On To Back, Zenith Bank Maintains Position As Nigeria’s Best Commercial Bank, Also Emerges Best Corporate Governance Bank At World Finance 2022 Awards.

R - L: Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc and Paul Richardson of World Finance during the presentation of the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria Awards to Zenith Bank at the London Stock Exchange, yesterday.
R – L: Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc and Paul Richardson of World Finance during the presentation of the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria Awards to Zenith Bank at the London Stock Exchange, yesterday.

Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as the Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2022, retaining the award for a second consecutive year. The bank was also named as the Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022.

The awards, which were presented to the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenener Onyeagwu at the London Stock Exchange yesterday, were in recognition of the bank’s ability to embrace digital transformation and best-in-class sustainability and corporate governance practices, leading to a stellar business performance in a difficult economic climate.

Commenting on the double recognition, Onyeagwu said that: “These awards reflect our strong business fundamentals, resilience and ability to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the market through our innovative solutions, as well as our commitment to global best practices. As a member and signatory to various domestic and international sustainability frameworks including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles, we continue to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating value for our shareholders, customers, clients, investors, communities and the environment through our practices, operations and investments.”

He dedicated the awards to the Founder and Group Chairman, Jim Ovia, CON, for his pioneering role in building the structures and laying the foundation for an enduring and very successful institution; the Board for the outstanding leadership they provide; the staff for their commitment and dedication; and the bank’s customers for making Zenith Bank their preferred financial Institution.

World Finance is a leading international magazine providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business and the global economy. The editorial combines award-winning reportage, covering a broad range of topics from banking and insurance to wealth management and infrastructure investment, with contributions from some of the world’s most well-respected economists and theorists as well as consultants in government think tanks and the World Economic Forum.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions including being voted as Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards; and Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020. Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, Zenith Bank was honoured as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 and emerged winner in four categories at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa

Unity Bank Announces Agric, Fashion Entrepreneurs, Others as Winners of N10M Corpreneurship Challenge Grant

L-R. Alao Olusegun Olaushebikan - Delta State NYSC State Coordinator,: Bede Okoye, Unity Bank Zonal Service Manager, Asaba  region: Lucky Egbelelo - 2nd prize winner of Corpreneurship pitch, Delta State and Mr. Abu Igemohia Mohammed - RM, Edo/Delta region during a Cheque presentation to winners of Corpreneurship Challenge recently
L-R. Alao Olusegun Olaushebikan – Delta State NYSC State Coordinator,: Bede Okoye, Unity Bank Zonal Service Manager, Asaba region: Lucky Egbelelo – 2nd prize winner of Corpreneurship pitch, Delta State and Mr. Abu Igemohia Mohammed – RM, Edo/Delta region during a Cheque presentation to winners of Corpreneurship Challenge recently

Unity Bank Plc has doled out a N10 million business grant to 30 corps members who emerged winners of the eighth edition of its flagship Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, known as Corpreneurship Challenge.

The winners emerged after a business pitch that took place across 10 states – Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu recently.

At the Rivers State NYSC Orientation camp at Nonwa Gbam Tai, the winners included Moses Obianuju Gloria, a fashion entrepreneur whose business plan won N500, 000 grant for a fabric production company; Emmanuel Godwin Adole, a budding commercial rice farmer who won N300, 000 grant; and Okotie Racheal Dokubere who took home N200, 000 grant to support her fashion production outfit specialising in office and outdoor outfits for women.

In Delta State, where the Corpreneurship Challenge also debuted in this edition, Adegoke Blessing Hezekiah, a fish farmer emerged as the overall winner to claim the N500,000 grant, while Egbelelo Lucky Etanami, a fashion entrepreneur and Tob Tamaraumien Ruth, emerged the first and second runner up to claim N300,000 and N200,000 prizes respectively.

Other winners from other states were also drawn from contestants whose business plans included fish production, poultry farming, fashion, soap and cake making, printing, piggery and beverage making.

To emerge as the winners, their business plans were assessed on originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

Speaking during the finale in Delta State, the Group Head, Retail, E-Business and SME Banking, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, said the competition has gradually become Nigeria’s premium business plan contest for emerging entrepreneurs.

“When we started the initiative in 2019, we had set out to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in Nigeria. So far, the initiative has resonated with the target audience and there is no gainsaying the fact, that this will continue to have a huge impact on job creation across the country.

Represented by Mr. Abu Igemohia Mohammed, the Regional Manager, Edo/Delta Region, Akinmade reiterated, “As we have maintained, the grants are not a loan and we want the money to be directed towards the profitable ventures which have been selected. We continue to encourage the winners to continue to learn the rudimentary lessons necessary to build a successful business. We emphasize that the budding entrepreneurs who take part in this initiative constantly think about the challenges they will face and put the same energy they all have displayed in preparing for this contest in their businesses as they face their post-service year ahead.”

