FIRST Bank of Nigeria has restated its continued support for the growth of small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs, describing them as the soul of national development. Folake Ani-Mumuney, head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of the bank, said the bank was partnering with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University to boost entrepreneurial skills acquisition for small business owners, budding and established entrepreneurs.
She said the bank was focused on empowering SMEs and entrepreneurs towards capacity building, development and national growth. “We believe that the SMEs are at the heart of national development, contributing greatly to the gross domestic product of our country and it’s on this premise that we introduced open seminars which will be conducted in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University.
“As Nigeria’s leading SME bank, we are focused on empowering SMEs and SME entrepreneurs towards capacity building and development to contribute to the growth of our economy, employment for the people, boosting our GDP and repositioning the national economy for sustained growth. The seminar is designed to provide practical help on relevant challenges faced by small businesses and will focus on capacity building, business plan writing, marketing products as well as accessing bank loans and documentations.”
Rosemary Ashiegbu, group head, Retail Banking, South-South, also advised entrepreneurs to always consider the essential elements of any business before venturing into it. She pointed out that some small and medium scale enterprises crashed after take-off as a result of their operators’ failure to study the basics of such businesses. She said, “People more often go into a particular business because they just love to go into it without taking into account the fundamentals of the business.”
CBN on Rising Financial Crimes
THE Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is worried over the rising cases of financial crimes in the country. The trend, it said, has raised serious concerns about the integrity of the financial system. Sarah Alade, acting governor, said the increase in money laundering needed to be addressed, adding that the dimension, nature and level of sophistication of the crime were becoming a major source of worry for the monetary authority.
She said: “A concentration of economic power by organised crime spells doom and could all too easily infect the political terrain of any nation. This portends greater risk for the rule of law and burgeoning democracies in the sub-region. Bank facilities are used knowingly and unknowingly to further the act of money laundering and, in most cases, to retain the proceeds of such crime. Over 80 percent of the proceeds of money laundering are associated with banks one way or the other all over the world.”
She listed some of the financial and economic crimes as money laundering, which is closely related to illicit trafficking in narcotics and human beings, corruption, terrorism, prostitution, illegal mining and other nefarious activities; foreign exchange malpractice as well as bank and tax fraud. Alade lamented that despite international efforts to mitigate the menace of money laundering, including the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, the acts were still prevalent.
Union Bank to raise $750million for Big Lending
IF the shareholders approve in June this year, the Union Bank will raise up to $750million in a medium-term debt instrument to fund big ticket lending to the oil, power and telecom sectors. According to Reuters, Union Bank has been transforming its image after new investors recapitalised it three years ago following a central bank rescue in 2009.
Union Bank said in a statement that it has ramped up lending to key sectors which require large foreign currency funding, and that it was not looking up to raise equity. Meanwhile, Diamond Bank has said it is in the Eurobond market to issue between $300m to $350m worth of debt and has started a road show to sell the bond, its chief financial officer said.
Diamond Bank had won its shareholders’ approval in April to raise a fresh capital in debt and equity and Alex Otti, chief executive, said the bank aims to raise up to $550million. Citigroup, the marketer of the Eurobond, has organised road shows in Britain and the United States. Bankers expect the bond, which has a five-year maturity, to be priced soon at an eighty to ninety percent yield.
Compiled by Chinwe Okafor
— May 26, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT