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Google, UBA Collaborate to Provide Free Wi-Fi to Customers

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Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has collaborated with Google and ISP partner to launch Google Station in 11 key UBA branches in Lagos State as part of plans to roll out 200 stations in the country.

Google Station, a platform for providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, began in Lagos last year, and extended to Abuja in December in partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network.

 This google-powered initiative would allow customers access to internet connectivity within the 11 branches and its environs, thereby facilitating their day-to-day businesses and activities, while ensuring unhindered connectivity.

The 11 branches where the hotspot will be located are: UBA Bank Road, 810-811 Bank Road, Daleko; UBA Matori, 21 Fatai Atere street; UBA Surulere, 152 Ogunlana Drive; UBA Allen, 13 Allen Avenue, Ikeja; UBA Tisco Plaza, Alausa; UBA Apapa, 11-13 Warehouse Road, Apapa; UBA Marina, 55 Marina, Lagos Island; UBA HQ, Broad Street, Marina; UBA Lekki Admiralty; UBA Oke Arin and UBA Aspamda Plaza, Trade Fair.

At the official launch which took place in UBA’s Head Office on Wednesday, UBA’s Executive Director/ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chuks Nweke, expressed UBA’s excitement over the collaboration, adding that the move will go a long way to present opportunities far beyond the imagination of both organisations.

He noted that the challenges of financial inclusion which the USSD platform has not been able to solve will be eased through the Google Station, as the financially excluded will now be able to access the internet and enjoy the services provided free of charge.

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He said, “It is an interesting platform which will ultimately benefit everyone. It is a win-win for everyone. Customers will have ease of doing businesses, especially with the growing use of smart phones, and the 52 million Nigerians who have otherwise been financially excluded will now have access to data through this collaboration and can carry out their transactions with ease.

“Interestingly, SMEs, who previously had challenges with funding can now do other things which they couldn’t achieve before, such as accounting services and others. Also, UBA recently launched an educational app, and so, students will be able to use these Google Station platform to carry out their necessary research from the comfort of their homes, it is an awesome opportunity with benefits for everyone which we are presenting to our customers in line with our customer 1st philosophy.

Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Dupe Olusola said in addition to the 11 locations, the organisations are looking to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria to other African countries where UBA operates. She added that by the collaboration, the initiative will help ease the burden off customers while also presenting them with opportunities to excel beyond boundaries.

Google Station is a simple set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots, and aims to provide fast and reliable Wi-Fi in more places where more people spend time, such as bus stations, shopping malls, airports and public transit stations.

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 Specifically, the Wi-Fi service is available free of charge and partners leverage Google Station’s business model, which enables venues, system integrators, businesses and ISPs with access to fibre to setup, maintain and monetise their Wi-Fi networks.

Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor noted that the institutions remained focused on providing internet services to users for free.

She said, “With the help of our partners, we are offering high-quality internet access in heavily-trafficked areas like airports, markets, malls and bus stations throughout the country, especially in areas where there were no internet connections before.

 “Even with the amazing progress on expanding mobile internet, we are finding that public Wi-Fi remains a crucial step in getting free, high quality internet to everyone,” she explained.

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L-R: Group Head, Corporate Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Akinyemi Muyiwa; Group Head, Online Digital Banking, UBA Plc, Austine Abolusoro; Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor; Executive Director/ Group COO, UBA Plc, Chukwuma Nweke; Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Dupe Olusola; Head, NBU Partnerships SSA, Google Nigeria, Saidu Abdullahi; and Group Executive, Digital & Consumer Banking, UBA Plc, Anant Rao, at the launch of Google Station, a Collaboration between Google and UBA to provide free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots at UBA Business Offices for the use of customers and publics, starting with 11 UBA branches in Lagos, at the UBA Head Office, Lagos yesterday.

 Josh Woodward, Director, Product Management, who spoke generally on the benefits of the high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places said the collaboration will aim to solve a basic need and allow customers access to connectivity to assist them in their day-to-day businesses and activities.

 He said, “Deploying Google Station in collaboration with UBA and 21st Century is an important step to connecting the next billion users. As a result of the locations enables us to be up-and-running in no time. Even more, their WiFi signal ensures connectivity to Google Station hotspots so users can do a lot of things online and be constantly connected.”

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Ibukun Awosika’s Other Love

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Love for children naturally come with women. This is a fact.

 

However, there are women whose affection for children is exceptional and unexplainable.

 

Respected Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman of First Bank Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Center Group is such a woman.

 

A success story in several business fronts, the woman has found a way of effectively finding time for her other love, children.

 

Renowned for her women conferences, her undying love for children has also drawn her into the board of some primary schools. 

 

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FIRST BANK: TOWARDS REVIVING NIGERIA’S TEXTILE INDUSTRY

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By Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma (NAN)

For many years, until the early 1980s, the Nigerian textile industry was the highest employer of labour, after the public sector. Sadly, the industry is in dire straits battling for survival in recent times.

Among the challenges that confronted the sector were policy inconsistency leading to closure of many textile companies occasioned by poor power supply, smuggling, poor access to finance and high operating cost, among others.

It is unarguable that the closure of many textile companies contributed to the rise in the country’s high unemployment rate, rising insecurity and other social vices.

It is against this backdrop that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently lamented the country’s descent from being a textile giant to a mediocre player in the world economy.

Emefiele said Nigeria used to be home to Africa’s largest textile industry in the 1970s and early 1980s with the employment of over 450,000 people.

“The textile industry at that time was the largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the public sector, contributing over 25 per cent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector.

“The industry was supported by the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

“This sector supported the clothing needs of the Nigerian populace, as our markets were filled with locally produced textiles from companies such as the United Textiles in Kaduna, Supertex Limited, Afprint, Texlon, Enpee and Aswani Mills, among others.

“In addition, the cotton growing sector has gone dead, thereby depriving thousands of smallholder farmers the chance to earn a living.

Furthermore, a large proportion of our clothing materials today are imported from China and countries in Europe,” Emeifele stated.

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It is against this background that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, in line with its celebratory 125th anniversary , themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”, on Oct. 2 commemorated the country’s independence with a locally made textile attire.

Specifically, the bank set aside Oct. 2 to have all staff wear a locally made textile attire adorned in its 125 anniversary logo and over 18,000 staff across the bank and FBN Holdings participated.

The bank in a statement attributed the initiative to moves to celebrate the country’s 59th Independence anniversary and at the same time support the textile industry.

“The native attire fashion statement by FirstBank and the FBN Holdings Group is rooted in our trust in the diverse opportunities the textile industry provides.

“And indeed its contribution to national growth and development, vis-à-vis the job opportunities, youth and women empowerment, as well as the entrepreneurship driven influence its creates cannot be overemphasised.

“The bank is indeed honored to have been woven into the Fabric of Society in the last 125 years and is committed to keep promoting activities and opportunities that contribute to the growth of the textile industry.” it added.

Apart from the above intitative, FirstBank also provide access to market and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) of the fashion industry with an initiative tagged Fashion Souk.

The bank partners with Eventful Nigeria Ltd with Fashion Souk, a platform that creates an opportunity for players in the fashion industry to exhibit and sell their wares to the thousands of event participants.

Textile Industry

FirstBank Chairman, Ibukun Awosika The Octopus News

The bank also in a bid to ensure sustainability of the industry recently introduced fashion design loan specifically designed to offer financial support to the participants in the textile industry.

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The bank’s fashion design loan with a single obligor limit of up to two million naira is targeted at tailors, dressmakers and traders in clothing accessories with no tangible collateral required.

Textile Industry

CEO, FirstBank, Adesola Adeduntan

To be eligible for the loan, applicants must have been in line of business for a minimum of three years.

Commenting on the development, Mr Moses Igbrude,  Publicity Secretary,  Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), described the initiative as a wonderful concept.

“I hope those in the local textiles value chain will key into it and take advantage of this initiative.

“FirstBank should also ensure that the concept is properly communicated to the larger audience to ensure more patronage of locally made textile,” Igbrude said.

He noted that the Federal Government on its part should encourage institutions that are supporting our local industries by way tax incentives.

Also speaking, Mr Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended the bank’s support for local fabric and the textile industry.

Mikail said that the initiative would boost the morale of interested bodies who would like to venture into local fabric in promoting our culture to the world.

He said that the bank should focus on the fashion designers who would be ready to promote Nigerian mode of dressing to meet the world class in fashion design.

“This will help in promoting Made in Nigeria fabric and it will also encourage an interested investor to venture into textile industry business and this will tranform our economy,” Mikail stated. (NAN)

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UBA Honours Kola Jamodu after 12 Years of Service; Assures of Solid Governance Processes

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has assured investors and shareholders of her continuous adherence to solid corporate governance processes as the bank honoured its ex-director, Chief Kola Jamodu.

In a glitzy cocktail event and dinner in his honour at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, on Thursday, Jamodu was celebrated for his service on the bank’s board for 12 years as a non-Executive director. Accolades were poured on him, for his remarkable contributions to the group over the period that have helped solidify the bank’s footprints in its many countries of operations. 

Speaking at the event, UBA’s Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, commended Jamodu’s efforts at contributing towards the strong corporate governance policies which UBA currently boasts of.

He said, “Chief Jamodu is a great Nigerian, a respected man and a great non-executive director to UBA. He has been wonderful and instrumental to today’s current standing of UBA across our 20 presence countries in Africa as well as in America, United Kingdom and in Paris. He was on the board of UBA for 12 years, and in line with corporate practices, which says at the end of 12 years, you retire from the board, he is retiring and we are here to celebrate his contribution to the bank.”

While reeling off some of Jamodu’s many achievements, Elumelu said, “He has been extremely supportive to UBA; he served as Chairman of Board Risk Committee, and he has all the experience – a chartered accountant, extremely astute, chairman of Nigerian Breweries, chairman of PZ, chairman of Nutricima; former minister of industry; a great tax expert, financial and management expert and UBA has been extremely lucky to have him on our board for 12 years. So to him and his family, we say thank you for all the support, for the teachings, for being generous with knowledge and for asking those hard questions that made us solidify our governance processes here at UBA.”

On his part, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, explained in fine details the impact that Jamodu’s experience has had on the bank, adding that he was able to help UBA navigate through some challenges that have now made the bank come out even stronger.

He said, “Chief Kola Jamodu is a very astute financial manager with diverse experience; he is someone that has helped us as managers to look into areas that we may not have looked into. During his time, he helped us to navigate critical issues, and now UBA America is a bank on its own as is UBA UK. He was always asking the right questions which others would have missed, and this is what helped us be where we are today. He started with us when we had just a few countries of operation and now today, UBA is operating in 23  countries. Kudos to Jamodu, he will be missed.”

Jamodu, who attended the event with his beautiful wife Funmilayo, thanked the bank for the opportunity given to him to contribute to the growth of the UBA Group, adding that as a board member one should be able to have an impact in the way things are being done, in governance principles and much more.

Speaking on his most memorable achievements on the board, he said, “I am very happy today that loan loss provisioning in UBA is one of the lowest because of the way we have handled those issues. My door is quite open and I will continue to offer what I can to ensure that this bank which I am still very much a part of continues to flourish.  My advice to the board, is that they should continue to ensure good succession planning which is very important.”

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