He said the Bank will sustain the programme in order to achieve a record impact on entrepreneurship support and job creation.

The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 88 winners since it was launched.

Suspension of Trading in C & I Leasing Shares by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX)

C&I Leasing
C&I Leasing

The management of C&I Leasing PLC has reacted to the purported suspension of trading in the shares of the company.

The firrm on statement made available to BusinessUpdate said “our attention has been drawn to media reports regarding the temporary suspension of Trading in our Shares by the Nigerian Exchange.

We wish to clarify as follows:

Significantly, our operations are guided by multiple regulators for the different aspects of our services to various industries, which has delayed our filings even though our financial reports are presently up to date.

We are actively engaging with the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to resolve all outstanding regulatory obligations.

Nonetheless, we would submit our 2021 filings as soon as the necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained.

We crave the indulgence, and understanding of the general public, and also wish to reassure our shareholders and other stakeholders including all our esteemed customers of Management’s commitment to good corporate governance and global best practices in all our dealings.”

Ardova Plc Set to File 2021 Audited Financial Statement

Olumide Adeosun, Ardova plc
Olumide Adeosun,Ardova plc

The Board and Management of Ardova Plc (Ardova), says “it wishes to allay concerns over the recent suspension of trading of the company’s securities on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) over the late filing of its 2021 Audited Financial Statements”.
According to a press statement at the disposal of BusinessUpdate “the delay in submission was primarily due to the accounting reconciliations that followed the acquisition of Enyo Retail and Supply Limited (ERSL), a transaction which was concluded in November 2021. Enyo’s accounting has now been harmonized with the IFRS accounting standard already in place at Ardova Plc, following which the group’s Consolidated Financial Statements were completed and duly audited. These audited financial statements were approved by Ardova’s Board of Directors following its meeting on 29 June, 2022, and will be filed with the NGX on or before 8 July, 2022. In accordance with NGX rules, we expect that the suspension of trading will be lifted upon submission.
The Board and Management apologize for inconvenience caused by this administrative circumstance and reassure our stakeholders that Ardova Plc remains committed to the highest standards of compliance and corporate governance.”

Tennis Championship: Sports Enthusiasts Commend NCC’s


The Nigerian Communications Commission’s support for sports development have been Commended.

The commendtion from sports enthusiasts is with particular reference to the popular NCC sponsored tennis championship for youth whih dominated discussions at the launch of a book on sports in Nigeria in Lagos at the weekend.

At the launch of the book titled ‘Sport in Nigeria: Going Round in Circles”, – authored by Sports Administrator, Godwin Kienka, at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Race Course, Onikan, Lagos, where the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, was the Guest of Honour, the Commission was acknowledged as a patriotic corporate institution that has supported sports in Nigeria at the grass roots.

The cross section of the sports administrators and admirers of tennis urged the Commission not to relent in supporting sports in Nigerian for the benefit of empowering the youths of Nigeria, like it has done in the sponsorship of tennis across the six geopolitical zones.

The author of the book, Godwin Kienka, acknowledged that the sponsorship offered by the Commission since 2015, has set the tone for the development of Nigerian youths for future career in lawn tennis.

“I want to appreciate the NCC for having set a sterling example in recent years for other private and public sector stakeholders and institutions to emulate. We appreciate the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta for sustaining the sponsorship when he assumed office in 2015 and for his outstanding contribution to youth and sport development in Nigeria in general,” Kienka said.

Between 2015 and 2016, the NCC engaged in sponsorship of lawn tennis tournaments that rekindled interest in and re-defined tennis competition in Nigeria because of the renewal it brought to tennis development in Nigeria.

Part of NCC’s objective for embarking on the tourney was to help in nurturing and exploring the talents in the Nigerian youth through robust competition so as to help them perfect their skills. It was also to promote peace and friendship among the players and by extension enthrone a pan-Nigeria solidarity of sports enthusiasts.

The tournament, which featured the hosting of several marches in different parts of the country, including Lagos, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Onitsha, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja, and Enugu, also had the objective of fruitfully engaging the players, officials and the youth population in some value-driven activities associated with the sports competition in general.

NPA To Settle Out-Of-Court  With Contractor Dredging The Calabar Channel


NPA logo
NPA logo

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is
The NPA Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority,NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko says the organization is seeking an out-of-court settlement with the contractor dredging the Calabar channel.

Mohammed Bello-Koko made the disclosure when he paid a visit to the Calabar Port Complex on Saturday.

According to the NPA boss, “The contract for the dredging of the Calabar channel was awarded many years ago but there is litigation between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the contractor.

“This has inhibited our ability to dredge the channel. What we have done in recent times is to start looking for out-of-court settlements.

“The authority, working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Justice, has resumed discussions in terms of how to settle this out of court, either to return the same contractor to continue dredging or appoint another company.

