails Elumelu

He said of the 75th anniversary: “As we reflect on the significance of this epoch-making event, it is important to acknowledge that UBA means different things to different people.

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“For some, UBA is a trusted financial partner; for others, UBA is a beacon of stability and reliability, a development partner in various local communities as well as a catalyst for African development.”

Listing the mileage recorded by the bank in its 75 years, Alawuba said: “Since its inception in 1949, UBA has evolved from a modest beginning in Lagos Island to a global financial institution with a presence in 20 African countries and four global financial nerve centres (New York, London, Paris and Dubai).”

He said at present, the bank has over 25,000 staff, more than 35 million customers it serves through multiple channels, over 350,000 Point of Sale terminals, 2,000 Automated Teller Machines terminals, 1,000 Business Offices and 19.7 million card customers.

According to the GMD, the bank has recorded several firsts in the last 75 years.

He said: “The past 75 years have been marked by stability and excellence, pillars upon which UBA’s legacy stands tall.

“We take pride in being:

“1. The first Nigerian Bank to offer an IPO: UBA was the first Nigerian bank to offer an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 1970.

“2. The first Nigerian Bank to be Listed on the NSE: UBA was the first Nigerian bank to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

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“3. The first Nigerian Bank in the USA and London: UBA was the first Nigerian bank to open a branch in the USA and London.

“4. The first Nigerian Bank to install ATMs: UBA was the first bank in Nigeria to install Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

“5. The first Nigerian Bank to open a campus branch at the University of Lagos

“6. The first Nigerian Bank to open a subsidiary in Africa (Ghana in 2005)

“7. The first Nigerian Bank to appoint a Female Board Chairperson in Nigeria

“8. The first Nigerian Bank to introduce Mobile Banking: UBA was a pioneer in introducing mobile banking in Nigeria.

“9. The first Nigerian Bank to launch a Multi-lingual Chatbot: UBA introduced Leo, the first multi-lingual chatbot in Nigeria.

SEE ALSO:  A Promise Fulfilled: UBA Shareholders commend 2023 superlative performance, dividend payout

“10. The first Nigerian Bank to launch the most successful Prepaid Cards across Africa.

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“There are so many other firsts of the UBA Group that time would not permit me to list.

“Amidst economic challenges and market dynamics, UBA has demonstrated remarkable financial strength and resilience.

“Our splendid performance, especially within the last year, is a testament to our robust fundamentals and sound strategic decisions.

“As we navigate through the ever-changing landscape, we remain committed to creating value for our shareholders and capitalising on emerging opportunities in the market.

“Innovation and digital transformation are at the heart of UBA’s strategy for future growth and competitiveness.

“We will continue to invest in innovative products, services, and digital platforms that enhance customer experience and drive operational efficiency.

“Our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is strong, with initiatives focused on education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability, thus making a concrete impact on communities across Africa.”

On the plan of the bank for the future, Alawuba said: “Looking ahead, our vision is clear – to be the role model for African Businesses.

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“UBA is one bank uniting Africa while connecting Africans to the World and the World to Africa.

“Our primary focus is to be the payment bank for Capital flows, trade and investments between Africa and the rest of the world.

“We are committed to expanding our presence, seizing growth opportunities, and delivering value to all stakeholders. Collaboration and partnerships as exemplified by the $6 billion SME funding agreement signed with the African Free Trade Area will be instrumental in achieving our strategic objectives.

“We are dedicated to deepening relationships with customers, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders for mutual benefit and long-term success.

“As I round off, I would like to reiterate UBA’s commitment to Customer First Philosophy, which is our primary business strategy.

“The customer is our employer and the sole reason why we come to work.

“Our three key pillars of service (People, Process and Technology) are all geared towards the delivery of excellent customer experience, which is our promise.

“As we embark on the next phase of our journey, I urge all stakeholders to continue their support and collaboration.

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“Together, we will write the next chapter of success for United Bank for Africa Plc.”

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