By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has declared that the bank would limit the amount of cash in circulation, noting that the bank will intensify its cashless policy and ensure that stringent procedures are put in place to discourage cash withdrawals at over-the-counter.
According to him, for large withdrawals, customers would have to fill out several forms, which would be aimed at collecting data concerning the use of the funds.
Speaking after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the newly designed Naira notes of the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations in Abuja, the apex bank boss explained that the idea is to control the volume of cash in circulation and deepen its cashless policy, which has not been largely successful despite efforts to make it attractive to bank customers.
Recall that on October 26, 2022, at a briefing in the nation’s capital, Mr Emefiele lamented that more than 80 per cent of cash in circulation was in the hands of corrupt persons, politicians, kidnappers and other criminals.
It was because of this the bank decided to redesign the legal tender and said the current notes would no longer be used for legitimate financial transactions after January 31, 2023. The new notes, according to him, would be introduced by December 15, 2022.
While speaking with journalists on Wednesday, the CBN boss said customers would be monitored by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies whenever they withdraw cash above limits at over-the-counter.
“We would ensure that cashless policy is nationwide. We will restrict the volume of cash that people will withdraw over the counter. If you need to withdraw a large volume of cash, you will fill uncountable forms. We will take your data, BVN, and NIN so that security agencies like EFCC, and ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for a good purpose,” he said.
30 Corps Members Get Unity Bank’s N10m Grant
Union Bank Gets High Ratings in SME Banking, Digital Solutions, Others
Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN’s Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.
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By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Thirty members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have been given a grant of N10 million after a business pitch presentation held across 10 of the 36 states of the federation.
The funding support was provided by Unity Bank Plc through its Unity Bank Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, known as Corpreneurship Challenge.
It is targeted at empowering fresh graduates and corps members on one-year compulsory national youth service. The scheme is currently in its ninth edition.
A statement from the lender disclosed that the 30 corps members were picked from Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa, and Enugu, with each state producing three winners who took home cash grants of N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000.
For this edition, the beneficiaries focused on renewable energy, fashion, beauty, agro-processing, confectionaries, etc.
The winners emerged after their business plans were assessed by a panel looking out for business ideas that demonstrate originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product, and knowledge of the business.
Some of the winners at the Rivers State NYSC Orientation camp at Nonwa Gbam Tai included Muoneke Gift, whose business plan on renewable energy took home the grand prize of N500,000; followed by Ilesanmi Olamide’s business proposal on beauty services to claim the N300,000; and Ekanem Moses Idoreyin’s confectionary business proposal, which took home the N200,000.
Speaking during the finale at Rivers State NYSC Orientation Camp recently, the Group Head, Retail, E-Business, and SME Banking, Unity Bank Plc, Mr Olufunwa Akinmade, said the bank was delighted with the impressive records the Corpreneurship Challenge has pulled so far.
“When we launched the initiative in 2019, we set out to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs that will disrupt the job market by creating much-needed jobs across all sectors. Today, we have come a long way, and the Corpreneurship Challenge has lived up to its billing,” he said.
Represented by Regional Manager, Port Harcourt Region, Unity Bank Plc, Mr Eto Ukpe, Mr Akinmade reiterated the lender’s commitment to sustaining the initiative and mainstreaming the Corpreneurship Challenge as a reliable and impactful entrepreneurship and business empowerment and mentorship programme in the country.
“What we have today in the labour market is far from the ideal. However, it is not enough to keep complaining. We must make lemonade out of a lemon. We believe that the Corpreneurship Challenge has proved to be one of the most creative approaches to tackling the intractable crisis we have in the job market in Nigeria.
“Our goal is to expand this programme to all 36 states and sustain it for as long as possible to achieve record impact. We continue to encourage the winners to continue to learn the rudimentary lessons necessary to build a successful business.
“We emphasise 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 stated.
The Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has gradually joined the league of some of the most impactful, youth-focused entrepreneurship development initiatives in Nigeria, empowering no fewer than 100 young entrepreneurs over the past three years.
Recently, one of the beneficiaries in Sokoto, Ms Beulah Yusuf, who emerged as second runner-up in one of the editions, successfully launched her recycling business with the grant received from the bank.
She unveiled her products, widely acclaimed for addressing environmental pollution and waste management inefficiencies, underscoring the bank’s motivations to sustain the initiative.
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 118 winners since it was launched in 2019.
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The huge investments made by Union Bank of Nigeria Plc in technology, small and medium enterprises, and others are beginning to yield positive results.
In the Euromoney Market Leaders Rankings for World’s Best Banks in 2022, the financial institution received five high ratings, reaffirming its strong position in the Nigerian banking sector, characterised by improved business products and services.
