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Heritage Bank to empower more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises




Ifie Sekibo

Ifie Sekibo


Heritage Bank has re-affirmed its business principle to empower more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. This statement by the bank is in addition to many of the similar small businesses it has helped financially since it began operation.

This was made known recently  by the Group Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo at the Round Table Discussion and MSME Success Stories, themed: ‘The Economic Outlook-What Future for MSMEs in Nigeria?, where other experts brain-stormed along with him to fashion ways forward for the Nigerian SMEs.
As part of the bank’s commitment to empower the SMEs, Sekibo said led to launching of SMEs Clinic that will help small businesses address challenges associated with setting up businesses while mitigating the effect of certain decisions that may be taken.
Represented by Mary Akpobome who spoke extempore during a panel discussion noted that the clinic was established as a result of the gap left by financial service providers in failing to provide fresh ideas, solution based strategies and specialized service packages to small businesses.
He said although small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) have proved to be the crucial engines of industrial growth in developing economies like Nigeria, it is necessary to create strategies that can withstand the dynamics of the changing business environment rather than focusing on funds generation.
He said since the SMEs Clinic was established, many small businesses have sprung up and successfully on operation due to, not only the funding, but business advisory it freely offered, adding that financing is not the only problem SMEs face, but other necessary inputs.
He enumerated business built on enduring business platform, and business model among others stand the chance to get loan from the bank. “Heritage Bank was established as part of the effort to fill the gap left by financial service providers in failing to provide fresh ideas, solution based strategies and specialized service packages to small businesses. We pay a lot of attention to SMEs.
“Financing is not the problem, but the other business inputs. Heritage bank has raised a lot of small businesses with SME Clinic. With it, we have built a lot of enduring organisations; we have done more that advisory than money. For us to extend loan to you to finance your business, you must have good business model”, he said.
The industrial experts in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Nigeria’s real sector at occasion unanimously agreed that for the nation to have economic breakthrough as envisaged in the present dispensation of availability of investible funds from the government, the vision of sustainability in business should be taken as paramount by the operators.

The other experts from the financial institutions, business organisations and academia spoke in at the event in Lagos emphasised the relevance of booming SMEs to take the centre stage as a major driver of the economy as well as contributes immensely and filling the dollar drought gap being experienced in the country brought about by the fallen prices of crude in the international oil market.

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A senior lecturer, Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami, who opened the floodgate of speeches in his tagged presentation: ‘2015 Economic Outlook’ said the SME operational strategies in 2015 would be three-pronged on Election, Transition and Normalcy.

Salami, said who wins the present presidential election is not the main issue but the outcome of the election. He maintained that the positive outcome would lead to the smooth transition and expected normalcy in the socio-economic of the country.

He said presently, the dream of running the economy on a private-driven platform is being threatened by insecurity, uncertainty in an election year and the widening threats in communal clashes across the country.
He caution against continued emphases placed on oil as major source of foreign exchange to Nigeria, but urged the government to embrace industrialization by creating policies that would help leapfrog the Nigeria’s SME sub-sector, identified as backbone of any nation, both the industrialized and unindustrialized.
Presently, there over 17 million SMEs in Nigeria

He expressed fear that Nigeria is under fiscal break-even threat with international crude price below $60, insisting that for “Nigeria to balance the economy and be able to pay salaries both at the federal and states levels, the price of crude should hover between $65 and $75 per barrel.”
According to him, “there is a fundamental problem in 2015 and beyond if the down south movement in crude oil persists caused by oil glut. The development has led to the 2015 budget proposal of which the recurrent expenditure must be maintained at the expense of capital expenditure. Even some states government currently cannot be able to pay their workers’ salaries.
“Nigerians should no more live life as they wish but as they see it.”

Lead Consult ThistlePraxix, Dr. (Mrs.) Ini Onuk who spoke on ‘MSMEs and Sustainability’ said any entrepreneur who wants to succeed must identify opportunity, be creative, daring, and risk taking.

