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THE VOICE NIGERIA: FIRSTBANK IMPRINTS IN ENTERTAINMENT, YOUTHS DEVELOPMENT

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By Israel Bolaji-Gbadamosi

One of the key metrics that well defines a truly 21st century brand beyond profit-making is its ability to connect with customers and stakeholders as a complete enabler, touching on vital aspects of their lives, creating exciting memories and enabling them to access more enjoyable and convenient lifestyle, in shopping, studying, working, traveling, family living, entertainment and aspirations.

Its ability to also give back to the community through tangible corporate social investment programs that significantly translate to improved living and not just mere formality and publicity stunts is also pertinent.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is giving a good account of itself in this regard not only as a true financial powerhouse but also as a life enabler, helping Nigerians live better and achieve their dreams.

In retrospect, banking, decades ago, was essentially about providing financial services and products to merely aid customers’ financial transactions. However, the smart ones are indeed changing the game. Not only is the envelope being pushed to ensure that the unbanked are banked through financial inclusion offers even to the remotest villages, but FirstBank has also taken banking to another level. Backed by superior technology firepower and capacity, it is assisting not only adults but also Nigerian youths to live better and fulfill their dreams.

The Nigerian nation and the most populous black nation of the world indeed has a youth bulge as observed by many experts with a growing army of young and vibrant people below 25 years of age constituting over 60% of its 200million population! While an unrelenting rate of unemployment, weak economy, soaring inflation and despair appear to dominate the national mentality, many youths are finding solace in entertainment, breaking the ceiling with their creative ingenuity, shunning out award-winning hits and in fact making global headlines in music and other entertainment offshoots like movies, comedy skits and contemporary dance.

Nigeria’s 29-year-old singer, Damini Ogulu popularly called Burna Boy in March shocked the world winning the world’s most coveted Grammy Award in the Best World Music category during the 63rd annual edition in Los Angeles Atlanta while another 30-year-old Nigerian artiste, Ayo Balogun aka Wizkid was also a co-winner in the Best Music Video category for Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl. These young Nigerian global music icons were raised and honed their skills in the suburbs of Nigeria through homegrown competitions and platforms.

Music reality shows have also unveiled and nurtured music and entertainment talents like Timi Dakolo, Iyanya, Praise, Omawumi and other A-list musicians in Nigeria. This is why FirstBank’s intervention and sponsorship of a music and youths talents harnessing platform like The Voice Nigeria is strategic and instructive, and quite capable of helping to harness and nurture music and entertainment talents into celebrated musicians, make global stars of Nigerian youths, and truly help them achieve their dreams. Obviously, Firstbank has been a prominent force visibly empowering talents and the nation, and without the much-needed lifeline, many young talents would be taking to crime or other vices.

For over 127 years, the premier bank has been at the forefront of nation-building; supporting through resourceful partnerships to build the Nigerian creative industry value chain which contributed 2.3 percent (N239 billion) to Nigeria’s GDP in 2016 (NBS).

The bank’s support for the Voice Nigeria is also a demonstration of its commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.

The bank assured that it has given voice to Nigerians for the past 127 years and will continue to give voice to Nigerians by creating employment, economic empowerment in the country through its products, services and initiatives and it remains committed to strengthening the creative industry which is fast growing into a multibillion-dollar business, with potential to be a leading contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in the near future.

In fact, FirstBank has the network; reach and digital capability to enable the Voice. With its agent banking network across the nooks and crannies in the country, it is helping in the search for the talent that will become a true inspiration to all.

True to the name, the Voice Nigeria has lived up to its promise, as it offers exciting and relaxing entertainment to families, music lovers, and other entertainment-loving Nigerians who look forward to fresh seasons and episodes of the well-crafted music program.

Now in its season 3, the Reality TV show has been a masterpiece in the last six episodes of the current season as viewers are serenaded by several awesome performances and display of raw talents on the show’s blind auditions which ended on Saturday, May 1. The episode ended with raging emotions, exhilarating sensations and blistering anticipation as the four judges – Falz The Bad Guy, Waje, Yemi Alade and Dare Art Alade had one final opportunity to forge their winning team.

