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Dangote: Priority Investments in Infrastructure, Core Industries will Boost Nigeria’s Economy

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Dangote: Priority Investments in Infrastructure, Core Industries will Boost Nigeria’s Economy

 

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…Says a ‘newly industrialized Nigeria within 10 years is possible

Dangote

Business magnate and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has identified priority investments in infrastructure and core industries among other recommendations, as vital panaceas to boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world overall.

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Against the background of the declining fortune of the manufacturing sector, the Africa’s wealthiest man urged the Federal Government to employ strategically

prioritize investments in infrastructure to reverse the trend and boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world over.

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Dangote

In his address as Guest Speaker at the landmark 50th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the 2nd Adeola Odutola Lecture held yesterday in Lagos, Dangote expressed optimism also noted that with the collective effort of all stakeholders, it is feasible to move Nigeria from “developing nation” to “newly industrialized nation”.

 

Dangote said it is imperative that the familiar challenges limiting the pace of industrialisation are frontally addressed while setting a clear-cut agenda for the next 10 years. He identified priority investments in infrastructure and core industries among other recommendations, as vital panaceas to boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world overall.

 

During the AGM, themed: “An Agenda for Nigeria’s Industrialization for the Next Decade”, where a Blueprint for the Accelerated Development of Manufacturing in Nigeria 2.0 was unveiled, the foremost entrepreneur advocated jail terms for dealers in foreign textile materials in order to discourage imports and boost local production in the textile industry. For legislative backup, he also sought the enactment of a law prohibiting the sale of imported fabrics in the country.

 

Dangote identified various measures which needed to be put in place to allow Nigeria speed up its industrialization process and development growth. These measures included investment in infrastructure; creation of business-enabling Policy Framework; development of core industries; macroeconomic stability; facilitation of sectoral linkages and sustaining of the federal government’s recent efforts at ensuring security of lives, properties and investments across the nation.

 

The business titan examined the performance of the industrial sector in Nigeria; identified the nexus between industrialization and economic development with Nigeria and China as case study; analyzed the manufacturing sector in the country with focus on its growth trajectory, current status and challenges, and set an agenda for the next ten years with an implementation roadmap.

 

According to him, “the experience in various parts of the world has shown that industrialization drives economic growth & development, which improves living standards as evident by the high output and per capita income in industrialized countries.

 

“The rate of industrialization in Nigeria has been slow as evidenced by the low contribution of manufacturing to GDP, poor capacity utilization and constrained export of manufactured products within and outside the continent. For instance, Nigeria’s share of world output of 0.41%, ranked 29th in the world which is unimpressive, considering its size and resource endowments. It ranks poorly, when compared with India at (3.1%), South Korea (3.0%) and China (28.7%).

 

“Nigeria’s industrialization process has been greatly challenged by structural and institutional constraints, particularly funding. These factors have over the years cumulatively contributed to its disappointing performance. For instance, in the last decade, average share of manufacturing value added to GDP in countries like China and Malaysia stood at 41% and 38% respectively; compared to 25% in Nigeria.

 

“In terms of capacity utilization, a major performance indicator which reflects the ability of manufacturing companies to meet rising demand without increasing cost, Nigeria achieved a rate of 55% compared to 76% and 78% in China and South Africa respectively. The country’s dwindling industrial performance has significant socio-economic implications, as poverty and unemployment continue to rise.

 

“From 1960 to 2003, the development trajectory of China by far outpaced that of Nigeria within the same period even though Nigeria began on a seemingly better footing. It is therefore important to track back to where Nigeria “dropped the ball” with a view to repositioning the country to the path of growth, development, and social upliftment.

 

“Based on the comparative analysis of Nigeria and China, one can safely make the following deductions (i) the numerical strength of a nation (population) can indeed be translated into economic wealth (ii) steady growth in manufacturing output is possible when the operating environment is conducive; (iii) no nation can easily transit from “developing” to “newly industrialized” without a vibrant manufacturing sector; (iv) effective implementation of long term plans backed with policy consistency will promote enduring economic growth and development”, the industrialist added.

 

According to Dangote, “Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is dominated by light manufacturing with only a few firms operating in the heavy segment of the sector. There are several factors that need to be in place to accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria. These include: security and rule of law, industry-oriented government policy; adequate infrastructure; industry-oriented Research & Development (R&D); a well-developed SME sector; building of human capacity, and embrace of technology to improve efficiency through automation of manufacturing processes.