She stated that, entrepreneurs are men and women of action who are courageous, alert and sensitive to environment and possess ability to create visions concerning the business environment. She asserted that, the present high mortality rate of small business is awful to contemplate and constitute danger to the entire economic system. She said such development represents serious financial pressure on the nation’s economy as well as a waste of valuable resources.

With the current lull in the business activities as a result of the 2015 election year the business owners should always consider challenging situations and be prepared to meet them pre-planned strategies.
She said the trend where ownership stems mainly from the fact that most SMEs are family businesses structured along sole-proprietorship or partnership is no more in vogue, but needed expansion in terms ownership and decision making.
As a consequence, she argued that managerial decisions here are usually at the mercy of the key owner who in most cases lacks basic managerial skills, qualities and culture to manage a business successfully.
This Onuk regretted also has effects on the management structure and employees-employer relationship.


SMEs should learn creative ways to manage difficult times, example the current condition occasioned by the forth coming 2015 general elections, adding that SMEs owners should always be prepared for unpredictable business situation.
She said also, SMEs should be surrounded by strong support network of trusted professional contact and close relations, especially the consultants for proper advise.
Lastly, she said the entrepreneur should always have a back up business plan for new products and services.

She concluded that there is no doubt that SMEs can be a source of development and an engine of growth as the case with Asian countries and America. She maintained that SMEs should therefore take their place in the economic policy priority of government in Nigeria.

Mr. Waheed Olagunju, Executive Director, (SME) Bank of Industry who spoke impromptu as a panelist member on ‘Opportunity and Growth Strategies Available for MSME 2015’highlighted some of the hindrances to easy access to available government’s intervention funds.

For him, it has become clear that the lack of trained manpower and management skills constitute major challenges to survival of MSMEs the banks observed before granting loans to borrowers.

He also added that inefficiency in overall business management and poor record keeping is also a major feature of most SMEs the bank put into consideration before granting loans.
According to him, the general requirements for accessing loans in the development bank include having a well-articulated business model, which should have about four sections. The first and second requirements require that the BoI know the business plan the applicant offers and his / her target market.
Third, the applicant must convince the bank of his/her value composition, that is, why people should buy his /her product(s). The applicant should be able to say how he/she intends to create the value proposition, Olagunju said.
Furthermore, the applicant must be able to articulate personnel requirements and identify markets for the products he/she wants to sell. He said “a lot of applications that come to BoI do not meet the standards,” while explaining why applicants need to take full advantage of the N220 billion Intervention Fund for SMEs scheme in Nigeria to improve their lives and the economy.

In order to cut down on the rate at which applications are rejected and ensure that applicants’ business plans meet the standards, the development bank is also coming up with the Business Support Fund (BSF), involving individuals who themselves are experienced in finance and articulation of business plans.
“The BSFs will receive applications from SMEs, look at them and then help repackage them so that by the time they get to BoI, they would have met the criteria of a bankable application.,” Olagunju said.

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UBA Staff Across Africa Give Back at UBA Foundation’s Each One, Teach One Initiative




UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, on Friday held the 2019 edition of its annual Each One, Teach One initiative, hosting a huge impact day in Nigeria and across all its subsidiaries in Africa.

The Each One, Teach One initiative is part of UBA Foundation’s activities where the bank’s staff members give their time and skills to the communities around them. All across the continent, staff of the pan- African bank were seen within their communities, teaching and assisting the less privileged, especially students and people living with disabilities.

The Executive Director, Lagos and West Bank, Marketing, Mr. Ayoku Liadi, who represented UBA’s Group Managing Director, and the Chairman of UBA Foundation, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, at the event in Lagos, expressed his excitement over the initiative, adding that as a corporate entity, UBA, through its Foundation has decided to give back as a family, starting by impacting knowledge and skills to students and participants.

Liadi said, “Our goal with this initiative which is in its second year, is to help the under privileged and young children learn vocational skills that will assist them along the path to financial freedom as they start businesses of their own. We have therefore, created a platform to encourage people who have various skills and talents to pass this on to the younger generation.

