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Biola Arogundade Gives Hope

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Abiola Arogundade oozes class and panache no doubt; meeting her for the first time will sweep you off your feet as her oratory and highly cerebral prowess will attract you to her. All her life, she is a result-oriented person as he talks less and believes in more action.

The Ondo State-born lady, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on technical vocation and entrepreneurship education, cut her teeth first with the British House of Commons from 2004 to 2009, where she served as a Policy Researcher and Adviser for the All Parliamentary Party Group for Africa. Where she advised on critical Foreign Direct Investment matters, presenting comprehensive analyses to influential figures, and steering high-stakes discussions on debt relief and governance-related issues in Africa.

 She also served at the Lagos State Government, as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Economic Planning from 2009 to 2015. Her tenure was marked by pioneering the establishment of the Evidence-Based Impact Assessment Unit, where she meticulously analysed budget allocations’ effects on the economy, redirected funds for maximum impact, and presented comprehensive reports to the executive council. Last weekend on the 8th of June, in her capacity as SSA EVEE, she once again showed the stuff she was made of when she unveiled her Unleash Potentials, Driving Economic Potentials U-Lock Programme while participants graduated after months of intense training and they were presented with startup grants worth N500,000. The event which was held at Asokoro, Abuja had an attendance of over 120 participants, including top government officials, aides, ministers and other captains of industry. Arogundade disclosed that the U-lock program was conceptualized to bring hope to the youth demography and also teach them the potential of learning handiwork and transit from the white-collar world to creating jobs and employment through unlocking potentials. She also gave out solar-fitted mobile kiosks to winners. She also through the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC registered their businesses and also ensured they opened a bank account with Providus Bank to ensure smooth transactions and free flow of funds for economic gains.  

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ADAORA UMEOJI HIGHLIGHTS ZENITH BANK’S ROBUST FINANCIAL METRICS: SAYS BANK IS POISED TO CROSS THE N1 TRILLION MARK IN PROFIT IN 2024

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Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, held its Capital Markets Day last week to showcase the bank’s inherent values as it embarks on its recapitalisation journey. The event, which brought together key market players, focused on the bank’s growth trajectory, strategic objectives, market performance, and consistent, robust dividend payout over the years. It also provided an opportunity for the bank to inform capital market stakeholders about its robust risk management culture, adherence to regulations, capital adequacy, and maintenance of low non-performing loan levels.

Addressing capital market stakeholders, investors, and analysts at the event in Lagos, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dame Dr Adaora Umeoji, highlighted the financial institution’s tier-1 capital of N1.8 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N2.3 trillion, market capitalisation of N1.3 trillion, a profit before tax of N796 billion, and a dividend of N4 per share for the year ended December 2023. Providing guidance for 2024, she noted that, given the trend of the bank’s performance and having achieved a profit before tax of N796 billion in 2023 and N320 billion in the first quarter of 2024, the bank is on track to deliver over N1 trillion in profit before tax in 2024. She expressed confidence that, with the quality of the board and management and a strong corporate culture, the bank is well-positioned to deliver superior value to investors and other stakeholders and to navigate the recapitalisation process successfully. She also disclosed some of the bank’s future plans, which include driving financial inclusion, expanding corporate and retail banking through technology and other state-of-the-art digital platforms, and establishing a fintech subsidiary, ZenPay, to drive profitability. Additionally, the bank intends to expand to France and other Francophone African countries.

Dr Umeoji explained, “For us at Zenith, we won’t be left out. We are planning to go to the market to raise capital, and as it stands, Zenith Bank has the least amount of capital to raise. We are looking to raise N230 billion because we are already at N270.7 billion. That is the least capital to raise among our peers. We believe that Zenith Bank has what it takes. We have the capacity, the network, the balance sheet, the human capital, and the track record to achieve that. We are planning for the future, and the technology we have now is the best in the entire industry. It will help us to have a seamless process and integrate.”

Also speaking, the Chief Financial Officer/General Manager, Dr Mukhtar Adam, pointed out that in the last five years, the bank’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in revenue has grown by over 27 per cent. “This continues to grow year-on-year. Within this period, at some point, Nigeria went into recession, but we forged ahead, worked very hard, and continued to deliver growth. Within the last five years, our profit before tax has also grown cumulatively by about 28 per cent. This is a market where, at some point, government instruments – treasury bills – were paying one per cent, two per cent, three per cent. But we forged ahead to grow the numbers and provide stable returns of at least 28 per cent.”

Zenith Bank recently emerged as the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Banking Awards 2024, retaining the award for the fourth consecutive year. The bank was also named Best Corporate Governance, Nigeria, for the third year running in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2024. The awards, published in the Summer 2024 issue of World Finance Magazine, recognise the bank’s robust financial performance, superior customer service, sustainability initiatives, and corporate governance practices.

Commenting on the dual honours, Dr. Umeoji said, “These awards highlight our steadfast dedication to excellence, adherence to global best practices, and our persistent effort to deliver superior value to all stakeholders through innovative products and services. Receiving these awards consecutively for multiple years signifies the commitment of our staff, the loyalty of our customers, and the support of our shareholders. We remain devoted to setting industry benchmarks and driving excellence across all aspects of our operations.”

Dr. Umeoji also expressed delight at the recognition and dedicated the awards to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, for his impactful leadership in establishing a robust and flourishing institution. She also expressed gratitude to the board for their vision and insight, the staff for their unwavering dedication, and the bank’s customers for choosing Zenith as their preferred bank. World Finance is a leading international magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business, and the global economy.

In its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, Zenith Bank achieved a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125 per cent in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023. The impressive growth in gross earnings resulted in a year-on-year increase of 180 per cent in profit before tax (PBT), from N284.7 billion in 2022 to N796 billion in 2023, while profit after tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202 per cent, from N223.9 billion to N676.9 billion for the period ended December 31, 2023.

The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Specifically, its interest income increased by 112 per cent, from N540 billion in 2022 to N1.1 trillion in 2023, while non-interest income grew by 141 per cent, from N381 billion to N918.9 billion in the same period. The rise in interest income was attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the increase in yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank’s cost of funds also grew from 1.9 per cent in 2022 to three per cent in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment, while interest expense increased by 135 per cent, from N173.5 billion in 2022 to N408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32 per cent growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4 per cent in 2022 to 36.1 per cent in 2023 due to improved top-line performance. Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118 per cent, from 16.8 per cent in 2022 to 36.6 per cent in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95 per cent, from 2.1 per cent to 4.1 per cent in the same period.

Zenith Bank was established in May 1990 and commenced operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. The bank became a public limited company on June 17, 2004, and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on October 21, 2004, following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO). In 2013, the bank listed $850 million worth of its shares at $6.80 each on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has more than 400 branches and business offices in prime commercial centres across all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Zenith Bank Plc, founded by Jim Ovia, CFR, in 1990, has since grown to become one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. The underlying philosophy is for the bank to remain a customer-centric institution with a clear understanding of its market and environment. Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards. These latest accolades follow several recognitions, including being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, among several others.

Zenith Bank Plc has blazed the trail in digital banking in Nigeria, achieving several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its customers. The bank is a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with state-of-the-art technologies in banking. Driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices, the bank has combined vision, skilful banking expertise, and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that anticipate and meet customers’ expectations, enable businesses to thrive, and grow wealth for customers.

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Wema Bank Commemorates International Day of Cooperatives in Collaboration with Lagos State Government

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Reiterates Commitment to Empowering Cooperative Societies for Optimal Productivity through CoopHub.

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank ALAT, has reiterated its commitment to empowering cooperative societies for optimal productivity through its digital solution for cooperatives, CoopHub, at the Lagos State Government Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment International Day of Cooperatives 2024 Event held on Saturday, 6th July 2024.

International Day of Cooperatives is a global celebration commemorated annually on the first Saturday of July, to recognise the significant impact of cooperative societies in promoting sustainable economic growth and their role in building a more sustainable future. Themed “Cooperatives: Building a Better Future For All”, the 2024 International Day of Cooperatives commemorated by the Lagos State Government in collaboration with Wema Bank, convened key players in the cooperative ecosystem towards proffering solutions to prevalent challenges faced by cooperatives in Nigeria and creating a more sustainable future for all, through the cooperative industry. CoopHub, Wema Bank’s digital solution for cooperative societies stood out as a key solution to not only overcoming the challenges impeding the growth of cooperative societies but also boosting economic growth and creating a better future for all.

