Story by Kayode Tokede and Olabode Jegede
Zenith Bank Plc has reported N193 billion profit in its audited financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of 11 per cent compared to N173 billion reported in 2017.
The financial institution in its report to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday announced that, Profit before tax rose by 16 per cent to N232 billion in 2018, compared to N199 billion reported in 2017.
The bank sustained growth in earnings and profitability despite a challenging macroeconomic environment.
Given increased profit, the management declared a final N2.50 dividend for every share of 50k, bringing the total dividend for the financial year to N2.80kobo.
The group total assets gained six per cent to N6 trillion from N5.59 trillion, driven by 0.5 per cent increase in shareholder’s funds and seven per cent growth in customers’ deposits that closed 2018 at N3.69 trillion compared with N3.43 trillion reported in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Group Return on average equity (ROAE) gained four per cent to close 2018 at 23.8per cent from 22.9 per cent reported in 2017.
The bank in a statement stated that, “This record Profit before Tax (PBT) was achieved through the Group’s optimisation of its cost of funds, cost-to-income ratio and cost of risk, ensuring that earnings per share strengthened by 11 per cent to N6.15.
“Due to a challenging macro-environment, gross earnings and interest income reduced by 15 per cent and seven per cent respectively, driven by declining trading income, compressed yields on assets, and a reduction in the loan book by 10 per cent.
“Despite the decline in gross earnings, the Group mitigated these knock-on effects through growth of its net interest income and operating income by 15 per cent and eight per cent respectively as it was able to ensure improved cost efficiencies across the business. This focus on cost efficiencies is yielding tangible benefits as the Group recorded its lowest ever cost-to-income ratio at 49.3 per cent from 52.8 per cent in 2017.
“Our risk-centric approach also ensured that cost of risk reduced significantly by 79 per cent from 4.3 per cent in the prior year to 0.9 per cent in 2018. This was reflected through the drop-off in impairment charges by 81 per cent (N80 billion) compared to 2017, re-affirming the Group’s enhanced asset quality.
”In the same breadth, coverage ratio increased by 34.2 per cent from 143.4 per cent to 192.4 per cent over the same period, reflecting a prudent disposition to credit risk management. Cost of funds also moved in the positive direction, declining by 41 per cent from 5.2 per cent in 2017 to 3.1 per cent for the year, supported by a 33 per cent decrease in interest expense (N72 billion) over the same period, demonstrating a robust treasury and liquidity management.
The statement added that, “Customer deposits grew by seven per cent led by an increase of N109 billion in savings and an increase of N122 billion in current accounts providing it with a platform to rebalance its deposits mix. In 2018, expensively purchased deposits were foregone in favour of cheaper and more stable deposits resulting in a reduction of expensive and shorter dated deposits by N110 billion. On the asset front, this increased by six per cent to close the year at N6 trillion.
“The Group’s efforts to deepen its roots in the retail segment have started yielding benefits. This has resulted in a remarkable increase in the volume of transactions across various electronic platforms as well as significant customer acquisitions. This growth in transactions on our digital channels continues to support our retail push as fees from e-products increased by 44 per cent over 2017 with retail deposit balances also growing by 25 per cent.
“Our balance sheet remains shockproof as loan to deposit ratio, liquidity ratio and capital adequacy ratio were 44.2 per cent, 72 per cent and 25 per cent respectively and all above the regulatory threshold.
“Management’s outlook is positive for 2019, supported by a fairly stable inflation rate, converging foreign exchange market and near target oil production. The Group will continue its investment in the retail segment of the market to consolidate its leadership position in both the retail and corporate segments while it maintains its shock proof balance sheet.”
NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers
…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event
By Seun Ibiyemi
It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.
With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.
Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.
According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”
Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”
On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.
In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).
Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.
LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.
Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.
Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.
Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.
She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.
She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.
“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.
”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.
Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB
President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.
According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.
Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.
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