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Liadi also seized the opportunity to give the participants a short lecture about financial literacy, noting that it is important for students to embrace the culture of being financially cautious from a tender age.

He said, “At UBA, we want students to inculcate the habit of savings, especially for the rainy day. It is important that you are cautious about the future, because nothing is guaranteed. Therefore ensure that you bear this in mind when you receive your pocket money and allowance no matter how little; because when you save today, it will go a long way to help you tomorrow, “Liadi told the students who filled the Onikan Youth Centre.

Students from Modupe Cole Memorial Childcare and Treatment Home; Standard Hallmark College, Mushin; Child Life-Line,Lagos and Moyin Rainbow Foundation, Lagos; were some of the students who participated at the event.

The Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, who threw more light on the initiative stated that it is aimed at helping to impact lives positively and in a very meaningful way. She added that the initiative, which was going on simultaneously in 20 countries across Africa, was being driven by UBA staff members who were very happy to give back to the society.

“At UBA Foundation, we are constantly being asked by other staff members how they can help. A lot of people are genuinely interested in doing good. With the Each One Teach One initiative, you don’t need a huge sum of money, you just need to give of your time and talent to at least one other person. It is simple. It is effective and the impact is ginormous imagine how many people across 20 countries in Africa benefitted today from someone just taking a little time to help them acquire new skills or hone old ones. There is something really gratifying about giving back. It helps the communities and helps you grow as an individual.’ Said Atta

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Thousands of UBA staff members across Africa voluntarily committed their time today to teaching youths various activities such as foreign languages, photography, tae kwon do, fashion design, martial arts, first aid, coking, hair dressing, mathematics, reading, music and much more.

UBA, Africa’s global bank, is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. UBA recognises the need for a social contract between the bank, the community and its people.

As the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which the bank operates, focusing on development in the areas of Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects.

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FCMB Increases Outlet With Ultra-modern Branch In Ondo City




In line with its customer-centric and strategic expansion programme which aims at making its excellent services accessible to more individuals and businesses, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), has opened a new ultra-modern and full-service branch in Ondo City, Ondo State.


The new branch, which was commissioned at an impressive ceremony on December 12, 2019, is located at 15, Yaba Street in Ondo city. The location of the branch takes into consideration convenience for FCMB’s customers and others who live or operate businesses in Ondo City, Ore, Ile-Oluji, Oke-Igbo, and neighbouring areas. The Bank currently has 206 branches spread across Nigeria and three are in Ondo state.


The branch in Ondo City is equipped with unique physical and technological infrastructure to ensure convenient transactions and sundry financial service delivery to existing and potential customers in a relaxed and tranquil environment.


Speaking on the development, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Adam Nuru, described the development as another turning point in the commitment of the Bank to bring banking closer to the populace and promote financial inclusion in a manner that would positively impact on their individual and business aspirations.


Mr. Nuru, who was represented at the ceremony by the Regional Head, South-West, Mr. Adelaja Adeleye, said, “with a robust product suite for businesses and individuals and our award-winning service culture, we intend to leverage these capabilities by investing extensively in some channels to reach more customers. Today, our customers are embracing these alternative channels such as mobile and internet banking, at an impressive rate, whilst others who prefer human interaction when banking still need the reassurance a physical branch offers. Our new Ondo town branch gives this reassurance as it is well-equipped to further enhance the experience of our customers’’.

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He reiterated that FCMB will continue to raise the bar in the way customers are served and the kind of environment under which such services are provided to meet their respective lifestyles.


On his part, the Group Head, Branch Service of FCMB, Mr. Ademola Idowu, said, ‘’our new Ondo town branch, like other branches of FCMB across Nigeria, brings with it something special in terms of structure and aesthetics. Part of our commitment to promoting a cleaner and greener environment is by use of renewable energy and in this new branch, we have adopted solar technology which is a clean energy solution that produces minimal waste. It is non-pollutant and great for the environment’’.


