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Shareholders laud Sterling Bank’s performance

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Shareholders yesterday in Lagos commended the improved performance of Sterling Bank Plc at its 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM). This upholds the vote of confidence previously echoed by stockbrokers and analysts during the lender’s Facts Behind the Figures presentation at The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), last week.

Stockholders were delighted by the 20.2 per cent rise in shareholders’ funds from N85.7 billion in 2016 to N102.9 billion in 2017 and the declaration of 2 kobo dividend per ordinary share of 50 kobo. Addressing the meeting, Mr. Mathew Akinlade, President, Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, commended the Board and Executive Management of Sterling Bank for its orderly leadership transition, digitisation, improved shareholders’ value, increased customer deposit and a strong performance in a fragile financial year in which the economy only started recording growth in its second quarter after a severe 15 months recession.

He said the bank’s performance is very encouraging, which makes it easy for shareholders to unanimously support the mid and long-term management strategies put in place by the Board and Management.

Akinlade advised the leadership of the bank to deliver on strategy to make Sterling bank of the future and market leader in the areas of health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.

Sterling Bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2 billion for the corresponding period of 2016, representing an increase of 65 per cent in profitability.

The bank’s gross earnings also increased by 19.8 per cent to N133.5 billion against N111.4bn in the corresponding period of 2016. This remarkable performance was driven by growth in both interest and non-interest income by 11.3 per cent and 87.8 per cent respectively.

Earlier in his address, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman, Sterling Bank Plc, told shareholders that the bank will continue to navigate its growth by innovative means. “As a business, we will continue to innovate with focus on key growth sectors of the Nigerian economy that will enrich lives and grow the bottom-line.

We will also continue to leverage on our areas of strength to drive sustainable growth and deliver superior returns to our esteemed shareholders,” he disclosed. Mr. Ighodalo assured shareholders of the bank’s commitment to delivering tailor-made solutions in line with the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and Central Bank of Nigeria’s Sustainable Banking Principle.

“As a matter of necessity, we remain committed to delivering solutions that satisfy stakeholders’ needs and objectives while also providing adequate financial returns to shareholders.”

The Chairman expressed appreciation to the board, management, shareholders and Mr. Yemi Adeola, who retired in April as Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank for the hard work, commitment and support. Mr. Ighodalo attributed the bank’s improved performance to shared purpose across board by all stakeholders. Also speaking at the AGM, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank’s 2017 financial year performance highlights its underlying institutional strength despite delicate operating conditions.

“We will continue to execute the plans to drive efficiency across the business under the three pillars of agility, digitization and specialization in the new financial year.

These pillars will propel us toward sustainable growth by enhancing our ability to innovate; solidify our retail funding base; strengthen our enterprise-wide risk management framework and drive excellent service delivery across all channels to enhance customer experience,” he disclosed.

The CEO added that the lender made major investments in technology infrastructure to provide excellent services to customers, grow markets and create new ones more efficiently and engagingly.

He referenced the successful launch of Specta, an innovative online lending platform, which offers personal loans within five minutes as part of the bank’s digital transformation journey.

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TCIP Customs explains cargo clearance delays at port

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The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said the recent in cargo clearance being witnessed by importers and Customs Brokers at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos is because the NCS Internet Server was down thus impeding cargo documents processing.

This was disclosed by the Tin Can Island Customs Public Relations Officer, CSP Tony Ejesieme during a chat with the Sunday Telegraph on Wednesday at the port city of Apapa.

Ejesieme noted that the internet network breakdown as experienced by the Service could cause delay at anytime and was not the fault of the NCS but that of a bad weather.

The PRO, who admitted that there was delay in cargo release, said the command had not captured any importers for cargo release but was optimistic that the network would surge back and cargo clearance processing would commence immediately.

“We have not been able to work since morning as no importers have been captured. This is another delay; issuing debit note has become a problem. But the network will certainly come back and we will commence work immediately,’’ said he.