CoopHub is a digital solution launched by Wema Bank to empower cooperative societies with the resources, opportunities and support they need to operate seamlessly, achieve maximum productivity and meet the needs of members in the most efficient way. Simultaneously eradicating the struggles of manual recordkeeping, poor access to loans, inefficient communication and planning, tedious processes and insecurity of funds and data, CoopHub refines the cooperative experience by facilitating secure financial transactions, 100% transparency within cooperative societies, easily accessible and trackable records for both members and leaders, efficient member management for leaders and real-time reporting for informed decision making, all from the comfort of their phones and gadgets, ensuring that cooperative societies can achieve their goals easily and remain productive. This revolutionary solution has proven itself a gamechanger for the Nigerian Cooperative Industry and potentially, will serve as the launchpad of the industry on the global scale.

Recapitulating the role of cooperative societies as an essential avenue for economic growth, Wema Bank’s Divisional Head of Retail and SME, Ayodele Olojede, emphasised the need for intentional, impactful and sustainable efforts towards the advancement of the Nigerian Cooperative Industry. “Cooperative Societies represent a very significant platform for socio-economic development and for us at Wema Bank, we stand proudly as the cooperative-centric bank that is committed to providing the resources and tailored solutions that these cooperatives need to thrive and remain successful. CoopHub is the perfect embodiment of this commitment, and we are thrilled that more cooperatives are discovering this solution and coming on board to optimise their operations and maximise the opportunities provided for their growth. The achievement of a sustainable and ideal future for cooperative societies not only requires that we adapt to the increasingly digital world we exist in, but also drive more inclusivity for the youth to also key in. CoopHub succinctly unites both pillars in one and as the digital solution pioneered by Nigeria’s most resilient and innovative bank, you can trust that the future we are enabling for cooperative societies is one that is built to last”.

“As the Bank that is committed to creating and promoting viable opportunities for women, in celebration of International Day of Cooperatives, we are supporting every woman present here at the Lagos State Government Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment International Day of Cooperatives 2024 Event, with a free healthcare plan through our women-focused proposition, SARA by Wema. We remain unwavering in our lifelong mission of empowering lives through innovation and are committed to proliferating our positive impact across every key vertical that is instrumental to the success of the people and the growth of the Nigerian economy. We take this unique celebration as an opportunity to further reiterate our commitment to empowering cooperative societies for optimal productivity through CoopHub. She concluded.

Since its launch in May 2024, CoopHub, the first of its kind in the Nigerian financial services industry, has onboarded over 1,000 cooperative societies, helping them optimise their operations and secure the resources and support they need to thrive with maximum efficiency. With its unique, simplified and tailored configuration, CoopHub stands as the future of Nigerian cooperative societies.

Cooperative Societies that are interested in getting started on CoopHub, are encouraged to visit https://coophub.alat.ng and get onboarded in minutes.

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Education commissioners meet to address sexual harassment issue in tertiary institutions

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 Commissioners for Education in the country will engage with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offenses Commission (ICPC) in Abuja to strategize on best way to address the pervasive issue of sexual harassment.

The meeting which is expected to
focus on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is convened by the ICPC and Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Ms Omowumi Ogunrotimi,
Executive Director, Gender Mobile Initiative, said the engagement would focus more on prevention frameworks rather than punitive measures.

“Development partners, education regulators, student groups and civil society organisations will engage and commit to the state-level adoption and implementation of sexual harassment prevention frameworks,” she said.

According to Ogunrotimi, the engagement scheduled to hold on July 9 will address the grave concern that undermines the safety, dignity and academic integrity of both victims and institutions.

“It is imperative that we create a learning environment where all students and educators can pursue their goals free from fear and intimidation.

“To achieve this, it is essential to implement comprehensive policies and effective prevention strategies.

“To this end a stakeholders engagement will be convoked on July 9 in Abuja, to address the pervasive issue of sexual harassment on campuses, with a comprehensive focus on prevention frameworks,” Ogunrotimi said.

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