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Standard Bank considers expansion into new markets – CEO

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Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank, said on Thursday it could consider expansion into new markets, possibly via acquisitions, as its strategy to focus its resources on the continent had paid off.

While presenting the bank’s half-year results, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sim Tshabalala, said it expected its African operations’ share of assets to continue growing relative to that of its home market, South Africa.

Tshabalala said the bank would fight fiercely for market share.

Even in the face of a stagnating home market, characterised by high levels of personal debt and widespread unemployment, the bank grew its headline earnings per share to 837.4 cents ($0.5591), against 794 cents recorded in the same period last year.

That 5 per cent increase was slightly better than the 3 per cent posted by Nedbank on Tuesday and helped to lift Standard Bank shares by 1.2 per cent in morning trading.

‘’We might also consider further greenfield expansion, particularly digital expansion,’’ he said.

According to him, acquisitions are also a possibility.

Standard Bank’s extensive operations outside of South Africa helped it grow profits in the six months to June 30 by 5 per cent, despite a deteriorating economy at home.

All of South Africa’s major lenders have looked elsewhere in Africa for growth, but the size of Standard Bank’s continental operations gives it an additional boost.

The bank also said on Thursday it would exercise an option to dispose of its 20 per cent stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) Argentinian operation – a relic from its abandoned foray into global emerging markets.

It expects to deliver a gain of about 600 million rand as a result of the transaction, saying that it will reinvest any proceed into its Africa-focused operations, which have produced more stable profit. (Reuters/NAN)

JI/AJA

 

Economy

Oil prices nudge higher, eyes on speech by Fed chair

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Oil

Singapore, Aug. 23, 2019 Oil prices clawed back the previous day’s losses on Friday, with Brent nudging above $60 a barrel.

This is as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand growth and investors await clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 29 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $60.21 a barrel by 0629 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 were at $55.53 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent.

Both contracts were on track for a second week of gains.

“Oil is set to trade quietly today as it’s all about the Jackson Hole (meeting) tonight,’’ said Jeffrey Halley, a Singapore-based senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA.

A speech by Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, later on Friday at a meeting of global central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is expected to provide clues on whether the U.S. central bank will cut interest rates for a second time this year to boost the world’s largest economy.

Traders’ expectations of further U.S. monetary easing were clouded by comments from two Fed officials on Wednesday who said they do not see a case for a rate cut now.

“If Powell talks about lower for longer and reverses some of the hawkish comments that we heard from Fed members earlier this week, we could see it supporting oil,’’ said Michael McCarthy, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

McCarthy also said Brent has good support at $60 a barrel on technical charts and may have some upside potential.

Brent prices fell in July and are down so far in August, dropping after the International Energy Agency and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut demand growth forecasts due to risks to global economy from the U.S.-China trade war.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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NIPC, SMEDAN link MSMEs with larger coys

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The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), has said that its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) “Market Linkage” initiative was designed to connect MSMEs to larger companies to boost economic growth.

Mr Emeka Offor, Director, Strategic Communications Department, NIPC, said this on Thursday in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting was organised by NIPC and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to work out strategies for the business linkages.

Offor said that NIPC has been collaborating with SMEDAN to foster linkages which would enable the MNEs and LLCs to outsource operations which could be conveniently handled by MSMEs thereby opening new opportunities for them.

“It is also designed to encourage and promote producers of industrial raw materials by large companies.

“It will forge linkages that emphasise technology partnerships and to support the upgrading of local MSMEs capacity.

“It is designed to encourage the creation of new backward linkages with local suppliers, as well as deepen and upgrade existing backward linkages with the suppliers.”

The director recalled that in January 2019, after the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIPC and SMEDAN, the Joint Technical Committee was inaugurated and it commenced implementation of the work plan.

Offor explained that NIPC was requested to provide technical support and take the lead in the organisation of the stakeholders’ engagement while SMEDAN would facilitate the implementation of the match-making.

According to him, the first phase of the action plan which is the pilot programme is to focus on agro-industries and agro allied machineries, metal and foundry, plastic and rubber, electrical and industrial services and to later spread to other sectors.

Mr Monday Ewans, Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion, SMEDAN, identified lack of access to local, regional and global market as one of the major challenges militating against optimal performance of MSMEs in Nigeria.

