FCMB wins excellence award in customer experience as Adam Nuru emerges CEO of the Year

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited’s giant strides and impressive performance in service delivery and customer satisfaction in the Nigerian banking industry, have again been recognised. The latest is the conferment of the prestigious award of, ‘‘Excellence in Customer Experience Enhancement’’, on the Bank at the Finnovex West Africa Awards, held on October 22, 2019 in Lagos. In addition, the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Adam Nuru, emerged as the CEO of the year. They were elected to the positions after a survey conducted by the organisers of the award which involved Banks’ customers.

The event, co-located with Finnovex West Africa and organised under the patronage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), provided a platform for industry shaping discussions with experts, thought leaders and innovators across the financial services community worldwide. The 2-day conference focused on global trends, disruptions and how market players can determine opportunities and respond to the threats. The gathering also provided an opportunity for financial experts to share knowledge on big and pressing issues, ranging from Financial Technology (FinTech) disruptions to financial inclusion, blockchain and regtech.

According to the organisers, the conferment of the ‘‘Excellence in Customer Experience Enhancement’’ on FCMB, is in recognition of its outstanding achievements, consistent demonstration of customer service excellence and convenience as well as robust technology.

Moreover, FCMB was recognised for promoting financial inclusion through the deployment of digital banking solutions and other offerings that align with the lifestyles of various segments of the society.

Finnovex West Africa added that, ‘’FCMB pioneered deployment of Over-The-Counter transactions (OTC) using biometrics on Point of Sales (PoS) for both inter and intra-bank transfers and withdrawals; the first in deploying OTC transactions on PoS through card and biometrics means and the first to release a wallet account in the industry’’.

Among the offerings of the Bank in the digital banking space are, the FCMB *329# USSD code, enhanced FCMBMobile, artificial intelligence chatbot, named Temi, among other digital platforms that have continued to make waves and redefine financial services.

On the award of CEO of the Year to the Managing Director of FCMB, Mr. Nuru, the Finnovex West Africa conference organisers said, ‘’Nuru has implemented and understood the tech space and spearheaded the digital transformation in the Bank. Both awareness and return on investments have continued to trend positively driven by his leadership in conjunction with the dynamic vision of the Group’s Board of Directors’’.

Speaking on the ‘‘Excellence in Customer Experience Enhancement’’ award during the presentation at the conference, the Divisional Head, Service Management & Technology of FCMB, Mr. Oluwakayode Adigun, said it is another confirmation of the Bank’s unequalled commitment in offering cutting-edge and exceptional services as a forward-looking institution built on the culture of excellence.

According to him, ‘’this award reflects the quality of services we offer at FCMB. It is another validation of our strategic focus to consistently enhance customer experience. This shows that the various transformation initiatives we have deployed across our platforms to meet the needs of our customers are yielding the desired results and appreciated by not just customers, but other stakeholders. This will inspire us to get better’’.

Mr. Adigun assured FCMB will continue to raise the bar and sustain the tempo by going the extra mile to provide simple, helpful and reliable banking services driven by a team of highly professional staff, robust technology and best practices.

FCMB, as an inclusive lender, has continued to dictate the pace and expand its channels. The Bank is known for providing one of the fastest, secure, convenient and seamless alternate channel banking platforms cutting across Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS), mobile, internet banking, among others. In 2018, FCMB was rated as the 3rd most customer-focused Bank by KPMG, a leading international consulting firm, in the Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS), among other national and international recognitions and awards.

For more information about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com.

See pictures from the awards ceremony below:

FCMB Wins Excellence Award in Customer Experience as Adam Nuru Emerges CEO of the Year

CBN Sets Sept Deadline For Mutilated Notes Retrieval

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said banks now have between June 3 and September 2, to collect and sort all mutilated notes in their possession for reissuing.
The central bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made the disclosure while engaging with leaders of organised labour in Lagos at the weekend.

The CBN has given banks between the 3rd of June and September 2, to bring back all the mutilated notes for us to reissue them,

” he said. “And we are telling customers, including labour, that they should return all the notes to their bank. And that the banks will bring those notes to us for reissue.

“And we are telling customers, including labour, that they should return all the notes to their bank. And that the banks will bring those notes to us for reissue. “If any bank is refusing to take back the notes, they should call us and we will take action.”

In April, the bank had introduced a Clean Note Policy to put an end to the circulation of mutilated naira notes. Meanwhile, at the engagement activity, which was part of CBN’s communication efforts to dialogue with key stakeholders in the e

conomy, an Executive Member of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, described CBN’s “creative intervention” in the Nigerian economy as “highly commendable.” “CBN is working today because we have a competent hand,” he said. “Mr Emefiele is a man of vision, but he is also passionate about Nigeria, he is patriotic; we need to replicate that kind of public officer. “Also, in terms of engagement,

I haven’t seen the CBN engaging in any sort of controversy; he doesn’t go outside his mandate. What happens is robust engagement, such that both the executive and legislature agreed that he should go for another term. And the facts are all verifiable. “They all talk about jobs that have been created; so you need similar kinds of personnel in the next cabinet of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

” But Aremu noted that for the Nigerian economy to improve on its current growth levels, all hands must be on the deck. “CBN is doing its own side of the bargain, but the other fiscal authorities must also complement the effort of the CBN,” he said. For example, “CBN can’t do much to stop smuggling; so you have improvement in rice production, but by the time the farmers reach the market, it has been overwhelmed by smuggled rice.

“The same thing with textiles. So Customs must also sit up. Energy is also important. We need uninterrupted power supply. So we need the same activism that we are witnessing at the apex bank, at Customs, at the Ministry of Power. The Ministry of Trade and investment must sit up also; Ministry of Labour must sit up as well, because they are the ones to find out whether the funds are made available to investors in this sector are actually used for production and employment is being created.”

He added that “organised labour is committed to partnering with CBN to make sure that all these creative initiatives, in terms of development financing, are sustainable.”

The CBN Governor recently said the policies of the apex bank in the past five years had been focused on protecting the purchasing power of the poor and vulnerable persons in the country. According to Emefiele, the apex bank is very comfortable staying on the side of the weak, vulnerable, and poor masses and protecting their purchasing power.

He had argued the central bank’s development finance initiatives and foreign exchange intervention were targeted at supporting vulnerable persons in the society. “The poor masses are the ones that bear the brunt of losing purchasing power of the meagre salaries they receive, ever so infrequently. “Indeed, given the current resistance to pay increased minimum wage of N30,000,

one wonders how the fixed income earner would survive the consequences of inflationary pressure arising from the pass-through from exchange rate depreciation being proposed by the naysayers,” he had said. Emefiele said the task of building a stronger economy was far from complete; with the pace of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth still very fragile and badly lagging behind population growth rate of 2.7 per cent. He reiterated the fact that the level of credit to the private sector by financial institutions was still very low.

According to the CBN Governor, domestic industries particularly high employment generating sectors like textile and garment sectors have continued to deal with rampant smuggling and dumping of materials through our borders. “These challenges no doubt call for action by the monetary and fiscal policies through the implementation of policies; the spirit and letter of which must be respected by all,” he added.

Nigeria’s Debt May Rise To to N24trn If Borrowing Continues – APBN

The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), has cautioned the Federal Government on the dangers of borrowing to finance the 2019 Budget, saying the country’s total debt could increase from N22.4trillion to N24trillion.

Speaking at media briefing in Abuja, APBN President, Olumuyiwa Ajibola, noted that with a Budget proposal of N8.83trillion, and an overall deficit proposal of about N1.86trillion, there is an expectation of financing the shortfall in revenue through foreign and domestic borrowing.

He said instead, the government should seek alternative funding options for its capital projects. Ajibola said: “It is our considered advice to the Federal Government to be circumspect in respect to further borrowing. If we must support government, it should instead exploit viable alternative funding options for its capital projects.

“In this regard, Public private Partnership, initiatives are viable alternatives which have gained prominence the world over to major infrastructure provisions.

The time may just be right to fully activate the relevant agencies and laws for effective implementation in our country too.” While giving an assessment of key sectors of the economy, Ajibola commended the government’s efforts in diversification of the economy, saying it is a step to improve the contributions of other sectors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The Association further sought for more transparency in the disclosure of public sector expenditure, adding that there is a need to lower the cost of governance with a view to freeing more funds for the development of key sectors of the economy.

In this regard, APBN called on politicians, the electoral umpire, and all stakeholders to play by the rule to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Ajibola also expressed the readiness of the Association to partner with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for a credible pool, as this would “reposition our national governance to better the lots of our people.

NNPC Fast-Tracks Agreements with Bulk Purchase Marketers

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has fast-tracked agreements with bulk purchase Marketers in the country, a statement released today in Abuja by the corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, has said.

Quoting the NNPC Chief Operation Officer (COO), Downstream, Engr. Henry Ikem Obih, Ughamadu stated that all NNPC depots, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) throughput partner depots, the Major Marketers depots and depots of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) members who signed the Bulk Purchase Agreement, BPA, with PPMC as well as NNPC Retail stations, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) filling stations, will continue to operate at maximum levels to ensure uninterrupted distribution of petroleum products nationwide.

The statement said Engr. Obih urged motorists not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products during the festive season, adding that government had agreed to settle the first tranche of the verified claims of the Oil Marketers subsidy claims in line with the approval of Federal Executive Council (FEC) and National Assembly (NASS) by Friday, 14 December 2018. The NNPC spokesperson explained in the statement that Engr. Obih applauded Marketers under the aegis of MOMAN, some BPA DAPPMAN members, IPMAN, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nageria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) for aligning with the Federal Government’s plan to pay the first tranche of the verified outstanding of N236bn subsidy claims during next week.

The statement relayed that Engr. Obih explained that the payment of the verified subsidy debt would be in form of promissory notes, while assuring that the NNPC would continue to work with all relevant downstream stakeholders to ensure that the country is wet with petroleum products going forward.

The statement signed by Mr. Ughamadu said as part of efforts to sustain the zero-fuel shortage situation in the country, NNPC has assured motorists and all relevant stakeholders that it has 2.6 billion litres stock of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol and 90,000 metric tonnes of Dual Purpose Kerosene (Diesel), saying the holding is expected to last 52 days, assuming no single drop of products is imported from now.

The stock, according to the statement, is the largest petroleum products inventory ever held by the National Oil Company since it was established in 1977, adding products are already strategically stored in all NNPC depots across the country. Ughamadu in the statement also quoted the Managing Director of the PPMC, Mr. Umar Ajiya, as disclosing that Nigerians should go about their normal businesses as adequate arrangements have been put in place by the NNPC and PPMC to ensure that there are continuous supply and uninterrupted distribution of petroleum products throughout the country.

It said Mr. Ajiya assured that all the 618 NNPC retail stations and all the NNPC depots would be operational across the country throughout the festive season in order to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products.

SEC Tackles Identity Theft in Capital Market

SEC Tackles Identity Theft in Capital Market Disturbed on the rising wave of identity theft in the nation’s capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said it was currently working in collaboration with major stakeholders in the market to set up a committee that would proffer solutions to problems associated with identity management. Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss.

Besides, the commission stressed the need for investors to participate more in the e-dividend exercise and reduce the huge unclaimed dividend portfolio in the domestic market.

The Acting Director-General, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, while addressing journalists after a two-day Capital Market Committee Meeting, in Lagos, said identification management challenges encountered in the market would soon be over, noting that the Commission is poised to addressing the problem head-on. Uduk also disclosed that the forbearance window for multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders has been extended by another year from December 31, deadline.

According to her, the extension will help more investors to embrace the exercise, thereby reducing the increasing rate of unclaimed dividend, and boost compliance currently put at 2.5 million. “I am delighted to report that on the lingering issue of multiple subscriptions and forbearance for shareholders with multiple accounts, the CMC agreed that the forbearance window should be extended by another year from the December 31, 2018 deadline previously communicated.

We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses.” Furthermore, Uduk explained that the Commission is set to take enforcement actions against any persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside a recognized securities exchange, as provided by the rules as part of efforts to eliminate underhand dealings.

On the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies, she said the commission is making concerted efforts in collaboration with CAC and other stakeholders to assist public companies that are yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.

“In furtherance of the commitment to develop a vibrant Commodities eco-system, the Commission has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division. Other recommendations of the Committee have been broken down into implementable plans with set timelines. “An interesting development in the commodities sector is the innovative solution developed by AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX), and its partners regarding the use of Blockchain Technology to streamline the process of financing agriculture to Smallholder farmers and other players in the commodities markets.” Newsdirect Uduk restated SEC’s commitment to engage Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), on behalf of the capital market community to facilitate identity and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.