 

On current status of the manufacturing sector, Dangote noted that manufacturing was singled out in the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as the driver of industrialisation and economic growth.

 

“The contribution of manufacturing to Real GDP in Nigeria contrasts with what was obtained in countries like China (27.16% in 2019); Germany (19.11%); Japan (20.74%) and South Africa (13.53%). To drive industrialization and sustained economic growth in Nigeria, it is important that deliberate policies that are manufacturing-specific should be designed to support manufacturing activities and address the perennial challenges of the sector. It is important to note that the current government policies, if fully implemented, are good enough to address most of the challenges we are now facing,” he said.

 

Among manufacturing challenges, he identified acute shortage of forex; dearth of long-term funds; limited infrastructure; policy inconsistency/implementation/ enforcement; over-regulation; multiple and high taxes for the industries (the manufacturing sector is beset with over thirty statutory taxes, levies, fees, etc. charged at multiple tiers of government), and insecurity.

 

According to Dangote, “In consideration of the afore-mentioned challenges, there is an urgent need for a shift in policy approach and strategy to reposition the manufacturing sector for growth over the next ten years. It is imperative that the familiar challenges limiting the pace of industrialization are frontally addressed while setting a clear-cut agenda for the next 10 years.”

 

While setting an agenda for the next 10 years, Dangote said, “To achieve industrialization goals, it is necessary for a nation to formulate plans and policies that will enhance and sustain industrial development. Sustainable industrial development involves establishment of a conducive environment to encourage investment and ensure efficient usage of resources to increase productivity and growth of the nation.

 

“Nigeria needs to henceforth intensify efforts at promoting industrialization with specific focus on the attainment of the following targets in the next 10 years: 15% manufacturing sector growth, 20% manufacturing contribution to GDP, 15% growth in export of manufactured products, 10% increase in the share of manufacturing to total export merchandise, stronger inter-industry linkage between SMEs and large corporations, improved manufacturing contribution to Government tax revenue and 20% increase in manufacturing employment”, he added.

 

In his conclusion, Dangote noted that, “The drive to transform Nigerian into an industrialized nation has been a consistent goal of successive governments since independence. It is therefore, imperative that we focus on sectors with great potential for inclusive growth. Sustainability must be central to our industrial development agenda.

 

“There is also the need for government (at all tiers) to ensure that they consult widely with relevant stakeholders when taking far reaching decisions on key sectors of the economy. This will make it much easier for manufacturers to make long-term business plans. In addition, policies that have been “tried- and- tested” should be backed with an Act of parliament to give them legal backing and make them less susceptible to arbitrary changes by successive governments.

 

“Industrialization, driven by manufacturing, has the capacity to facilitate enduring economic growth. The transition mechanism entails the availability of required resources, adoption of appropriate technology, provision of favourable operating environment, human capital development, stable macroeconomic environment and adequate infrastructure. With the collective effort of all stakeholders, it is feasible to move Nigeria from “developing nation” to “newly industrialized nation” status within the next 10 years”, he added.

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Nestlé’s Nutritionist, Cissoko, Provides Insights On Harmonious Transition To A Balanced Diet After Ramadan

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Nestlé’s Nutritionist, Cissoko, Provides Insights On Harmonious Transition To A Balanced Diet After Ramadan

Nestlé’s Nutritionist, Cissoko, Provides Insights On Harmonious Transition To A Balanced Diet After Ramadan

The sacred month of Ramadan came to an end about 24 hours ago with Eid al-Fitr celebrations which mark the end of the fasting period.

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Nestlé’s Nutritionist, Cissoko, Provides Insights On Harmonious Transition To A Balanced Diet After Ramadan

This technically raises the issue of how to smoothly return to daily eating habits after the sunrise to sunset, no water or food long hours.

Then, breaking the fast at sunset, followed by one to two more meals before dawn. Meals during Ramadan are often more abundant and richer than usual, consumed at unusual hours of the night.

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As the sacred month of Ramadan comes to an end with Eid al-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of the fasting period, many people wonder how to smoothly return to their daily eating habits. How can one make this transition without any hiccups and adopt behaviors that promote a healthy diet while avoiding post-Ramadan nutritional pitfalls?

To guide you in this process, Dr. Cissoko, Nutritionist at Nestlé, provides some insights for a harmonious transition to a balanced diet after Ramadan.

Readjusting Your Digestive System without Rushing:

To avoid potential stomach discomfort, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, it is recommended to opt for easily digestible foods. Fish is preferable to meat as it is lighter and easier to digest. Cooked vegetables with low fat content are also gentler on the digestive system compared to raw vegetables. Whole or semi-whole grains are rich in fiber and promote a healthy intestinal transit. Fully ripe fruits are also easier to digest than unripe ones.