So far, the coaches, hosts, producers and amazing talents have been a great delight to watch. They have been awesome with their good-natured banters, hilarious drama, top-notch fashion, electrifying opening performances, talent courting speeches, and chair turning and bell thumping spectacle. The optics is exciting! The expectation on the show has been so intense; you could cut with a butter knife. The coaches’ approach at winning talents over to their team has been fun and a fine blend.

There were no holds barred, as the judges were very warm, animated, upbeat, inspiring and full of energy. They were definitely not a team of avuncular examiners waiting to pass judgments. They brought much gusto and effect to the big stage! While Falz threw up his magical comic card severally, Dare maintained the cool dude posture while Yemi and Waje both brought on the alluring feminine appeal with Waje sometimes speaking in Igbo to convince a talent. In all, they fared well, each getting a fair share of talents to mentor and their combination depicted a perfect combo.

The talents on their part have not disappointed viewers. They came in different shades across both genders, with varying voice textures, mix and pitches – smooth, silky, velvet, shrill, husky, coarse or simply rough. And to the best of their abilities, they did justice to many songs, including some classic tunes and old hits. The creative fusion of multiple genres of music by some smart talents who beautifully delivered a unique blend of music made good impressions which won the judge’s hearts. The awful looks on the faces of those who the judges would simply not behold, having failed to captivate their attention with the voice. The uncontrollable joy of those who got the bell ring and standing ovation and the incredible looks on their loved ones who came to show support. Not forgetting the jazzy presence and reassurances from the co-hosts including Toke Makinwa and Nancy Ikime which also complimented the soothing potpourri.

Interestingly, FirstBank made some smart moves on the show, with the bold inscription of “This is the moment you have been waiting for, Time to put You First”, clearly displayed at the entry of the contestant for the stage performance. This reinforces the bank’s thrust as an inspiration to motivate the talents and youths at large to excellence. It has also promised viewers mouth-watering prizes just by watching the show regularly and following updates on FirstBank verified social media handles.

Now that the Blind auditions stage has come to an end, it is game on! The next phase of the show is the highly anticipated Knockout Stage which starts on May 8. In this stage, the coaches will select the most outstanding talents to proceed to the battles. In this stage, there is so much to come and fans will certainly not be ready for all that is in store.

More than ever, the show’s fans are hopeful that the knockout stage will even be more entertaining but that will certainly not be a challenge with the dexterity of the handlers so far.

With all that has been seen so far, it is difficult to believe that this is only the beginning; it is certain that there is so much more to come.

Business

Half-Year Performance: Transcorp Plc Shows Powerful Growth as Profit Leaps by 713%

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Transcorp Hotels

Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has released its unaudited results for the half-year ended June 2021, recording significant improvement across its major income lines.

The Conglomerate with strategic investments in the Power, Hospitality, and Energy sectors, recorded a profit after tax of N6.5bn, rising by 713% up from N0.8bn recorded in June of the previous year. Other key highlights of the result include the following:

  • Revenue rose by 53%, from N35.0bn in June 2020 to N53.3bn in the period under consideration.
  • Gross profit grew by 60%, from N14.7bn in June 2020 to N23.5bn in June 2021.
  • Profit before tax rose by 689% from N0.9bn in June 2020 to N7.1b in June 2021.

Commenting on the performance, Transcorp’s President/Group CEO, Mrs. Owen Omogiafo, reiterated the Conglomerate’s commitment towards producing long-term value and sustainable impact. “We are pleased to see the sustained growth in our group performance, which was achieved as a result of the improved performance across all the sectors we operate in. The revenue achieved in our power business grew by 48%, as a result of improved gas supply and increased generation capacity”, she stated.

Commenting on the hospitality sector, Omogiafo stated that the company’s strategic actions have resulted in a growth in revenue of up to 84%, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the Nigerian and global hospitality industries. She expressed confidence in the company’s recovery strategies, citing the recent official launch of Aura, the company’s digital hospitality platform, as a testament to that confidence.

On the Group’s capacity to sustain its performance, Omogiafo said, “We do not plan to rest on our oars. We will continue to sweat our existing assets and explore new frontiers, as we continue to deliver on our purpose of Improving Lives and Transforming Nigeria.”

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Rethinking safe-haven assets and building resilient portfolios with Xend Finance

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As with most things in life, feeling overwhelmed as a newbie is simple, and this is especially true in such a volatile market as the world of cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the uncertainty and worries, the world of cryptocurrency has the potential to have a unique and substantial impact on anyone’s financial stability.

Government Bonds, treasury bills, and other forms of fixed income investments are undeniably considered as safe haven investments due to their low risk, but with inflation on the increase, the question arises how safe is money locked up for a specific period of time?

It is therefore important to build a resilient portfolio able to minimize risks and mitigate volatility, diversity into multiple unrelated investments, deliver steady returns and also able to recognize changing market conditions, new opportunities and respond accordingly.
Enter the world of Stablecoins. A less volatile cryptocurrency asset pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or to exchange-traded commodities (such as precious metals or industrial metals).

Compare to other forms of cryptocurrency assets like bitcoin, or altcoins the advantages of stablecoins are stabilized by assets that fluctuate outside of the cryptocurrency space that is prices are pinned to real-world assets.
Most stablecoins are pegged to the US Dollar as they are an easy way to get exposure to the crypto space without having to worry about volatility.

You can build a resilient portfolio with stable coins by having a good foundation on which you can build and protect your investment portfolio. This is necessary to provide a buffer when the markets are volatile or things go south.

These stablecoins also provide diversification as Investor Phillips Hodges mentioned in an interview emphasized the importance of balancing factors affecting the returns you can get across the different than the classes themselves. Stable coins also provide the extra diversification a portfolio needs to stay afloat in a stormy market, minimize losses due to their low volatility.

Be rest assured as an investor that your portfolio can only said to be strong when you have investments that can stand the test of time. Inflations and rickety market conditions.
If you’re a fund manager looking to get exposure to the crypto space through stable coins, send an email to [email protected] and someone would be in touch with you.

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Market formation framework, driver to optimally develop solid mineral sector- Ifie Sekibo 

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Ifie Sekibo

MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has said that the market formation framework is the key to optimally exploit Nigeria’s precious metal and solid minerals endowments. He disclosed this during a webinar organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development with the theme, “Financing the Solid Minerals Sector through the Capital Market and the Critical Role of Commodity Exchanges.”  

Sekibo explained that a fully established market formation process that would lead to having a Corporation as an integrated solid mineral institution like NNPC which allows the collateralization of assets those banks can rely on for alternative funding options.

According to him, this will guarantee other creative ways of raising funds for financing commercial activities relating to solid minerals and viable projects along its value chain.

Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, of the Bank, Olusegun Akanji, said for the sector to be viable, it requires lots of converged government interventions because for any development focused sector to kick-off around the world, it needs government intervention to lay the foundation for the private sector and funders to step-in and pool their resources.

“Once, we can collateralize these assets, whether they are under the ground or being determined, you use different instruments to bring liquidity into them. Then investors will follow up once we have established there is enough they can explore.” the MD stated.

He further suggested that finance sector regulators need to expand their Prudential Guidelines to accommodate the instruments such that precious metal-backed or solid minerals-backed assets could qualify as part of the computation of liquidity ratios.

“Once banks start injecting their resources, customers would certainly follow that trend. You can start arranging for sophisticated solutions like bonds, bullion-backed assets and pension notes. Again, banks will have to be poised to hold the funding that comes from this sector; that way, they can open new transactional frontiers either locally or internationally.

“At the base of this, are the issues of pricing and integrity of the market. Once banks play in that sector and we have a government institution like the NNPC type to hold all this documentation, it would be very easy to establish price discovery on an ongoing basis. This will in turn attract international funders, hedge funds and retail investors. Today, we have retail bonds in the same way; we can have gold-backed or any of the solid mineral assets where retail investors can put in the funds,” Sekibo explained.

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Heritage Bank Plc has said its involvement in the private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Limited is set to unlock the over N344 trillion market worth of gold investible instruments in the solid minerals sector.

However, he reiterated that a consistent packaged framework, which could only be held by an established government institution, as part of the layers of the framework, would help to tackle major challenges in trying to support Dukia Gold’s clients.

“With a consistent packaged framework, it will be easier for Dukia Gold and help in less spending. If Dukia Gold should speak of their challenges, they will speak about tonnes of documents they have to produce. But with a unified source of documentation, it makes the process easier and improves cost management. These are some of the challenges we have experienced in trying to support a few clients we worked with,” Sekibo stated.

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