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Zenith Bank Delivers N125.59billion Dividend to Shareholders

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Shareholders of Zenith Bank Plc, at the 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday, 8 May 2024, approved the proposed final dividend payment of NGN3.50 per share, bringing the total dividend for the 2023 financial year to NGN4.00 per share, with a total value of NGN125.

59 billion, which is the highest dividend payout by any bank.

In his opening statement at the Annual General Meeting, Dr.

Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, thanked the shareholders for their unflinching support and loyalty to the Zenith brand which has been instrumental to the bank’s consistent superior performance.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr.

Ebenezer Onyeagwu, thanked the Founder and Chairman, Jim Ovia, for his mentorship, which has been instrumental to his success in the last five years as CEO, and for providing the pedestal for the bank’s continued superior performance.

“As I prepare to pass the baton to Dame (Dr) Adaora Umeoji, OON, I am confident in the bank’s trajectory under her leadership. I would like to express my profound gratitude to our Founder and Chairman, Dr Jim Ovia and to the board, shareholders, customers, and staff for their steadfast support throughout my tenure. I earnestly request that you extend the same level of support to my successor. It has been a remarkable journey, and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together. As I commence the mandatory regulatory cooling-off period, I am filled with optimism for Zenith Bank’s future, assured that we are on the path to even greater success” he said.

Speaking on the dividend payout, Mrs. Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, expressed her delight in the exceptional performance of the bank, as evidenced by the numerous awards received during the 2023 financial year. She remarked, “We shareholders are very pleased today to receive a final dividend of N3.50 kobo from Zenith Bank. Following an interim dividend of 50 kobo paid last December, the total dividend for the 2023 Annual General Meeting amounts to N4.00— the highest in the banking sector to date. We truly appreciate this and are optimistic that the transition to a Holding Company will bring even greater returns. Zenith Bank’s numerous accolades this year clearly position it as the leading bank in the country. We anticipate that the 2024 AGM, marking the first year as a Holding Company, will be even more promising for Zenith.”

At the AGM, Dr. Faruk Umar, President of the Association of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), expressed his gratitude to the Chairman for facilitating a seamless succession plan. He stated, “The bank has performed exceptionally well, particularly in terms of succession planning. It’s encouraging to see the new Managing Director promoted from within, reinforcing our belief in the bank’s leadership development. This internal promotion strategy motivates our staff, giving them confidence that they can aspire to the highest levels within the bank.”

Chief Timothy Adesiyan, President of the Shareholders Solidarity Association of Nigeria, praised the Chairman and Management of Zenith Bank for their consistent delivery of value to shareholders. He noted, “The bank’s rapid growth can be attributed to the diligent oversight by our Founder, who is also a core investor and actively monitors all operations. This growth is further supported by our adherence to strict corporate governance principles. The bank’s performance metrics are clearly delineated and managed by dedicated committees, ensuring accountability and responsiveness. As a stakeholder, I am very pleased with their performance and attentive response to any concerns raised.”

In spite of challenging macroeconomic conditions coupled with economic headwinds, Zenith Bank Group achieved a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings, from NGN945.6 billion in the previous year to NGN2.132 trillion in 2023. This was driven by a 112% YoY growth in interest income and a 141% YoY growth in non-interest income. Customer deposits grew by 69%, reflecting the bank’s market leadership and customers’ trust. Operating expenses grew by 32% YoY. Total assets rose by 66%, largely due to growth in total deposits and the revaluation of foreign currency deposits

In 2024, Zenith Bank Group plans to expand its reach following its restructuring into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and pursuing growth in all chosen markets, locally and internationally.

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

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NAICOM, RMAFC Collaborate on Economic Diversification 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Commissioner for Insurance and CEO, Mr. Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, and his management team have met with the members of the Constitutional Committee on “Mobilisation and Diversification” of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) led by Engr.

Sani Mohammed Baba, to explore ways of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
 

During their working visit to NAICOM Headquarters, Mr.

Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, in his opening remarks, reaffirmed the critical role of the insurance sector regulator in supervising, regulating, and safeguarding the interests of insurance policyholders. 