Mr. Idowu, added that ‘’the Branch will also offer excellent services provided by our team of professionals. We are committed to scaling our operation, building the requisite capabilities while deploying the best ways to simplify banking for customers who use our robust technology platform’’.


In his address, the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, commended FCMB for its giant strides and contributions to the development of the State and Nigeria in general.

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The Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, said, “it is gratifying that FCMB has further cemented its place in the economic development of Ondo City by moving to its own structure. The fact that the Bank has been in existence for 36 years and consistently performed creditably is a confirmation of the quality of its management. We want the Bank to develop products and services that will further promote financial inclusion and access to funds. Ondo State government will continue to work with FCMB to ensure that it contributes more to the development of the people and the state in general”.


Also speaking, the Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Kiladejo, said, “we are happy with the feats attained by FCMB and considering Ondo City as a worthy place to align with. We want the Bank to do more in empowering our people and engage in CSR activities. Ondo Kingdom and our people are ready to collaborate more with the Bank, especially in the area of support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. We pray that FCMB will continue to grow and remain a partner in progress’’.


For more information about FCMB, please visit


See pictures from the launch below:


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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, today announced the appointment of Alhaji Ado Yakubu Wanka as Non-Executive Director.


Speaking on his appointment, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said, “We are delighted to welcome Alhaji Ado Yakubu Wanka, to the FirstBank Board. We are especially excited that he is bringing a combination of complementary skills and rich experience to the table which will no doubt enhance the quality of governance towards meeting our strategic goals. 

Alhaji Ado Yakubu Wanka attended Government Secondary School, Bauchi (1966 – 1970), Federal School of Science, Lagos (1971 – 1973), holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1973 – 1977) and an MBA from the same institution (1982 –1984). He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and Switzerland’s Institute of Management Development, Lousanne. Alhaji Wanka served in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as a graduate assistant with the Department of Chemical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife. Thereafter, he started his managerial career as a young process engineer with Ashaka Cement Company Plc where he rose to the position of Deputy Production Manager

After completion of his MBA degree, Alhaji Wanka acquired further managerial competence during his stay with the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), Kaduna. During the period, he participated actively in new business development and monitoring of NNDC’s quoted and unquoted investments and left as Principal Investment Executive.

Alhaji Wanka began his banking career in April 1988 with the then Nigerian International Bank (Citibank Nigeria) where he served for six months as Deputy Manager. He was with the FSB International Bank Plc from 1991 to 1997 and rose to become Executive Director. He assumed duty as the MD/CEO of the then Gamji Bank Limited in 1997, moved to First Bank of Nigeria Plc in 1998 as Executive Director, where he spent about eight (8) years. In between his banking career, Alhaji Wanka spent three years in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – September 1988 to April 1991 – where he was Acting Head, New business Development Unit and later Head, Strategic Planning Unit of the Corporation.

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With experience in Corporate and Investment Banking, he served in various capacities in other organisations, most notably as Executive Director, Finance and Administration and also, Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria and Sao Tome Joint Development Authority (an agency which oversees the commercial exploration of mineral resources in the Joint Development Zone covering the overlapping maritime boundary between Nigeria and Sao tome & Principe).

Alhaji Wanka joined Unity Bank in March 2008 as a Group Executive Director, initially in charge of Retail Banking and later Risk Management & Control Directorates. He retired in August 2013, after serving as the Bank’s Managing Director for two (2) years.

Alhaji Wanka is currently the Chairman, APT Securities and Funds, APT Pension Fund Managers and Director, Arewa Metal Containers (ARMECO) Ltd.

Alhaji Wanka is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) (NIM); Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSCHE); Institute of Chartered Management Accountants (ICMA) and Institute of Credit Administration (ICA). He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Chemical Society and a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

About First Bank of Nigeria Limited

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading banking services solutions provider in Nigeria for 125 years. With some 17 million customer accounts, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services with over 38000 business locations. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

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Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management, and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership, and people, to position You First in every respect.

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