The Director, Market Development, SEC, Henry Rowland, said the Commission has developed a two-pronged approach to addressing the intractable challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors. He added that the first step would involve engagement with the probate registry with a view to providing solutions to the cumbersome process of transmitting shares, after which rules would be developed on the time frame and fee structure for transmission of shares.

Access Bank set to acquire Diamond Bank

Access Bank is set to add Diamond Bank’s portfolio to its assets in the next few months, Talks on the acquisition are on, according to sources, who said the fusion is set for the first quarter of next year.

It was gathered that both financial institutions have reached an agreement in broad terms on the acquisition. What is left is the valuation of assets, with a view to determining the level of compensation and systems’ integration, the sources said, pleading not to be named because they are not allowed to talk to the media on the matter.

It was learnt that the development leading to the impending acquisition was triggered by Diamond Bank directors who approached Access Bank  for intervention in a bid to stave off  a possible regulatory intervention that could lead to the withdrawal of the lender’s operating licence in the light of the bank’s depleting capital adequacy ratio  on account of a huge  Non Performing Loans (NPLs) portfolio put at over N150billion.

We learnt that Access Bank directors examined the proposal and,  after a series of meetings and evaluations, accepted to acquire the entity. However, the agreement so far reached, it was understood, will not alter the name of Access Bank nor its management structure.

“It’s a complete acquisition and not a merger,” a source, who asked not to be identified, but who is familiar with the transaction, said, adding that one of the major considerations that swayed Access Bank’s directors in accepting the offer was the large branch network of the lender. “ It’s burgeoning NPLs,  however,  was of serious concern to Access Bank and almost becoming a disincentive, but it has been addressed,” the source added.

It was also gathered that the CBN is well acquainted with the development. The regulator’s acquiescence to the deal was informed by the recent event that led to the liquidation of Skye Bank, and the apex bank not being disposed to following that route because of the huge cost implication that a bailout of Diamond Bank might require, encouraged the discussions, “and the regulator is pleased with the level of discussions so far.”

“ The CBN encouraged the ongoing arrangement, given the fate that befell the defunct Skye Bank a few months ago. The apex bank gave its consent and approval for the actualization of the marriage. ”

The Nation learned that the regulator’s unalloyed support for the emerging entity followed its unpreparedness to commit any further huge funds for the rescue of any wavering bank.

Bloomberg reported that a major investor was in the process of injecting funds into Diamond Bank on condition that the CEO, Uzoma Dozie, exits his position. The report attributed to the Chairman, Seyi Bickersteth, has since been denied by the bank.

Diamond is one of a number of smaller Nigerian lenders struggling to maintain a regulatory requirement for banks with international operations to have reserves of capital that cover at least 15 percent of outstanding loans. The company’s ratio stood at 16.3 percent at the end of September, the lender has said.

The bank cut its full-year profit forecast by more than half on Tuesday after income from operations declined. It now expects profit before tax to reach 3.8 billion nairas ($10.4 million), down from a previous target of 8 billion nairas.

The shares rose 2.5 percent on Wednesday, trading at 1.21 naira at the close in Lagos. The stock is down 19 percent this year, compared with a 12 percent fall on the NSE Banking 10 Index.

Diamond Bank, in a statement, said contrary to media articles, “the Board wish to clarify that the company has not received an offer from an investor to inject cash. Further to the Company’s announcement of 26 October 2018, Diamond Bank and its Board of Directors continue to review all strategic options on a regular basis. Diamond Bank would also like to clarify it enjoys the support of its major shareholders, including The Carlyle Group and Kunoch Holdings who are, as ever, working in cooperation with the Board and management as appropriate to ensure the successful operation of its business in Africa’s most dynamic banking market.

“Further to the announcement of 24 October 2018, Diamond Bank is in active discussions with regards to the appointment of  new non-executive directors to the Board and, subject to CBN approval, these will be announced in due course.” “Diamond Bank’s recent Third Quarter results published on October 26, 2018, show the business continues to execute its clearly articulated tech-led retail strategy despite headwinds in the Nigerian economy,” the bank stated.

Culled from The Nation Newspaper.

Dangote: Our revenue’ll Hit $30bn By 2020

The President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said the revenue of his group of companies will hit $30bn by 2020, The Cable reported on Thursday.

The multibillionaire, while speaking at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that the progress being made by the Dangote Group was as a result of the bold steps taken to venture into spaces others were running away from.