He highlighted insurance’s pivotal role in mobilising savings for long-term developmental projects and enabling businesses to thrive while managing risks effectively.

 

He also stressed the Commission’s commitment to ensuring insurance companies meet their obligations, thus contributing to the sustainability of the economy.

Speaking, Mohammed Baba emphasised the importance of revenue generation, institutional expansion, and employment creation for Nigerians through collaborative efforts.

The Commissioner for Insurance also acknowledged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ambitious goal of growing the Nigerian economy to One Trillion United States Dollars ($1 trillion) by 2026. 

He expressed the insurance sector’s intent to significantly contribute to this objective. Additionally, he mentioned ongoing efforts to embed insurance within the National Credit Scheme to ensure its sustainability.

Omosehin stressed the need for continuous advocacy and sensitization of government institutions about the vital role of insurance in national economic development.

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CBN Unveils Strategy to Boost Remittances, Grants AIP To 14 New IMTOs

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).

This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday, by the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs.

Hakama Sidi Ali, who stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.
 

She said, “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.

“It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had recently declared: “We’ve set ourselves a target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, a goal I firmly believe is within reach. 

“We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry,” she stated.

Continuing, Sidi Ali, said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows—one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria. 

The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024. The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

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Tinubu Inaugurates Critical Gas Projects, Reassures Energy Sector Investors

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By Matthew Dadiya, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has reassured investors in the energy sector of his administration’s resolve to further enhance the business environment and ensure investment convenience.

The President spoke Wednesday at the inauguration of three milestone projects, including the expanded AHL Gas Processing Plant; the ANOH Gas Processing Plant, and the 23.

3km ANOH – Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Custody Transfer Metering Station Gas Pipeline.

In a speech during the virtual inauguration of the projects at the State House, Tinubu also assured citizens that his administration is stepping up its coordination of other landmark projects and initiatives that will ensure the earliest realization of gas-fueled prosperity in the country.

 

The President, according to a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, noted that the projects were fully in line with the Decade of Gas Initiative and his administration’s vision to grow value from the nation’s abundant gas assets, while concurrently eliminating gas flaring and accelerating industrialization. 

“This event is highly significant to our country as it demonstrates the administration’s concerted efforts to accelerate the development of critical gas infrastructure geared at significantly enhancing the supply of energy to boost industrial growth and create employment opportunities.

“It is pleasing that when these projects become fully operational, approximately 500MMscf of gas in aggregate will be supplied to the domestic market from these two gas processing plants, which represents over 25% incremental growth in gas supply. 

“In practical terms, this is more gas to the power sector, gas-based industries, and other critical segments of the economy. I, therefore, commend the strategic vision of the NNPC Limited and its partners, Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) and Seplat Energy Plc, for this laudable and value-adding projects,” President Tinubu said.

The President said his government remains determined in its bid to leverage the nation’s vast gas capacity to drive economic growth. 

“Aside from the presidential CNG initiative which is aimed at moving the good people of Nigeria away from petrol and diesel as vehicular combustion fuel, significant progress has also been recorded in incentivizing gas development through Presidential Directives.

“The theme of this inauguration – ‘From Gas to Prosperity; Renewed Hope’, must be adopted by all gas-sector participants and would-be investors as a clarion call to ramp up efforts to accelerate investment and developments of projects in the gas sector on a win-win basis.

“I would once again commend the efforts of NNPC Ltd, alongside SEEPCO and Seplat Energy, on this business partnership initiative, and congratulate you all on the successful implementation of the three projects,” the President said.

President Tinubu also reiterated his government’s resolve to continue to provide support in deepening domestic gas utilization, increase national power generation capacity, revitalize industries, and create multiple job opportunities for economic growth.

“Today, I have the singular honour to inaugurate the expansion of the AHL Gas Processing Plant, the ANOH Gas Processing Plant, and the 23.3Km ANOH to Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Custody Transfer Metering Station Gas Pipeline Projects in line with my administration’s resolve to provide energy for Nigerians, and to use our vast natural gas resources to transform Nigeria,” the President stated.

May 15, 2024

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