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Diamond Bank In Fresh Crisis

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Diamond Bank Plc. is in fresh trouble. The Uzoma Dozie led financial institution ran into crisis for refusing to obey the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari issued September last year that all banks must transfer to Treasury Single Account with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monies belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

However, Diamond Bank bluntly refused to transfer the sum of 287 million dollars belonging to the NNPC to CBN and that is why the CBN barred the bank from the nation’s Foreign Exchange market. Insiders at CBN disclosed to us that Diamond Bank is still going to face severe penalty after paying the money to the CBN for daring to disobey the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Fidelity Bank Trains 200 Sokoto Varsity Students in Skill Acquisition

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Fidelity Bank Plc and Gazelle Academy have trained 200 undergraduates of Sokoto State University (SSU) in the acquisition of skills in fashion design, handsets repair, cocktail and make up.

Speaking at an event in Sokoto Monday, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Nwankwo, represented by the bank’s Head of Recruitment, Chris Nnawe, said the programme under Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy Stream 7 (YEa7) is part of the bank’s cooperate social responsibility.

“We in Fidelity bank have targeted programmes on education, environment and youth empowerment. This one you are witnessing today is part of fulfilling our promises to the society,” he said.

Nwankwo said that the programme started in 2016 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, stressing that since then the bank and its partner, Gazelle Academy, have visited more than five higher institutions in the country, as this one is stream 7 of the programme.

According to him, youths were trained to acquire some skills to enable them to be self reliant and also make them to be employers of labour even while in school.

He disclosed that at the end of the training, start packs will be given to each participant to aid him/her to start something of their own, adding that after the undergraduates’ education, they can seek for soft loans from the Small, Medium Enterprise (SMEs) Department of the bank.

On her part, the founder of Gazelle Academy, Mrs Muna Unuozo, said the programme was aimed at equipping the students with skills that they could use while still in school or after graduation.

She said that with the knowledge of the skill acquired, they could fend for themselves even while in school.

Speaking at the event, the Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal thanked Fidelity Bank and Gazelle Academy for chosing the school for the programme.

Tambuwal said that as a responsible government, his administration have prioritized the welfare of the youths in the state.

He enjoined the participants to be focused and concentrate in order to benefit from the training.

Earlier, the Vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Sani Dangogo, thanked Fidelity Bank and Gazelle Academy for the benevolent gesture, saying the training will go a long way in alleviating the financial burden of the students.

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Gokada to rebrand as delivery company — after Lagos okada ban

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Gokada, a bike-hailing company with operations based in Lagos, is redirecting its focus to logistics.

This is coming after the Lagos state government under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo-Olu banned the use of motorcycles and tricycles in 16 local governments and local council development areas.

Tweeting in response to a report about the company laying off most of its workforce, Fahim Saleh, Gokada CEO, said: “We still have money in the bank and are pivoting towards deliveries while this transport ban gets sorted”.

According to Saleh, the company was due to make a profit in January when the ban was announced.

Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos state commissioner for information and strategy, said the ban was decided after a review of casualties.

“After a robust assessment of the debate on what has been widely referred to as the motorcycle (okada) and tricycle (Keke Marwa) menace, the Lagos state government and the state security council have decided that the security and safety of lives of Lagosians are paramount,” he said.

“The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as at date.”

In May 2019, Gokada announced that it secured $5.3 million investment through a fundraising process.

At the time, it said it would deploy the investment to expanding its driver fleet, increasing daily rides by 10 fold and acquiring local talent.

Since its launch in 2018, Gokada said it has acquired approximately 1,000 motorcycles and completed one million rides.

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FCMB Deepens Empowerment of SMEs in Ogun State, as First Lady Commends Bank

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has restated its commitment to the productivity and profitability of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) through funding, capacity building, advisory and other forms of support that would boost their overall contributions to economic development.

FCMB, which is rated as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria in the latest Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey report by KPMG, gave the assurance at a free and comprehensive capacity building and empowerment programme it organised for women entrepreneurs in Ogun State, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of the State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, on February 5, 2020. 

The programme, themed, “Supporting Women Businesses to Scale Up in 2020’’ and under the auspices of FCMB’s SME Advisory and SheVentures initiative for women entrepreneurs, was attended by hundreds of existing and start-up entrepreneurs across Ogun State, seasoned professionals from the Bank of Industry (BoI), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), among others. It focused on business and skills development, marketing, finance, taxation, cost and revenue management, business plan writing, in addition to other topical issues. 

Speaking at the opening session, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the Bank recognises the increasing role and impact of SMEs, especially women-owned ones. According to her, ‘’it is a fact that in Nigeria, several women have risen through various challenges to become top entrepreneurs. Through resilience and innovation, they have taken the front seat in driving growth in this sector and by extension the larger economy. However, we believe that women can do better in the SMEs ecosystem if provided with the requisite skills and other resources.’’.

Mrs. Smith added that, “as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria, we have built a strong base in this segment by consistently offering various cutting-edge solutions under our key pillars of support, which are, access to capital, capacity building, advisory services, networking opportunity and technology. We are excited that these interventions have tremendously impacted individuals, businesses and the nation’s economy, especially through job and wealth creation.”.

She expressed gratitude to the Ogun State Government and the Office of the First Lady for providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, while urging the participants to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the training. 

In her keynote address, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Abiodun, said, ‘’as a firm believer in initiatives that focus on boosting the economic capacity of women and offering both financial and non-financial support to women-owned enterprises, I consider this programme as a step in the right direction. I was excited when I was informed about the FCMB SheVentures initiative. Financial empowerment remains one of the most important means of eradicating poverty among women in the developing world, as seen in Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria’’.

She added that, “we have had numerous empowerment programmes in Nigeria. Many were driven by capacity building programmes followed by loans and grants to women to start-up businesses.  However, studies have shown that these initiatives, while having some value failed to reach their full potential because of one missing ingredient, which is financial education as a vehicle to actualise the full value of any business venture. And here today, FCMB through its efforts to ensure that women owned businesses in Ogun state and Nigeria as a whole are not left out in the development of the nation’s economy, has delivered this very much sought after Financial Education to us on a first class level amongst an array of financial solutions’’. 

FCMB provides numerous offerings to SMEs in Nigeria, including FCMB SME Advisory Services through market intelligence, technical assistance support and access to intervention funds in partnership with Development Financial Institutions. There is also the FCMB SheVentures initiative, which provides enhanced support to women-owned SMEs through access to finance, training and mentoring with the unique benefit of zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months. So far, over 2000 women entrepreneurs have benefitted from this.  

The Bank has also automated and digitized its lending process for SMEs through the FCMB 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 each application.

For more information about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com.

See pictures from the event below:

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