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Access Holdings announces N1.4trn gross earnings

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Access Holdings Plc has announced gross earnings of N1.39 trillion for the 2022 financial year.

The company disclosed this in its Consolidated and Separate Financial Statement for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022 released on Thursday in Lagos.

The gross earnings represented an increase of 43 per cent when compared with N971.88 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

The company attributed the growth in gross earnings to the dividends of organic and inorganic activities across the ecosystem.

However, its Profit Before Tax of stood at N167.68 billion, representing a 5.04 per cent year-on-year decline against N176.58 billion realised in 2021.

The Board of Directors is proposing a final dividend of N1.30 per share bringing the total dividend for the financial year 2022 to N1.50k.

The statement said that the company showed strong growth across revenue lines, despite the strong macroeconomic headwinds locally and internationally.

“We registered a record revenue of N1.4 trillion, a 43 per cent year-on year growth (FY’21:N971.9) as we begin to see the dividends of organic and inorganic activities across the ecosystem.

“Access Holdings Plc recorded a Profit Before Tax of N167.7 billion, five per cent year-on year decline (FY’21: N176.6bn) following huge write downs from the Ghana sovereign debt crisis.

“Overall, Interest Income grew 37 per cent year-on-year to N827 billion, driven by a strong loan book growth despite the high inflationary environment.

“Net loans and advances to customers grew by 25 per cent across the banking group, with deliberate focus on credit disbursement to critical segments and growth sectors of the economy,

“We also saw a good growth across the subsidiaries, in particular the UK (up 36 per cent to N1.1 trillion in 2022),’’it said.

The statement also said that the company ended the year with over 58 million customers across the extensive network of subsidiaries and business verticals.

It added that the company assets base grew to N15.0 trillion and customer’s deposits to N9.25 trillion, with CASA mix up by five per cent, to 63 per cent as a result of leveraging innovation, digital technology and financial inclusion to mobilise sustainable low-cost deposits.

“In the second half of 2022, Access Holdings Plc completed the divestment from Pensions Custodian business and acquired significant shareholding in First Guarantee Pensions Ltd. and Sigma Pensions Ltd. to form Access Pensions Ltd.

“This combination resulted in the creation of the fourth largest PFA in Nigeria, with asset under management of N0.9trillion, putting us clearly in the league of strategic players in the Pensions industry,’’ it said.

The statement also said that the company’s payment business went live with the switching business in the third quarter of 2022, while the other areas of the business would become fully operational from second quarter of 2023.

“The overall business outlook for 2023 remains strong as we begin our new five year strategic journey which aims to make us one of the top five financial services organisation in Africa by 2027,” it said.

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Interconnect debts: NCC seeks stakeholder input to develop stronger dispute resolution mechanisms

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In a reaction to unending tussles emanating from interconnect debts owed, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has sought the input of stakeholders in developing stronger mechanisms to resolve disputes.

At a public inquiry which began on May 21, 2024, the NCC is considering amendments to the Telecommunications Networks Interconnect Regulations, Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Operators, and Guidelines for Dispute Resolution.

The Commission is plying this route in line with the diplomatic approach of the new Executive Vice Chairman, Aminu Maida who wants to stir the agency to achieve regulatory excellence and build a robust communications sector that supports the Nigerian economy.

Speaking, Maida, emphasised the significance of the public inquiry in ensuring transparency and inclusivity in the regulatory process.

According to him, “These regulatory instruments play a vital role in shaping our communications landscape and it is essential that we visit and refine them to address emerging challenges, trends and opportunities. The instruments that we considered during the course of this public inquiry are vital in ensuring the communications sector meets the demand of the ever-evolving digital age.

“The first Regulatory instrument in our agenda today is Telecommunications Networks Interconnect Regulations. As we all know, interconnection plays a vital role in enabling seamless communication between two different networks, and facilitating the growth of the communications industry in Nigeria. This review is crucial to keep pace with technological advancement, foster competition, protect consumer interest, align with international standards and improve regulatory efficiency in the industry.”

Likewise, Ag. Head Legal & Regulatory Services of NCC, Mrs. Chizua Whyte, said the commission recognises the need for swift adaptation of regulatory instruments to keep pace with the evolving communications industry and emerging technologies.

Whyte emphasised the importance of collaboration with stakeholders in driving significant advancements in the sector.

She noted that the commission values the contributions of stakeholders and looks forward to working together to shape a strong and dynamic industry.

In her words, “As the communications industry evolves with emerging technologies, our regulatory instruments must adapt swiftly. The Commission’s collaborative efforts with stakeholders have driven significant advancements and will continue to propel the sector forward.