According to him, the major reasons for delay were non-compliance with import guidelines, wrong classification and declaration by importers, and lack of working scanners.

He, however, absolved the Service of any complicity and maintained that the NCS works based on procedure. ‘’Whatever we are doing is based on procedure and in accordance with the import laws. It is true that there is delay; if there are issues of infraction, there will be delay,’’ he said.

Ejesieme also caused by lack of scanners, saying that all scanners in all the ports in Lagos have broken down completely except only one in Apapa which could not handle all cargo in the port and that is why many cargos are routed to physical examination.

‘’Scanners are not working; only one is working in Apapa, no one in Tin Can. The issue of scanners has to be settled and we have engaged government on it.’’

Advising importers and customs agents to adhere to the import guidelines, he said that the security of nation as the nation approaches the general elections in 2019 would not be compromised as the Service is working with other government agencies to protect the territorial boundaries of the nation.

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UBA Foundation reading through regions in Africa

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As part of its mission to improve the lives of communities in which the United Bank for Africa operates, UBA Foundation said it has continued to encourage African youths to adopt the culture of reading through its ‘Read Africa’ initiative.

Read Africa aims to rekindle the reading culture amongst young Africans. Designed and introduced in 2011 by the UBA Foundation, the initiative has donated hundreds of thousands of books to African schools since its inception.

This past week, The Foundation took its initiative to the francophone city of Libreville to the students of the George MABIGNATH high school in Gabon.

The launch of Read Africa in Gabon saw in attendance, the author of the selected book Sidonie, written by famous Gabonese writer Chantal Magalie MBAZOO.

It was a colorful ceremony that witnessed the CEO of the Foundation, Bola Atta reading to and interacting with the students in high energy in the presence of their Principal, Mrs. Boudounghou Biboutou Isabelle and other staff members.

Bola Atta summarized the Foundation’s initiative saying, “At the UBA Foundation, we are committed to improving the lives of the youths on the continent and one of the ways we can achieve this is to help you read more. I am here to talk to you a little about the importance of reading and how it can radically change your life. Reading encourages you to dream, it expands your knowledge, your vocabulary. It is a path to achieving your ambitions”.

 

Chioma Mang, the CEO of UBA Gabon also reiterated the mission of UBA and emphasized the bank’s commitment to the Gabonese community. “ I love children and I am happy to be here with you all today. I’d like to encourage you to read very well so that you can reach great heights in your life like me. UBA is going to be there for you all the way. You can count on us”, she said.

 

The Read Africa initiative then moved on to Zambia to the Horizon Secondary School in Lusaka where the Director in the ministry of higher education in charge of Vocation, Education and Training, Mr. Alex Simumba, thanked UBA and the Foundation for the good work that is being done across Africa. He said, “To UBA Foundation, we thank you for your support to the institution today. We welcome this and many more collaboration in the field of literacy and other higher education programmes. We also further encourage other private sector organisations to take a keen interest in such programmes because the youths who are receiving these literary materials will be benefitting greatly from them,” he said.

 

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Shell has disbursed N1.88bn to GMoU clusters in Delta State

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The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr. Igo Weli has said that Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC) is still active in Delta State noting that the oil giant has executed a lot of projects in the state.

According to him, the oil giant has disbursed a total sum of N1.88 billion to Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in clusters.

Igo Weli, who disclosed this when he spoke with newsmen in Warri on Thursday, revealed that the GMoU funding covers the three clusters currently active in Delta State since the inception of the concept in 2006, adding that Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) like their counterparts in other parts of the Niger Delta, are implementing health and educational projects among others.

During the media presentation of the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes to Journalists, he also disclosed that Shell has established a Professorial Chair at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE,) as it continues to operate in the state and contribute to its development.

Weli explained that the Professorial Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was activated at FUPRE in December last year and is the latest of six established by SPDC JV, noting that the Chair at Effurun is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.

He added that in a bid to boost employment especially among youths, more than 700 young men and women have benefited from Shell’s LiveWIRE initiative between 2003 and 2017.

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