Dangote said though he was a true believer that nothing was impossible, the feat was one he would have considered impossible 10 years ago. He said, “Ten years ago, if you mentioned to me or even if I actually saw it in a dream that our company would have revenue of $30bn, I would have said it was impossible.

“But today, by 2020, we will have $30bn of revenue. Why? Because we have gone into a very bold product and while people are running away from investing, we are investing.”

He added that from just petrochemicals, refinery and oil, the group would have over $25bn, while the rest of the business would have $6bn.

Dangote noted that the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, was not among the five men who built America. He stated that Africa could do the same thing to become great, adding that he would love to be part of those who would make Africa great.

He said, “What I will do is to see how some of us will try and transform Africa into exactly what happened in Asia. Nobody will come and transform Africa but us; so, we must lead. “If you look at how the American economy is today, it was actually made possible by five people, the likes of Ford, Carnegie, and the rest. They were the ones that actually made America great not Donald Trump.

Rwanda To Host African PR Conference In May 2019

The African Public Relations Association (APRA), has fixed May 13-17, 2019 for the next annual Conference in Kigali Rwanda. In a statement obtained by PRNigeria from the Secretary-General of APRA, Jane Gitau from Kenya said the theme of the Conference in Kigali 2019 centered on “Making it One Africa: Promoting A More Collaborative Continent through Effective Public Relations.

” The Conference will also hold the 3rd edition of the SABRE AWARDS AFRICA. The Secretary-General provided updates on activities of PR associations in some African countries. In the updates, Jane Gitau said: “The Public Relations Society of Malawi held its Annual General Meeting on 4th August, 2018 where a new Governing Council led by Mr Lewis Msasa was ushered in.

“The AGM was preceded by the launch of the society, at an event which was graced by the British High Commissioner in Malawi, Her Excellency Holy Tett. The PRSM was registered in 2016 and is keen to join the APRA fold.

“The Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) held its AGM on September 1, 2018, and a new Governing Council headed by Sarah Kagingo succeeded Cynthia Mpanga and colleagues. PRAU has been active in APRA participating in most of the Annual Conferences and we know that Sarah will drive the society to even greater achievement.

“The Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) is in the process of seeking legal establishment for the profession. The society has drafted a bill that is now open for stakeholder discussion and hopefully when it becomes a law, industry regulation and standardization of training and practice will be in the hands of the society. The Society will be looking up to big sister Nigeria (NIPR) for handholding in the process.

“Mr Victor Sibeko has recently been appointed the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA). We welcome Victor and look forward to a time of great fellowship in the profession. “Ghana recently had its Annual General Meeting at Winneba between October 17 and 19, 2018.

” APRA as the African Continental PR body has individual as well as Corporate membership with different categories for freshers and experienced professionals. It encourages PR professionals to be registered members of the home association first before joining the continental association. Follow this link for more information on how to join APRA.

Nigeria Ranks Low In META Region’s ICT Growth Index

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) growth index for Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), has ranked Nigeria low behind Kenya, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirate (UAE).According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the META region holds greater developmental keys, especially for the adoption of new technologies. Speaking to journalists, IDC Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director META, Jyoti Lalchandani, said in countries where emerging technologies have been put on the national mandate, they lead in innovation and becoming more mature markets.

Lalchandani noted that IDC is seeing a major shift in the operating model of digital transformation, where organisations are increasingly looking towards areas like cloud and analytics, to change the landscape in terms of their core investments.

He revealed that while there have been some significant changes for development in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and South Africa, growth in Nigeria has been slow, especially towards the adoption of new technologies. Lalchandani said the slow growth seen in Nigeria’s IT market, is posing a serious challenge to the West African IT ecosystem expansion.

This challenge, which has been linked to some emerging issues in the country, including oil price volatility in the global market, and current political tension in Nigeria, are said to be affecting investors’ plans for the regional market.

Besides, he noted that the government’s non-diversification move especially towards ICT is projected to have also had a negative impact on the region’s growth, as such diverting investors’ focus from the market.

He noted that the slow growth may persist owing to the too much dependence on oil, and insufficient diversification plans, saying the oil and gas sector, which is currently unstable, is putting so much pressure on the lean revenue.

He said the IDC saw significant slowdown in the areas of consumer devices, and SMEs business spending, adding that Personal Computer, tablet, mobile phone markets have gone down significantly in the last one year owing to economic pressures and volatility.

