Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) are globally recognized as engines of socio-economic transformation. In Nigeria, they are at the heart of a push for economic prosperity.
Together with micro-scale ventures, these businesses contribute almost half of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employ 76.5 percent of the national workforce and account for 7.64 percent of export receipts, a joint survey by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2017 shows.
They also make up more than 90 percent of the total businesses in Nigeria.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said to be about 41.5 million in Nigeria, can help re-distribute wealth, improve local manufacturing and diversify the economy.
As such, the policies and institutions that support their growth are important variables for Nigeria’s economic ends.
One of such institutions is First City Monument Bank (FCMB), a leading financial services provider.
The mid-tier lender last year proved its mettle in the Nigerian banking industry, emerging the best bank in customer experience for SMEs.
The bank leapt to the first position in the SMEs category from a third-place ranking in the prior year. FCMB in 2018 also emerged the third most customer-focused in retail banking.
This is according to the 2019 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey (NBICES) report by KPMG, one of the Big 4 global consulting firms.
According to the 2019 report, analysis of performance in the SME segment reveals dynamism in the latest ranking, with FCMB edging other Banks to emerge top.
The 2019 research was conducted via face-to-face and online survey methodology, involving SME owners across Nigeria. It was anchored on six pillars of assessment and performance, namely personification, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort as well as empathy.
“While the Nigerian banking landscape has constantly been faced with steep competition, the stakes have been raised even higher and performing well on customer experience is the new minimum standard,’’ said KPMG. “As the race for the customer intensifies, front-runners will be those who demonstrate an understanding of the customer’s specific circumstances to consistently deliver a personalised experience”, it added.
The latest positive affirmation received by FCMB is a demonstration that the various supports the Bank offers to boost the performance of SMEs and its overall contributions to the growth of the nation’s economy are yielding the desired results and appreciated by the market.
FCMB is known for its bespoke products and excellent service offerings cutting across retail, SMEs, transaction, commercial and corporate.
The leap in the rating of FCMB as the number one Bank in Customer Experience for SMEs is a proof that the bank is on the right path towards achieving its goal of attaining the highest levels of customer advocacy in the industry and a major contributor to economic development.
FCMB, on several occasions, has restated its commitment to consistently deliver exceptional service and offering the right propositions to help SMEs and other customer segments fulfil their individual and business aspirations.
For instance, the bank recently organized a training themed, ‘’Supporting Women Businesses to Scale Up in 2020’’, a free and comprehensive capacity building and empowerment programme for women entrepreneurs in Ogun State.
The programme aimed at enhancing the productivity and profitability of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) through funding, capacity building, advisory and other forms of support, held February 5, 2020, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of the State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun.
The bank said it would continue to assist SMEs to overcome the challenges they usually face, especially at the take-off stage, because it wants to be part of their success story.
FCMB has built a strong base in the SME segment by consistently championing and executing several cutting-edge solutions that have tremendously impacted on businesses nationwide under the following pillars of support; access to capital, capacity building, advisory services, networking opportunity and technology. The lender is one of the top participating Banks in the various intervention funds of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). FCMB has been commended by the CBN, Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria, among others, for its strong support to SMEs.
The lender also partners local and international DFIs to provide various forms of funding, guarantees, grants and capacity building programmes to entrepreneurs. Also, FCMB offers free banking transactions for three months to new to Bank SME customers. It also has in its bouquet tailored products to suit the needs of SMEs customers, such as free accounting applications, Payroll solution and so on.
FCMB has equally automated its lending process for SMEs by adopting digital banking solutions to penetrate and deepen its intervention in the segment through its Quickloans platform. Since the launch of the platform in July 2019, over N10billion unsecured loans have been disbursed to SME customers within three to twenty-four hours of application through the Quickloans platform.
For women entrepreneurs, FCMB’s SheVentures initiative, launched in March 2019 to offer enhanced support to existing and start-up women-owned SMEs through access to finance, training and mentoring, has continued to encourage entrepreneurship, while also turning around the fortunes of existing businesses. Apart from other benefits, it comes with a zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months for beneficiaries. Also, over 2000 women entrepreneurs are being mentored by the Bank through the SheVentures initiative.