This, he said, would bridge the gap and enable local content development and participation in various sectors of the economy.

“The initiative is designed such that by creating market access for active MSMEs operating in Nigeria, they will be able  to contribute to economic growth through increased output and income.

” It entails identifying and selecting MSMEs and suppliers for profiling to build existing database suppliers, subcontractors and service providers.

“It also involves identifying prospective buyers and original equipment manufacturers that will culminate in compilation of buyer list.”

According to him, profiling and match-making will be conducted in Lagos and Kano states between MSMEs and large enterprises.  

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Ikeazor promises to speak for pensioners as she leaves PITAD

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, has assured pensioners that she will continue to speak for them at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Ikeazor, the out-going Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja at a reception organised by members of the directorate to celebrate her new appointment.

Ikeazor was among the 43 ministers inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

Ikeazor, who took over the leadership of PITAD in October 2016, pledged to continue defending pensioners’ interest at a higher level.

“ With my appointment as a federal minister, pensioners now have a voice in the FEC, I will always be speaking out for pensioners anywhere I am,” she said.

Ikeazor attributed her success in office to the cooperation she received from staff of the directorate and charged them to support his successor.

She advised them to sustain the momentum at the directorate by working hard and ensuring that all pensioners were treated fairly.

“I know I have driven you all hard but please as I leave, do not relent, keep the pace, hold on to all stakeholders and continue with the hard work I started, “she said.

She further advised heads of government agencies in the country to give National Youth Service Corps members posted to serve in their offices opportunity to grow, saying that “in them, lie great abilities.’’

Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, SERVICOM National Coordinator congratulated Ikeazor for her new appointment, saying she merited it.

Akajemeli noted that during her tenure at PITAD, Ikeazor entrenched social justice in the directorate and ensured that every pensioner received their due.

She said that interaction with pensioners by SERVICOM revealed that Ikeazor brought good service to pensioners in the country.

“During your tenure in office, you were able to right the wrongs and strengthen the directorate by bringing service to the people with responsibility and visibility.

“We have seen the difference; you have indeed brought good service to the people, especially pensioners.

“You recorded tremendous successes in PITAD which has brought you to this height, “ she said.

Akajemeli recalled that Ikeazor while in office set up an independent committee that ensured the regularisation of staff in PITAD.

“We wish you the very best and we look forward to greater achievements from you, in your new assignment as Minister of State for Environment,“ she added.

Also, Mr Chille Igbawua, the Chief Commissioner of the Federation, Public Complaints Commission, said Ikeazor`s success in PITAD would continue to speak volumes.

According to him, Ikeazor is leaving behind a legacy that will continue to speak for her long after her exit from office.

Some pensioners  said Ikeazor took pensioners as special people which earned her lots of respect and regards.

To them, she succeeded in her job not because she is a woman, but because she decided to be “a human being with passion to help“.

Dr Chioma Ejikeme has been appointed to take over from Ikeazor as PITAD Executive Secretary.

Present at the event were representatives from the Police Service Commission, PITAD past Executive Secretaries, Military and Police Service Retiree Association and association of different pensioners’ unions.

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Shipping expo exhibition will create more employment, investment opportunities – SOAN

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President of  Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, says the Shipping Expo exhibition will create more employment and investment opportunities toward boosting the nation’s economy.

Onyung, who made the disclosure at a news briefing in Lagos on Thursday, said that the theme of the expo: “The Ocean Blue Economy and National Development”, was chosen to enable Nigeria explore opportunities in the blue economy.

According to him,  the exhibition tagged: “The Lagos international Shipping Expo,” scheduled to hold in Nov.  27 and 28 at Oriental Hotel, will expose Nigerians to utilise the resources of the ocean for sustainability.

“Our Cabotage Law has been with us for 15 years now, we see it as  contribution to ensuring that we open the doors for people to understand what cabotage really means and the opportunities in it.

“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had established  a committee between the agency and stakeholders to look into the challenges affecting the waivers in the last five years.

“We must have both ship building and ship repair yard in Nigeria, there is need to open up for acquisiton.

“Within the next five years,  the Nigeria Content will be in the region of 3.5 billion dollars and in order to enjoy these benefits, we need to upgrade our capacity.