Water, on the other hand, is your best ally for a smooth transition before returning to a normal diet. In addition to maintaining the body’s water balance, it plays an essential role in digestion by facilitating the process and helping eliminate toxins. Water remains the best beverage.

Lastly, prioritize small portions and take the time to chew your food well, which allows for better digestion and optimal nutrient absorption.

Opt for Gradual Changes, the Key to Dietary Rebalancing:

For a smooth transition after Ramadan, it is recommended to adopt a measured and thoughtful approach, whether in introducing different food groups or in the frequency and intensity of physical activities. Take the time to gradually introduce foods in a balanced manner, ensuring to include all necessary food groups for a healthy diet. It is important to note that physical exercise is of paramount importance in the context of a balanced diet. Light activities such as walking are particularly recommended at the beginning. They stimulate the body without subjecting it to excessive efforts. Over time, you can gradually increase the intensity of these physical activities according to your abilities. This gradual approach is the key to regaining dietary balance after Ramadan.

Avoiding Post-Ramadan Nutritional Pitfalls:

It is important to remain aware of potential nutritional pitfalls that could hinder a balanced diet.

Excessive Sugar Intake: After a period of fasting, it can be tempting to indulge in excessive sweets and desserts. It is essential to limit the consumption of added sugar and prioritize natural sources of sugar, such as fruits.

Excessive Portions: After fasting, it is common to want to compensate by eating larger portions. However, this can lead to overeating and calorie imbalance. It is important to maintain moderate portions and eat slowly to better feel satiety.

Ensuring a Good Variety of Foods: After Ramadan, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet by ensuring the inclusion of a variety of foods to guarantee an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Make sure to include a wide range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and sources of healthy fats in your meals.

Maintaining Proper Hydration: After a period of fasting, it is important to ensure adequate hydration. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to maintain good hydration. It is recommended to consume at least 2 liters of water per day.

Being Mindful of Snacking: Prioritizing structured meals over snacking helps maintain a healthy weight and avoid unnecessary calorie intake.

Listening to Your Body: Relearning to listen to hunger and satiety signals is a valuable skill to adjust your diet to your true needs.

Planning to Avoid Slip-Ups: Anticipating and preparing meals is an effective strategy to stick to a balanced diet and avoid impulsive food choices.
The period following Ramadan is an opportune time to establish or reinforce healthy and sustainable eating habits. By taking conscious steps, each individual can make the most of this transition to nourish their body and mind.

At Nestlé, we encourage and support this journey by offering a variety of products and tips to accompany you in your quest for a balanced diet.

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ZENITH BANK ACHIEVES HISTORIC MILESTONES IN 2023 WITH STELLAR TRIPLE-DIGIT TOPLINE AND BOTTOM-LINE GROWTH 

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ZENITH BANK ACHIEVES HISTORIC MILESTONES IN 2023 WITH STELLAR TRIPLE-DIGIT TOPLINE AND BOTTOM-LINE GROWTH 

ZENITH BANK ACHIEVES HISTORIC MILESTONES IN 2023 WITH STELLAR TRIPLE-DIGIT TOPLINE AND BOTTOM-LINE GROWTH 

 

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Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, achieving a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings from NGN945.6 billion reported in 2022 to NGN2.132 trillion in 2023. According to the audited financial results for the 2023 financial year presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), this impressive triple-digit growth in gross earnings resulted in a Year-on-Year (YoY) increase of 180% in Profit Before Tax (PBT) from NGN284.7 billion in 2022 to NGN796 billion in 2023. Profit After Tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202% from NGN223.9 billion to NGN676.9 billion in the period ended December 31, 2023.

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The increase in gross earnings is primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income increased by 112% from NGN540 billion in 2022 to NGN1.1 trillion in 2023. Non-interest income grew by 141% from NGN381 billion to NGN918.9 billion in the same period. The increase in interest income is attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the rise in the yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

The cost of funds grew from 1.9% in 2022 to 3.0% in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment while interest expense increased by 135% from NGN173.5 billion in 2022 to NGN408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32% growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4% in 2022 to 36.1% in 2023 due to improved top-line performance. Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118% from 16.8% in 2022 to 36.6% in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95% from 2.1% to 4.1% in the same period.