Beyond financial support, FCMB has trained over 10,000 SMEs, while also championing and executing several value-added capacity building programmes that have fast-tracked the growth of businesses, thereby upscaling their contributions to the development of the country. The lender organises a comprehensive programme, tagged, ‘’Business Enterprises and Sustainability Training (BEST)’’, SME Clinics and Masterclass for business owners nationwide to equip them with management skills and ensure effective networking.
FCMB has ensured the development of emerging markets, such as renewable energy, agribusiness and creative industry. The Bank hosts several workshops and exhibitions for these sectors. For instance, it organised a workshop on Climate Finance Awareness, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), under the theme, ‘’EnergyEfficiency and Solar Energy Solutions for Your Business”. This was a follow-up to the one held in August 2018 on Sustainable Energy Finance (SEFi). There was also a seminar on tax matters, in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, for SMEs in June.
In the same vein, FCMB in November last year hosted a workshop on Energy-Agric Nexus for Rural Economic Development, under the theme, “Stimulating the Agricultural Sector through Off-Grid Energy Development”, in Abuja. It was in partnership with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), The European Union, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS) Foundation and Power for All. The workshop provided a rare opportunity for operators in agribusiness and the power sector to engage in constructive and interactive sessions with industry experts and decision-makers on harnessing and deploying alternative, renewable, clean and affordable sources of energy, particularly off-grid ones, to stimulat agribusiness.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.
Having successfully transformed into a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.
Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Zenith Bank Plc has introduced a new product, Z-Woman, which is focused on empowering female business owners.
Z-Woman account holders stand a chance to enjoy loans of up to N10 million at a single-digit interest rate, free digital skills training, and free exhibition stands at Zenith Bank events and many other benefits which will help them grow their businesses and increase sales.
According to the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Z-Woman offers women the opportunity to enjoy a partnership with the Zenith Bank brand as the name Z-woman implies. The Z-Woman account is designed to address the unique needs of women-owned businesses and offer them unmatched services that empower them to achieve more.
Zenith Bank Plc is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Nigeria and was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the Retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS). Most recently, the bank won the Best Bank in Retail Banking and the Bank of the Year at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards and was ranked as the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co.
The bank’s commitment to world-class service standards has led to several product innovations over the last couple of months including the “Zenith Timeless Account”, which allows Nigerians aged 55 years and above bank for free, the “Zenith Save4me”, a high-interest target savings account and “Dubai Visa Service” on the Zenith Internet Banking Platform, which offers convenient application and payment for visas to Dubai.
To learn more about Z-Woman, please visit www.zenithbank.com/zwoman
NIGERIAN Senator Ignatius Datong Longjan has been declared dead at Turkish hospital in Abuja, after battling a yet-to-be-disclosed illness for several weeks.
Longjan’s media aide, Wulime Goyit, confirmed his passing in a statement to meganews, where it was reported that the late senator died in the late hours of Sunday.
The 75-year-old lawmaker was representing Plateau southern senatorial district in the National Assembly before giving up the ghost. He also served as the deputy governor of Plateau during the course of his political career.
Also confirming the report, the former chief of staff of the senator, John Dafa’an, said in a statement that: “It is true, our father and distinguished Senator representing Plateau South is dead, baba died after battling with illness for a long time in Turkey.”
Longjan, before his death, was elected as senator in 2019, on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to the National Assembly directory, Longjan earned his West African School certificate and a General Certificate of Education before gaining a diploma in law. It was stated that he also bagged a degree in Public Administration from the City University of New York, but, he was still awaiting results.
The management of Imo Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park on Monday February 10, confirmed that a hyena escaped from its facility.
General manager of the park, Francis Abioye who confirmed the development which sent residents of Nekede into panic, said the hyena was recaptured 6 hours after its escape in an operation carried out by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to the facility.
Abioye disclosed that the animal escaped from a big underground hole it dug in its cage inside the zoo.
The management of Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, Ogun State has suspended the President of the institution’s Students Union Government [SUG] Adegboye Olatunji, following his arrest during a cult meeting over the weekend.
Olatunji who was in the full regalia of the black axe confraternity, was arrested alongside one Olarewaju Taiwo during the initiation of new members into the dreaded cult after members of the public alerted the police.
Reacting to the arrest on Monday February 10, the institution’s Deputy Registrar Public Relations, Sola Abiola announced that the arrested SUG President has been suspended indefinitely over his alleged involvement in cultism.
