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Access Bank collaborates with Federal Government to roll out GEEP 2.0 in all 36 states and the FCT

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Nigeria’s biggest lender in the SME space, Access Bank Plc is collaborating with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to roll out the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme GEEP 2.0 in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Successful beneficiaries of GEEP 2.0 shall receive congratulatory and sensitization text messages in the coming days informing them of their qualification and re-emphasis that the empowerment program is a loan and not a grant.

“All qualified beneficiaries will soon receive their disbursement alerts after being fully enumerated. We wish to remind all qualified beneficiaries that this is a loan payable within 9months without interest.

The Ministry is planning a rollout of the program nationwide, after which an enumeration exercise to capture beneficiaries’ biodata, will take place.

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According to Ayodele Olojede, Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank Plc, “The bank remains committed to the growth and development of the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) as we understand their contribution to the economy in terms of GDP and Employment. Our partnership with the Federal government to roll out the Government Enterprise and Empowerment business Programme GEEP 2.0 in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is part of our commitment to address the primary factor small business owners face.

In rolling out the Government Enterprise and Empowerment business Programme GEEP 2.0 loans, Special accounts will be opened for all beneficiaries for the disbursement of the loan and all beneficiaries are expected to complete physical enumeration at their various local government and an account opening form of Access Bank prior to disbursement.

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The GEEP 2.0 is a loan scheme designed by the Federal Government to provide financial inclusion and give credit access to poor and vulnerable individuals, including Persons With Disability and persons at the bottom of the economic pyramid who are engaged in small scale commercial activities under its three flagship schemes: MarketMoni, TraderMoni and FarmerMoni.

Tradermoni targets uplifting under-privileged and marginalized youths aged between 18-40 years in Nigeria by providing them with loans of N50,000 while MarketMoni targets underprivileged and marginalized women aged between 18-55 years like Widows, divorcees amongst other vulnerable groups. They get non-interest loans of N50,000 payable within 6-9 months.

FarmerMoni is for Nigerian farmers aged between 18-55 years in rural areas that operate in the agricultural space. They are provided with loans of up to N300,000 for gainful agricultural production and value addition activities. This scheme has 12 months including 3 months moratorium and 9 months repayment period.

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Access Bank is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Africa. With over 40 million customers and 600 branches nationwide, it offers a range of products and services tailored to suit the needs and lifestyle of its customers across multiple segments. The Bank offers various SMEs digitalised solutions to cater for the vast majority of MSMEs. Some of these innovations include online account opening platform for businesses, digital lending platform, Digital payment solution platform (Swiftpay), Access to market (Discounted Website), and our capacity-building programmes.

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Real estate firm approves N14.50 dividend

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SFS Real Estate Investment Trust says it will pay N14.50 per share as dividends to its shareholders for 2023.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilodianya, disclosed this during the company’s general meeting held on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Ilodianya, the SFS Real Estate Investment Trust, formerly known as Skye Shelter Fund, a subsidiary of SFS Capital Nigeria, witnessed a 70 per cent growth in net income to N317.5m in 2023 from N186.6m in the prior year.

“Concurrently, we observed a growth in dividend payouts of 71.60 per cent, nearly doubling,” he stated.

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The managing director explained that despite encountering challenging market conditions, SFS REIT consistently delivered dividends every year since its inception.

“In 2023, SFS REIT is proposing a dividend of N14.50 per share, marking this the highest dividend ever distributed in the Fund’s 17-year history.

“To contextualise these achievements, consider an investor who acquired SFS REIT shares on January 1, 2023, at a share price of N77.00. This investor would witness a capital appreciation of N24.35 per share (31.62 per cent), with the current share price standing at N101.35 per share.

“The overwhelming demand for shares has rendered them currently unavailable for purchase, as demand far exceeds supply. A dividend payout of N14.50 per share translates to an 18.83 per cent return compared to the share price on January 1, 2023, resulting in an estimated total return of over 50 per cent annually,” Ilodianya enunciated.

He spoke further that SFS REIT had invested in multiple units within organised and efficiently managed residential estates along the expanding Lekki corridor.

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He listed some notable investments, including Milverton Court Estate, Victoria Crest V Estate, Sapphire Gardens Estate, Maben Phase 2 Estate, Bourdillon Court Estate, Victory Park Estate, and Cromwell Court Estate.

He added that real estate returns remain stable while adjusting to inflation and consistently appreciating under skilled fund managers.

“Within SFS REIT, our Average Occupancy rate exceeds 98 per cent, while the average rental default rate remains below 1.5 per cent. Over the years, we have implemented various Proptech initiatives aimed at optimising rent collection, increasing occupancy rates, and reducing default occurrences.

“Leveraging technology, we have streamlined our property acquisition and disposal processes, enhanced tenant sourcing and appraisal procedures, automated entry/access control, and facilitated electricity vending.

“With 17 years of experience under our belt, SFS Capital Nigeria Limited remains exceedingly optimistic about the future. Positioned strategically, we are poised to implement innovative strategies to expand the fund and enhance its yield. While our current dividend payout of N14.50 per share represents the pinnacle in the history of REITs, we anticipate no decline. Instead, we envision SFS REIT continuing to deliver higher dividends in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.

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Cement price 69% higher in Nigeria than India – Reps C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the arbitrary increase in the price of cement in Nigeria has lamented the cost of the commodity, compared to what obtains in other African countries.

Recall that on March 13, 2024, the House resolved to investigate the incessant increase in the price of cement following the adoption of the motion co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

On February 13, the Federal Government and cement manufacturers agreed to peg the price of a 50kg bag of cement between N7,000 and N8,000.

At the public hearing on the subject matter on Tuesday organized by the House Joint Committee in Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Gaza Gbefwi said there’s a need to address the situation, noting that in most African countries, the price of cement is lower compared to what obtains in Nigeria.

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He said, “Our findings showed that the price of cement is 69 per cent higher in Nigeria than in India, 39 per cent higher in Nigeria than in Zambia and 29 per cent higher than in Kenya given the official exchange rate.”

Speaking at the event, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, assured the manufacturers that the public hearing was not intended to witch-hunt them but an avenue to prefer solutions to the challenges affecting the housing sector, particularly the high cost of cement across the country.

…Details later

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria boosts reading culture, sponsors Uyo book club reading session

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A leading integrated marketing communications network, MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, has announced its sponsorship of the Uyo Book Club, a vibrant community of book lovers based in Akwa State, Nigeria.

The event, aligned with MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria’s commitment to fostering creativity and knowledge, will be held on Saturday,25th May from 4pm at Shakespeare’sn Hall, Watbridge Hotel and Suites, Opposite Ibom Hall, IBB Way, Uyo.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, Emeka Chris Okeke, described the sponsorship as another way of supporting initiatives that foster reading culture and promote literacy.

This is coming a few months after the company donated computers to Army Children Senior High School in Ikeja, Nigeria to empower students with the necessary tools for the digital age and improve their chances of success.

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He said, “MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is excited to partner with the Uyo Book Club and help them continue to provide a platform for people to connect and explore the literary.

“At MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria, we believe in the power of stories to inspire and educate. We are committed to supporting initiatives that foster creativity, education, and community engagement.”

Responding to the sponsorship, the Founder and Father of the Book Club Initiative in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Udeme Nana, commended MediaFuse-Dentsu for sponsoring the book reading session.

He said, “Uyo Book Club, a community service initiative based in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria, seeks to bridge the yawning gap observed in the reading habit of Nigerians. We are delighted to have MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria on board in the mission to re-awaken the culture of reading and also promote it among Nigerians.”

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MediaFuse-Dentsu Nigeria is a leading integrated marketing communications agency, offering a comprehensive range of services including media planning and buying, creative and content development, digital performance, location services, and public relations. The agency is a member of the Dentsu International network, one of the world’s largest marketing communications groups with a presence in over 65 countries around the world.

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The Uyo Book Club is a platform for passionate readers to connect, discuss literature, and share their love of books. The club hosts regular meetings, author events, and other literary activities.

 

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