Read More: Nigeria’s slow IT market growth hinders West Africa’s expansion According to him, large enterprises are also feeling the impact, there has been an increased pressure, especially in the currency exchange rate, which was at a time N250 to $1, but increased to about N500 to $1 but gradually coming down, now around N350 to $1.

All these affects IT departments and organisation, “they don’t want unpredictability in prices. Information technology is still seen as a cost factor, it is still seen as a CAPEX investment in Nigeria and this is putting pressure on their lean revenues.

”On the other hand, Lalchandani said the UAE is one of the more mature markets when it comes to ICT spend, and this is because the government has incorporated a lot of what the IDC calls ‘accelerating technologies.

’ “The interesting dynamic about the UAE is that a lot of these shifts that we see in terms of transformation are being led by the public sector, compared to other countries where it is the private sector that leads digital transformation programmes and projects.

Here, the public sector is actually taking the lead.” According to him, the country is the first in the world to set up a Ministry of Artificial Intelligence and appointed a minister to the department, and the Dubai Government plans to become completely paperless by 2021, by placing all its transactions on the blockchain.

”Our research indicates that countries (within META) where the public sector has taken the lead in driving innovation by adopting accelerator technologies (blockchain, AI, IOT, next-gen security, AR/VR, robotics and drones), are generally more mature.

“In such cases, the private sector aligns itself with government direction, thereby increasing their own investments to keep pace. We have seen this also influence larger industry players (e.g, IBM, Oracle) to expand investments by establishing innovation hubs and other related investments.

”Investment in analytics is changing from organizations looking to just leverage their data to gain a competitive advantage, to organizations looking into ways to monetize the data and create new revenue streams for both the public and private sectors, he pointed out.

Traders, farmers demands accountability from politicians

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called for accountability from in-coming governments, insisting that they must keep their promises.

President of the association, Mr Ken Ukaoha, made the call at the public presentation of “Framers Manifesto and Traders Charter Demands’’ in Abuja on Monday.

“We are gradually coming back to our senses to ask why promises made by politicians have not been fulfilled.

“Promises of 24-hour power supply to help the optimal performance of our businesses and free education at all levels are yet fulfilled.

“Also, promises of good roads to bring our harvested products from farm to the market and good health, among others, are not yet met,’’ Ukaoha said.

He said that the era of vote-buying was closing up, assuring that electorate would no longer sell their votes and future for N10, 000.

He said that there would no longer be room for politicians to enjoy people’s collective wealth for four years while the citizens lavished in penury.

“We are tired of bags of rice, salt and wrapper in exchange for our future and the future of our children.

“With our Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on one hand and our instruments on the other hand, it is now time for politicians to make commitments and sign for us on what they will deliver within their four years tenure.

“We shall vote and hold them accountable to their signature,’’ Ukaoha said.

According to him, Nigerians deserve good governance, economic growth and sustainable development and such cannot be achieved without adequate demand from the people.

He said that the traders demanded for immediate design and provision of a coherent, predictable and inward-looking trade policy to help in smooth running of the economy.

Ukaoha also called for investigation of all “illegal seizure’’ of traders’ goods by agencies of government in line with the commitment to the fight against corruption.

“Others needs are capacity-building to meet the demands of the 21st century trading environment and the harmonization of taxes and charges meted on traders to curb multiple taxation and economy distortion,’’ he added.

For farmers, the president called for increased budgetary allocation to agriculture, dedication of at least 60 per cent of agriculture funding to small-scale farmers.

He also urged governments to enunciate action plan for the support of farmers and roadmap for the resolution of herdsmen-farmers crises.

On his part, Prof. Clement Alawa, Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja, said that if the government had marched its promises with action, the country would be providing all it consumed.

Alawa said that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme did not get to every part of the country and advised that the school feeding programme should be done the right way.

“They should feed the children the right food which is a balanced diet,’’ he said.

Alawa called on the government to pay attention to what was called “bush market’’ because it affected the farmers and the consumers.

He also advised that the government should address the issues of farm production, conservation credit, agriculture, rural development, and nutrition programme.

According to him, farmers needed insurance to boost the production and also look into research and extension.

“Our food products cannot be exported except we follow the standards to avoid rejection by the international community.

“The issue of inconsistent and unrealistic policy must be looked into,’’ he said.

Alawa said that the country had been affected by the issue of lack of proper follow-up and that such needed to be addressed.