“The suspension of Mr Adegboye is in line with the Act establishing the Polytechnic and the provision of the Students Handbook coupled with the Polytechnic’s zero tolerance to cultism, pending his appearance before the Students Disciplinary Committee to establish his culpability or otherwise”
Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, continues to make impressive impacts in communities where it operates. The financial institution, as part of its CSR activities, renovated buildings and upgraded facilities at the Community Comprehensive High School, Olambe in Ogun State.
Stanbic IBTC’s CSR activities at the school involved re-roofing and painting of the school’s buildings, provision of a standard library furnished with books, provision of Flip Chart kits as well as provision of 100 desks and chairs, amongst others.
Dr. Oladipupo Oyefuga, Head, Market Risk, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, led the staff of the Internal Control Department of the bank to commission the projects.
Dr. Oyefuga described Stanbic IBTC as being passionate about contributing to the growth of education in the country.
Speaking in the same vein, Head, Internal Control, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Taiwo Ala, said that the bank embarked on the project as part of activities for the 2019 Internal Control Awareness Week.
He noted that the project would support effective teaching and learning of the students especially against the background that the school is a community secondary school majorly financed by community donations.
Mrs. Fakunle Adenike, Principal, Community Comprehensive High School, expressed her profound gratitude to the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc for renovating and upgrading facilities in the school.
She said: “This kind gesture has enlisted this school amongst the best schools in Olambe community.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ogun State Government, Mr. Lasilo Temitope, Zonal Education Officer, Ifo, noted that the recipient school, Community Comprehensive High School, Olambe can only show gratitude to Stanbic IBTC by proper utilization of the facilities. He further pledged that the school would use them as instruments for propelling the school into a citadel of academic excellence.
Africa Magic has currently on air several reality shows, they are entertaining and very insightful. Confessions is one of such shows, it is interesting, somewhat hilarious and absolutely unusual. This show is open to DStv customers.
In Confessions, people confront their fears and secrets that have been eating them up. Viewers get to see real-life confessions between friends, siblings, love interests etc.
These confessions might be good, bad or both. The person being confessed to is not aware about what is about to go down until the cameras begin to roll, so viewers get to see real-life reactions and situations.
Take for instance, a woman who comes to confess to her husband that he’s been cheating on him? How did it take it? You bet! Or the mother who came to confess to her son that she lied about her intention for selling a piece of land that was owned by the family? How about the friend that confessed to her friend (who she said is like a sister to her) that she’s been sleeping with her father? It’s a plethora of unburdening, getting healed and in some cases reconciliation.
It is very interesting to see people go on live television to make a confession, unafraid of stigma, backlash and other negative effects that will most likely result from such a brazen act.
Afterall, the Holy Book says that the truth shall set you free, right? This is why Confessions makes for great watch as we get to view people confronting those they love and have wronged secretly and owning up to what they have done.
DStv customers can catch this show every Monday at 06:00pm (WAT) on Mondays, with a repeat episode airing Saturdays at 5:00pm (WAT) on Africa Magic channel 151.
Many Federal Government agencies, including universities and teaching hospitals are involved in the inflation of personnel budget running into billions of naira, according to Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Investigation Commission(ICPC).
In a startling report made public late last year in Abuja, in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the ICPC chief revealed “gross abuse of personnel budget and inflation or padding of the nominal role”, running into N18.62billion.
This figure, Owasanoye said, was conservative.
The inflated personnel budget fraud covered 2017 to July 2019 in 300 MDAs, whose books had been scrutinised by the anti-graft agency.
But Owasanoye, a former academic himself, was scandalised that most of the theft occurred in the universities and colleges of medicines and Federal medical centres.
Among the institutions flagged are University of Benin Teaching Hospital N1.1b, Federal Medical Center, Bayelsa N915m, Nnamdi Azikwe University N907m, University of Jos N896m, University College Hospital Ibadan N701m, University of Benin Teaching Hospital N1.1b, Usman Dan Fodio University N636m and University of Ibadan N558m.
“These institutions and all those implicated will be given the opportunity to explain themselves however, while investigations are on to confirm any credible explanations they may have, we have alerted the Minister of Finance of our findings and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure that implicated MDAs will not be able to spend the excess built into their personnel budget.
Owasanoye also revealed another sharp practice by some MDAs, who divert excess personnel budget into other uses.
“Let me note with regret sir that in the 2017–2018 fiscal year the balances recorded for personnel were wrongfully utilized by MDAs for other purposes due to lack of pro activity by late enforcement and related agencies. That sum amounted to N18.39b”.