”The upcoming conference will open opportunities to collaborate toward ship building opportunities in Nigeria,” onyung said.

He said the association was working toward decongesting the Lagos ports by reviving the other ports in the country to create more jobs for Nigerians.

Onyung said  Nigeria was blessed with over 840 kiloliters of Nautical miles of coastline and nearly 10,000 kilometers of Inland waters, adding that Norwegian had their waters frozen for eight months in a year but it owned a lot of ships in the country now.

He explained that shipping was an old trade but Nigeria was yet to benefit and need to build capacity in the shipping business.

The SOAN boss said all shipowners in Nigeria have been working tirelessly to ensuring that Cabotage act is effective in the country .

He emphasised the need for Nigerian to expand shipping capacity, saying that marine notice had been established by NIMASA to ban substandard ships coming into the country.

From left,  Vice President,  Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr Eno Williams, President of SOAN,  Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, Technical Committee of SOAN and Chief Coordinator, Mr Lucky Akhiwu,   Mrs Jite Gbeje, during the briefing of Association conference in Lagos

 

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CBN donates ‘Centre of Excellence’ worth N7bn to ABU, Zaria

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday donated buildings named ‘CBN Centre of Excellence’ worth seven billion naira to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

Speaking with newsmen during the inauguration of the project in Zaria, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the project was part of the apex bank’s intervention in education.

Emefiele explained that the centres would be delivered in phases and the first phase which comprised the University of Nigeria Nsuka, University of Ibadan and ABU Zaria were ready.

He said others that were under construction were University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, Bayero University, Kano and University of Maiduguri.

According to him, education and health are the bedrock of any nation’s development and there is thevneed to invest in them.

The governor said the purpose of establishing the centre was to have post-graduate studies in Economics, Accounting, Banking, Finance, Management and Marketing.

He said that the centre which had auditorium that could accommodate 500 students would compete with any business school in economics, banking and finance globally.

According to him, the hostel rooms are equipped with ICT facilities and an ea-Library.

Emefiele said that when the centre becomes operational, programmes such as Forensic Accounting, Global Financial Market, Risk and Compliance Management would be run at the centre.

He said the bank would get involved in the facilities’ management to ensure the centre was not run down.

The governor also disclosed that the bank would bring in accounting specialists and practitioners working in central banks across the world to bring their wealth of experience to bare in the centre.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Garba commended CBN for the gesture.

Garba said the donation of the centre was the highest intervention the university had ever received, adding that it would enhance academic learning, especially at post graduate level.

He said the centre had given the university the opportunity to establish a Business School to offer Economics, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Statistics in post graduate studies.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday donated buildings named ‘CBN Centre of Excellence’ worth seven billion naira to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

Speaking with newsmen during the inauguration of the project in Zaria, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the project was part of the apex bank’s intervention in education.

Emefiele explained that the centres would be delivered in phases and the first phase which comprised the University of Nigeria Nsuka, University of Ibadan and ABU Zaria were ready.

He said others that were under construction were University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, Bayero University, Kano and University of Maiduguri.

According to him, education and health are the bedrock of any nation’s development and there is thevneed to invest in them.

The governor said the purpose of establishing the centre was to have post-graduate studies in Economics, Accounting, Banking, Finance, Management and Marketing.

He said that the centre which had auditorium that could accommodate 500 students would compete with any business school in economics, banking and finance globally.

According to him, the hostel rooms are equipped with ICT facilities and an ea-Library.

Emefiele said that when the centre becomes operational, programmes such as Forensic Accounting, Global Financial Market, Risk and Compliance Management would be run at the centre.

He said the bank would get involved in the facilities’ management to ensure the centre was not run down.

The governor also disclosed that the bank would bring in accounting specialists and practitioners working in central banks across the world to bring their wealth of experience to bare in the centre.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Garba commended CBN for the gesture.

Garba said the donation of the centre was the highest intervention the university had ever received, adding that it would enhance academic learning, especially at post graduate level.

He said the centre had given the university the opportunity to establish a Business School to offer Economics, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Statistics in post graduate studies.

The CBN’s Centre of Excellence at University of Nigeria Nsuka was inaugurated in January this year.

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