“This Public Inquiry underscores our commitment to regulatory excellence and to building a robust communications sector that supports the Nigerian economy. We value your contributions and look forward to shaping a strong, dynamic industry together.”

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Fidelity Bank distributes food packs to families in Keffi

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Leading financial institution; Fidelity Bank PLC has distributed food packs to women, widows, children, and the vulnerable in Keffi, Nasarawa State as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

Addressing journalists in Keffi, Nasarawa state during the distribution event tagged, “Fidelity Food Bank Initiative,” which was carried out in partnership with ABBASID Charity Foundation, the Divisional Head, Brand and Communication Plc, Fidelity Bank, Meksley Nwagboh, emphasised the bank’s commitment to supporting communities all across Nigeria through its Food bank initiative.

“Since April 2023 when we launched the Fidelity Food Bank initiative, we have distributed over 100,000 food packs in more than 100 communities nationwide.

“This is borne out of the premium we place on the wellbeing of our host communities as well as our commitment to support the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 3 which speak to Poverty eradication, Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being respectively.”

On her part, the Founder of Abbasid Foundation, Hajia Hauwa Abbas, said the food bank drive started when she was chosen as the bank’s Food Bank partner in the North and listed some of the benefitting states to include Jigawa, Zamfara, Zaria, Kebbi Bauchi, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

‘’I am very pleased with Fidelity Bank because as much as they are doing business with us in our community, they are also giving back to us, especially women.”

The food distribution event also saw Sen. Wadada Ahmed, representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, leverage the Fidelity Food Bank outreach to provide additional food items to residents of the community.

Senator Ahmed, who was represented by his wife, Zainab Wadada-Ahmed, said the move was in continuation of his philanthropic gesture to his constituents especially for orphans and widows.

‘’We are here today to give back to our people and considering the hardship in the country, this is the little that we can do. I appeal to well-meaning Nigerians to try and collaborate to see how we can help the people that do not have,” she said.

Appreciating the gesture from the bank and her partners, one of the recipients, Mrs. Susan Nyikwagh, urged other well-meaning persons and organisations to take a cue from the bank and come to the aid of the vulnerable ones in the society.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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FG issues licenses to IIM, certifies Data Protection professionals

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By Matthew Denis

On Monday, The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) granted a license to the Institute of Information Management (IIM) to administer exams and certify future data protection professionals in the country.

The NDPC National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Vincent Olatunji handing over the certificate to the institute in Abuja stressed that the move aims to address the significant capacity shortfall of over 500,000 professionals in the data protection field and reduce the expenses associated with obtaining certification overseas.

The Commissioner explained that the initiative will help to generate more jobs in the country and prevent capital flight.

He said, “When we started in 2021 by advertising, four organisations applied within the organisation. We invited them for presentations and we are choosing the best. They have gone through a lot of technical sessions with us, evaluating the platform that they are going to use, discussing with their staff on the process, just to ensure that we have the best for the country.

“What the country stands to gain from this process, is  the fact that we are promoting executive order articles 003 and 005 to promote local content in Nigeria. Most of us who are certified in data protection have international certifications.

“We had to pay in dollars to write exams, and to maintain our certification on a regular basis. So, we are trying to domesticate this in Nigeria to have a national certification process. More importantly, looking at our number in the country and looking at the number of data protection professionals that we are going to produce in the country.

“We are looking at over 500,000, which we cannot afford to allow capital flight in this area. More importantly, with the current technology, we are looking at a way that this process will become a pan-African initiative, whereby data professionals, when they have the national certification process that we have in Nigeria, will be able to practice in any part of Africa.

“So it is a way of creating jobs for our people, a way of reducing capital flights, a way of developing globally competitive human capital data privacy and protection ecosystem. We are also going further to develop the training manual, which is unique to us. And that is why all the trainers in Nigeria will be using it.

“It will also create jobs for both already licensed data protection compliance organisations who will now be accredited to trained professionals that will prepare to write these exams, And looking at the integrity, the pedigree of the organisation that we have chosen, this is really important to us.

“And that is why the process was long. And we are happy that today, we are making history,  a major milestone, and the data privacy protection ecosystem continues. And we are leaving a legacy that is going to be very robust and stand the test of time and that will be comparable or even be better than anyone in any part of the world.”

While responding, President of the Institute, Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole, praised the Commission for enhancing the country’s data protection standards.

He noted that his organisation underwent a rigorous licensing process and pledged to fulfill its responsibilities diligently to the Commission.

“I want to assure the NDPC and the National Commission that we will not disappoint by putting in our best as usual to evolve as the best certification platform for data protection in Africa.

“You can be rest assured that IIM will deliver as promised and  I want to appreciate you for giving us this opportunity, and we hope to continue to work with the commission.”

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