The massive fraud committed by universities in inflating their personnel budget, may well be the main reason President Buhari and the accountant general of the Federation, Ahmed Idris have insisted that staff of the universities should be enrolled under The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities(ASUU), is threatening to go on strike should government go ahead with the plan effective from this month.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a massive probe into alleged looting of over N150 billion by the immediate past governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji, and members of his family.
His sons – Chinendum Orji Eyinanya (currently Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly) and one Ogonna Orji – are also being investigated for having a hand in the alleged looting.
Orji is currently the senator representing Abia Central in the National Assembly.
The EFCC suspects that Senator Orji collected N48billion as security votes during his eight years in office at N500million per month.
He is said to have also been the authorising officer for the monthly withdrawal of N500million when he was the Chief of Staff to the jailed ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.
Investigators handling the probe rate Chinedum as a key player in laundering money for his father.
As at Thursday, the EFCC had traced 100 slush accounts to Chinedum.
Eighty per cent of the accounts are still active, The Nation gathered.
Chinedum went through a fresh round of grilling on Thursday before he was released on administrative bail.
However, a source told The Nation in Abuja that what has been uncovered so far against ex-Governor Orji and his sons, is a “tip of the iceberg” because more accounts linked to the family have just been uncovered.
“We are investigating the ex-governor and members of his immediate family, especially his two sons. They are Chinendum Orji Eyinanya (who is the present Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly) and one Ogonna Orji,” a reliable source said.
“The former governor has been intermittently coming for interrogation since November 22, 2018. So, for more than 13 months, our detectives have been painstaking in their covert operation including surfing of documents and invitation of some public officers. But the quizzing of ex-Governor Orji’s two sons has led to the unearthing of dirty deals during his tenure as the governor of Abia State. He is now a serving Senator.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that over 145 accounts have been linked with the family and the amount allegedly looted in eight years by the ex-governor was over N150billion. Chinedum alone has been operating 100 out of the 45 accounts with 80 per cent of them still active.
“Although we are still profiling more accounts, records confirmed that the ex-governor earned about N48billion in eight years as security votes at N500 million per month. He was also the authorising officer of the N500 million per month as security votes when the convicted ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu was the governor. He was Kalu’s Chief of Staff.
“The most interesting aspect of the investigation by EFCC is that most of the looted funds were withdrawn in cash and deposited in cash.
“Our detectives recorded a breakthrough on this fraud case through Bank Verification Number (BVN) system. So, it is not a case of witch-hunt, it is a matter of facts and figures in all the accounts.”
A brief on the preliminary investigation obtained from the EFCC gave an insight into the alleged looting of Abia State as follows:
“A petition dated March 17, 2017 was by filed by Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group alleging that the former Abia governor, Theodore Orji of receiving and diverting various sums of monies that accrued to Abia State.
“Such monies were:
*N383 billion revenue from federal accounts
*N55 billion Excess Crude Revenue
*N2.3 billion Sure-P
*N1.8 billion Ecological funds
*N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs.
*N4 billion loan from Diamond Bank
*N12 billion Paris Club refund
*N2 billion Agricultural loan for farmers
*N55 billion ASOPADEC
“The petitioners alleged that the funds were received by Abia State government and nothing could be shown in commensurate with the received funds. Based on the petition, the EFCC commenced investigations.
“In the course of investigation, it was discovered that the former governor who was Chief of Staff to the convicted ex-governor Orji Kalu was the Authorising Officer drawing N500 million monthly purported to be Security Votes which were being converted.
“As he became the governor in 2007, he continued to draw the N500 million cash monthly from June 2007 to May 2015.
“The N500 million, investigation revealed, is aside of the security funds expended on the Nigeria Police, The Nigerian Army, DSS, Navy anti-Kidnapping Squad, Anti- robbery Squad, purchase of Security equipment and vehicles for the security agencies.
“Investigation was extended to his family members to ascertain the link and culpability of the alleged fraud.
“The ex-governor’s first son, Chinendum Orji Eyinanya, who is currently the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, is now a frequent guest at the EFCC headquarters to throw light on his involvement in the fraud.
“A check on his financial activities revealed that he had about 100 accounts in different banks, with over 80% of the accounts still very active. The accounts which were both corporate and individual received so much deposit in cash without evidence of job or services rendered.
“Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805 is traced to Chinedum. The company received deposit of $20, 849, 044.21
“Same company with another account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
“Fotoworld has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229, $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of £1, 689, 320.89.
“The GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 between February 2009 and July 2014.
“Exact Construction Limited, traced to Chinedum, is believed to have no record of any construction work in the country; also received humongous deposits in Keystone Bank where account was opened.
“Between October 2008 and February 2015, the company account number 005374800 had deposits of N1, 188, 924, 190.41(One billion, one hundred and eighty eight thousand nine hundred and twenty four thousand one hundred and ninety naira forty one kobo).
“Another deposit of N636, 372, 642.85 into Exact Construction Limited, Keystone Bank account number 1001538949.
“The GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 between February 2009 and July 2014.
“FBN account number 2008232908 also received lodgment of N599, 771, 424.25 between January 2011 and June 2016; account number 200823298 had N731, 135, 357.04 between 2007 and 2016.
“Fotofast Industry Limited is another company registered by the first family to siphon the resources of the state. Several accounts were opened in FBN by the company.
“The sum of N20, 861, 165.95 entered into the FBN account number 2014629152 between 2011 and 2017. Between 2011 and 2016, another N223, 929, 515.37 was lodged in Fotofast’s account number 2015559102 domiciled in FBN.
“Other lodgments in different Fotofast Industry Limited accounts with FBN were: account number 2014629152, n4, 103, 574, 603.59; account number 2015559102 (N223, 929, 515.37); account number 2005428513 had N1, 719, 939, 006.77 between 2007 and 2015; account number 2015559102 had N273, 941, 436.47. Between 2011 and 2015, FBN account number 2014668964, received the sum of N64, 898, 657.77.
“Several accounts were also opened in GTB by Fotofast Industry Limited. They include: account number 0040777462 which received deposits of N425, 606, 131.71 between 2002 and 2009; account number 0040777479 received N71, 815, 987 between 2002 and 2008; account number 0040777486 had N23, 463, 880 between 2008 and 2010 while N158, 499, 815 was the deposit in the GTB account number 0040777493. Another N50 million was lodged in GTB account number 0039691058.
“Orji Chinendum Eyinaya’s Diamond’s (now Access bank) personal account number 0029937780 in 2011 alone had $47, 726. 64. His personal account number 2014435973 with FBN had N117, 743, 822.01; his account number 0023390147 with Diamond Bank had $124, 284, 624.18; while his FBN account number 2005428506 had N342, 699, 356.36 between 2007 and 2017.
“Other personal account of the Speaker is the FCMB account number 3237996011 with N384, 914, 501.50 between 2016 and 2019; another n205, 508, 500 in FCMB account number 3237996028 between 2016 and 2019.
“Another FBN account number of the son, 2024073408 also received $601, 716.62 between 2013 and 2015. His FBN account number 2014435973 also had N153, 943, 822.01 between 2009 and 2016. Another N153, 000, 000 was deposited in account number 2014435973. His Access bank account number 0023390147 had N178, 389, 547.25 between 2011 and 2019 and another $48, 000 in the same bank account number 0029937780 in 2010.
“Cheetah Press Limited is another concern of the ex governor’s son now Speaker of the State Assembly. The company with FBN account number 2006413367 had deposits of N1, 083, 731, 890.93 between 2007 and 2017. In Union Bank, the same company had a deposit of N430, 980, 632.18 in account number 0034400341 (This account had consistent cash lodgment to the said amount.)
“Cheetah’s Standard Chartered account number 000171072 had N42, 009, 795.36 between 2011 and 2016.
“In GTB account number 0107577738, N241, 059074. 24 was traced to Cheetah Press between 2011 and 2016 and another N966, 041, 454 between 2011 and 2016. In UBA alone, Cheetah’s account number 1015210129 had N143, 851, 800 between 2010 and 2018; while account number 1008016040 had N2, 226, 458, 581.35 between 2016 and 2020. Yet another UBA account number 1011361993 of Cheetah had N782, 694, 255.77 between 2007 and 2019.
“Travel BETA. COM Ltd with 3002133811 had $788, 174.22 between 2016 and 2020; BETA.COM, yet another concern of the Orji’s had $788, 174.22 between 2016 and 2020.
“The analysis of several other accounts are still ongoing. The Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly was with operatives of the Commission on Thursday in continuation of the investigation.”
-Source: The Nation