“This has been delaying the dredging of that channel, we have taken it very seriously, it is one of the reasons we are here today,” he said.

The NPA Managing Director noted that the visit was to enable the management tmeet with stakeholders and reassure them that the Federal Government was taking necessary steps towards ensuring the dredging of the channel.

On business traffic to Calabar, Bello-Koko said that the authority was aware of some limitations on the channel maintaining however, that there would still be imports that would go to Calabar.

“We have been discussing with shipping companies and consignees; so, we will locate major importers and encourage them to use Calabar,” he said.

The NPA boss noted that a vessel recently berthed at the port through the efforts of the port manager and NPA management.

He gave the assurance that more efforts would be made to make the eastern ports more active.

Bello-Koko said that NPA engineers had done a conditional survey of the depth of pile in Calabar Port and other eastern ports to determine how decayed the quays were.

He said that it would lead to decisions on whether it would be constructed or replaced.

“Modernisation of the port is holistic, it is not just about TinCan or Apapa.

“We are talking about holistic modernisation of all the ports owned and operated by the NPA,” he said.

At the Ecomarine Nig. Ltd., Bello-Koko said that any concession by the authority must bring a positive change, adding that NPA would do its best to get Calabar Port functional.

“We have a tug that is supposed to come here, we wanted it to come together with marine vessels that we imported so there will be another tug that will ease the problem being experienced,” he said.

At the palace of the Obong of Calabar, Bello-Koko appealed to him to encourage his subjects to protect equipment and buoys for navigation on waterways.

“I have come to thank you for your support and cooperation that we have been getting from the community and to intimate you of our activities that will bring more economic activities to the society and the kingdom,” he said.

Responding, Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, said that waterways had been serving as highways to the community.

He said that the community had been taking care of them.

“Unfortunately, activities there were killed. We have been crying for some time and we believe that the game-changer, as he is being called, will make the change for us.

“I appeal that this should not be political but critical. Do something to ensure that things work well for us,” the royal father said.

NGX Suspends Trading In The Shares Of Nine Companies

Nigerian Exchange Group logo
Nigerian Exchange Group logo

For failing to submit it’s annual accounts in record time,the Nigerian Exchange Limited has notified the market of the suspension of trading in the shares of nine companies pursuant to Rule 3.1, Rules for filling of accounts and treatment of Default filing (Default filing rules) which provides that ” if an issuer fails to file the relevant account by the expiration of the Cure period. The Exchange will:
(a) Send the issuer a ” second filing deficiency notification” within 2 business days after the end of the Cure period.
(b) Suspend trading in the issuer’s securities, and
(c) Notify the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and the market within 24 hours of the suspension”.
The nine companies are

African Alliance Insurance Plc
Niger Insurance Plc
Royal Exchange Plc
Ekocorp PLC
C&I Leading Plc
Mutual Benefits Ass. Plc
Coronation Ins. Plc
Premier Paints PLC
Ardova Plc

Trading in the shares of the nine companies have been suspended from the facilities of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) effective Friday 1st July 2022.
The suspension of trading in the share of these companies is sequel to the failure to file their audited financial statement’s for the year ended 31st December 2021.

In accordance withe Default filing rules set forth above the suspension of trading in the shares of the above mentioned companies will only be lifted upon the submission of the relevant accounts, provided NGX Regulations Limited (NGXRegCo) is satisfied that the accounts comply with Alla applicable rules of NGX.

LIRS Optimizes Payment Procedure On eTax For Taxpayers

LIRS logo
LIRS logo

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is currently optimizing its payment procedures for utmost efficiency and taxpayers’ convenience.

The Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Ayodele Subair, in a statement issued on Sunday, said the Agency, as part of its digitalization process, is discontinuing all previously used bill references effective from August 1st, 2022.

Consequently, according to the Chairman, only the Enterprise Tax Solutions (eTax), generated bill references will be acceptable for tax payments.

The eTax platform, (https://etax.lirs.net) which went live in October 2019, was launched by LIRS to engender seamless tax operations and reduce compliance costs to taxpayers. Since its launch, eTax has improved the effectiveness of tax administration in Lagos State.

Mr Subair added that the eTax was built as a one-stop shop for all tax transactions, and it is in the same spirit that the generation of bill references, required for all tax payments is now exclusive to the eTax platform.

He reiterated that by the cutoff date of August 1st, 2022, eTax would become the only authorized channel to generate bill reference for tax payments and other tax-related transactions in Lagos State.

To generate a bill reference on e-Tax, taxpayers can use the 5 easy steps below:

1. Visit https://etax.lirs.net

2. Input your Payer ID and password to log in

3. Select revenue type, and upload schedule (For PAYE & Withholding Taxes)

4. Generate a bill reference

5. Make a payment on any of the multiple channels available, using the generated bill reference.

For further assistance on eTax or other related enquiries, taxpayers are enjoined to call LIRS customer service hotline on 0700 2255 5477 or send email to etaxinfo@lirs.net.

Visit the website: https://lirs.gov.ng, Follow on Twitter:@lirsgovng, Facebook: @lirsgovng, Instagram: @lirsgovng

FirstBank Launches Single-Digit Loan For Women-Owned Businesses, Reinforces It’s Role In Streghtening Gender Inclusion in Nigeria.

FirstBank HQ
FirstBank HQ

The FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan) is a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
The loan scheme covers female-owned or partnered SMEs in various sectors of the economy
Launched in 2016, FirstGem has been impactful in driving financial inclusion, influencing women’s empowerment through gender-advancement programmes like savings culture, financial literacy, wealth management and building an investment portfolio.

In furtherance of its role in promoting female entrepreneurship across the country, Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced the launch of the FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan); a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The FirstGem loan scheme is designed for female-owned or partnered SMEs in the following sectors Food/Beverage processing & Packaging, Beauty and cosmetics, Confectionery, Catering & Restaurants, Transportation (Logistics) and Agric/Agro-Allied (retail value chain). With an interest rate of 9% per annum, FirstGem loan is a collateral-free loan that is available to the bank’s existing and prospective female customers. Based on eligibility, customers can access loans from N500,000.00 to N3,000,000.00.

To access the loan, Female owned or partnered SMEs can visit the Bank’s website – https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/personal/loans/more-financing-options/firstgem-funds/ – to download and fill out the Retail Loan Application Form. The completely filled form should be submitted to the nearest FirstBank branch with accompanying documents.

Speaking on the loan Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said, “we are delighted with the role our FirstGem product plays in creating an avenue to enlarge the business activities and endeavours of female entrepreneurs across the country. Our FirstGem value proposition offers real solutions to constraints encountered by female entrepreneurs and working professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business. We implore every female business-minded individual to take advantage of the FirstGem loan as it puts them at an advantage to contribute their quota to the national economy.”

Launched in 2016, FirstGem has been impactful in driving financial inclusion, influencing women’s empowerment through gender-advancement programmes like savings culture, financial literacy, wealth management and building an investment portfolio. FirstGem is designed specifically to meet the needs of the female gender, aged 18 years and above.

FirstGem is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs or market women through an array of benefits such as free business advisory services, access to finance, specialized training on business development initiatives (virtual and physical events), regular insights on business / investment opportunities and mouth-watering discounts at partner merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery stores) offering lifestyle products and services.

Recently, FirstBank announced its partnership with CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance organisation to economically empower women-owned and led businesses as well as local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The facility, which is in the sum of US$100 million will have a minimum of 30% allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs

3 Safest Methods to Beat Inflation Investing In Precious Metals

Gold bars
Gold bars

Global inflation has seen a steady uptick on the back of supply chain disruptions that started since the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Today, major economies across the world are doubling down on measures to beat historical inflationary trends. In the UK, inflation hit a 40-year high in April. In the US, inflation is at a 41-year high, forcing the federal reserve to raise interest rates by 0.75 percentage point, the third hike this year and the largest since 1994.
Africa is not left out. Ghana’s inflation is at the highest in a decade and Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy is battling a 17.71% inflation and a biting food inflation, which rose by 19.5% in May.
For investors, this is a nightmare as they continue to scout for strategies to hedge against inflation and ensure a positive real rate of return. Many investors are returning to the age-long strategies of betting on precious metals to hedge against these inflationary trends.
At the top of the list of these precious metals is Gold, which many have considered the most valuable precious metals.
This article will focus on how you can invest in gold. Below are three ways you can safely buy gold if you truly want to beat inflation.
People can invest several ways in gold. However, the one that appeals to majority of investors is buying actual physical gold. As a commodity, an investor can buy gold in form of jewelry off the shelves of a jewelry store. Investors can also buy gold bars or coins from precious metals dealers, bank or brokerage. Recent reports have shown that small bars and coins accounted for approximately two-thirds of annual Gold investment demand and around one-quarter of Gold’s global demand over the past decade.
Aside from buying physical gold, another way to invest in gold is by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that hold gold as their underlying asset.
ETFs collectively hold more than 2,000 tonnes of physical gold on behalf of investors around the world.
In Nigeria, the NEWGOLD ETF that is traded on the Nigerian Exchange Group is a major gold ETF that is open to members of the investing public.
Sometime in August 2021, an oil and gas company in Nigeria transitioned into gold mining and subsequently traded its shares on the Nigerian Exchange Group. That company is called Japaul Gold and currently offers investors an opportunity to invest in Gold through its gold mining stocks.
Gold mining company stocks may correlate with the price of gold. However, the growth and return in the stock depend on the expected future earnings of the company, not just on the value of Gold.