According to the rankings, Union Bank was recognised as ‘Highly Regarded’ in Corporate Banking, Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance and classified as ‘Notable’ in SME Banking and Digital Solutions.
The CSR and ESG ‘Highly Regarded’ ranking demonstrate Union Bank’s proven track record and commitment to being a responsible organisation.
Initiatives like UnionCares and the Employee Volunteer programme are examples of the positive contributions made by the lender. Beyond giving back to the communities it serves, Union Bank is also a leading advocate for sustainability.
The bank embeds sustainable practises in all its operations and has over 400 solar-powered branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) to buttress its goal of embracing clean energy for the reduced carbon footprint.
Union Bank was also ranked as ‘Notable’ in recognition of its significant advancements in digital solutions. In addition to already-existing online channels/tools and a variety of advanced digital payment methods designed to provide a seamless and secure banking experience, Union Bank recently launched SpaceNXT – a fit-for-purpose co-creation technology hub for visionaries, techpreneurs and innovators. This hub reflects Union Bank’s focus on developing niche technological solutions.
Another area where Union Bank ranked ‘Notable’ was SME banking, in recognition of its continued support for small businesses in Nigeria. This is in addition to the company’s recent recognition by Global Finance as the Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria.
The Brand and Marketing Officer of Union Bank, Ms Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, while commenting on this year’s Euromoney Market Leaders ratings, said, “We are pleased to be recognised by Euromoney as ‘Highly Regarded’ and ‘Notable’ in these five categories.”
“This recognition validates the success of our business strategy as we are a digital-led bank with a culture that embeds sustainability across all our operations using a unique triple-pillar model of Citizenship, Sustainability, and Innovation.
“We remain committed to doing our part to contribute to the environmental, socioeconomic, and financial development of our nation and continent while providing our customers with simpler, smarter solutions,” she added.
Euromoney Market Leaders is an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers across key categories in each market. The ‘Market Leaders’ rankings take multiple sources of data, including qualitative and quantitative, to build a robust and objective picture of industry leaders.
**Reiterates the Role of Technology in Financial, Payment Innovation
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Mr Premier Oiwoh, has reiterated the role of technology in the provision of financial and payment innovation.
“We are aware that digital financial inclusion enables access to financial services and advances the economic progress in underserved market segments.
“In ensuring that the financially excluded are efficiently and effectively catered for within the ecosystem, we have created a platform-based payment system to enable the players in the ecosystem to innovate and thrive,” Mr Oiwoh said ahead of the International Financial Inclusion Conference (IFIC2022) scheduled for November 24 and 25, 2022, in Abuja.
He said over the years, the industry has leveraged cutting-edge technology to design and deliver financial products and services to drive financial inclusion.
At the programme themed Financial Inclusion for all: Scaling Innovative Digital Models, participants will examine the opportunities and identify concrete solutions and interventions that would ensure the achievement of the nation’s financial inclusion objectives./
The conference is the first to be held since the country launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2012.
NIBSS, in collaboration with other financial services providers, has made huge investments to provide affordable Digital Financial Services (DFS) to the unbanked and financially excluded members of the Nigerian population.
In line with the National Financial Inclusion initiative, the timely delivery of financial services through agency banking has also revolutionised the economy, as this has boosted job creation through financial entrepreneurship, skills acquisition, digitalisation of the society and increased GDP, as each state’s economic activity is increased with a multiplier effect.
Among other innovative payment solutions created for financial inclusion, the introduction of the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) platform transformed the way Nigerians choose to pay for goods and services at all levels.
Leveraging on this, NIP has provided more opportunities for Financial Services Providers and other players within the ecosystem to innovate and provide more options to drive financial inclusion.
Also, through the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was developed to harmonise the financial services sector, improve banking operations and encourage financial inclusion.
With strong collaboration across the ecosystem, NIBSS has over the years facilitated the growth and proliferation of BVN with the commencement of remote offline BVN Enrolment by Agents for a wider reach. This is in addition to the recently launched ‘iGree’ BVN Consent Management Platform, for expanded financial inclusion and consumer protection.
In addition to the successful deployment of Biometric Scanners at no cost to financial services providers, inclusive of DMBs, super agents, MMOs for the purpose of remote BVN enrolment, NIBSS has implemented 100 per cent increase in monetary incentives paid to BVN enrolling agents to incentivise them for every new BVN successfully enrolled in a bid to drive sustainable financial inclusion.
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Customers to ‘Fill Uncountable Forms’ for Large Cash Withdrawals—Emefiele – Business Post Nigeria