The Group has continued to deepen its market leadership in key corporate and retail deposit segments as customer deposits increased by 69% from NGN9.0 trillion to NGN15.2 trillion in 2023. Its retail drive continues to yield dividends as retail deposits now constitute 46% of total deposits (compared to 44% in 2022) and grew by 77% from NGN3.97 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.04 trillion in 2023, also reinforcing increased customer confidence in the Zenith brand.

Total assets increased by 66% from NGN12.3 trillion in 2022 to NGN20.4 trillion in 2023, largely due to growth in total deposits and the revaluation of foreign currency deposits. Gross loans grew by 71% from NGN4.1 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.1 trillion in 2023 due to the revaluation of foreign currency loans and the growth in local currency risk assets. As a result of the disciplined and diligent approach to risk assets creation and management, the loan growth did not significantly impact the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio, which increased marginally from 4.3% to 4.4% despite the heightened risk environment and challenging operating environment, an attestation to the Group’s resilience despite headwinds and a challenging macroeconomic environment. Also, the prudential ratios remain within regulatory thresholds, with the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and liquidity ratio at 21.7% and 71.0%, respectively, at the close of 2023.

As a demonstration of its commitment to shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of NGN3.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to NGN4.00 per share.

In 2024, the Group will complete the transition to a holding company structure, which is anticipated to position it advantageously for exploring emerging opportunities in the Fintech space while bolstering its digital and retail banking initiatives. Furthermore, the Group is undertaking urgent necessary actions to meet the new minimum NGN500 billion equity capital requirement to maintain its international authorisation within the timeframe stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This will strengthen its presence in key markets to continue positioning for sustainable growth and value addition for stakeholders.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, including being recognised as Best Bank in Nigeria, for the fourth time in five years, from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; the Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria in the Euromoney Awards 2023, being listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023; being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 14th consecutive year, in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023, in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for four successive years from 2020 to 2023, by the Ethical Boardroom; Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021; Bank of the Year 2023 and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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Wema records 196 percent profit before tax in 2023 financial report

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HACKAHOLICS DIGITAL SUMMIT 2023: WEMA BANK LAUNCHES AFRICA’S LARGEST GATHERING OF INNOVATORS, DISRUPTORS, REGULATORS, POLICYMAKERS, INVESTORS & CUSTOMERS IN THE DIGITAL SPACE

Wema records 196 percent profit before tax in 2023 financial report

Wema Bank has announced its full Year 2023 Audited financial statement, recording profit before tax growth of 196 per cent from ₦14.75bn to N43.59 billion.

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The bank also proposed a dividend per share of 50kobo; up from 30 kobo in 2022 and deposit growth of 60 per cent to ₦1,860.57bn from ₦1,165.93bn reported in FY 2022.

“Return on Equity (ROAE) of 39.28%, NPL of 4.31% and N40billion 1st tranche of Capital raise awaiting final regulatory approvals,” a statement from the bank said.

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Commenting on the results, the MD/CEO, Mr. Moruf Oseni said, “2023 showcased a revitalised Wema Bank as evidenced by the considerable improvements in our numbers. The performance is headlined by impressive improvements in Profit before Tax which grew strongly by 196%.”

He noted that the growth of Gross Earnings by 72%, Total Assets by 56% and earnings per share at 279.5 kobo shows the core improvements to the bank’s balance sheet.

“In addition, our cost to income ratio at 64.37% has witnessed significant improvement from the previous period.

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“We also completed our N40bn Capital raise exercise (results awaiting final verification by regulators). This exercise actively positioned us for the new capital licensing requirements of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Wema Bank will accelerate its capital management plans and ensure we embark on the journey to raise the required capital as quickly as possible.

“The Bank will be proposing a dividend per share of 50 kobo to its shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting; this is in line with the Bank’s capital conservation strategy and to ensure that it continues to provide returns to its shareholders in anticipation of additional capital raises scheduled for later this year.

“We are satisfied with the bank’s performance in the first year of the new leadership team, as we move in a strong growth trajectory. Our target remains clear, we want to become a Top-Tier Bank in the industry powered by Digital excellence, we have carved a niche for ourselves with ALAT as a Retail platform, but we are now positioning the enterprise as the Intelligent platform for all financial services.

“We have partnered with the Federal Government on upskilling Two Million MSMEs, provided engagement platforms for all NYSC members and are now implementing partnerships in Health, Education, Women empowerment and in the green economy.

“In the months ahead, we would be developing platforms and supporting initiatives that prioritise the needs of our customers, leveraging technology in solving problems across all sectors.”

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