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FCMB revamps agro-commodity finance facility to boost agriculture

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has enhanced agro-commodity trade finance facility for agribusiness operators.

The development marks a bold step by the bank to expand and deepen its support to the agricultural sector, its value-chain and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

The revamped facility is designed for agro-commodity merchants with supply contracts to multinationals, large corporates and processors of agro-commodities.

Targeted commodities are cocoa, cashew nut, sesame, ginger, palm Oil, grains (maize, sorghum, soya beans, paddy rice). Under this new FCMB trade finance facility, which is structured in the form of working capital, the minimum amount that can be accessed by a qualified customer is N100 million, while the maximum is N2 billion.

Explaining the rationale behind the introduction of the facility in an enhanced form, the Divisional Head, Agribusiness of FCMB, Kudzai Gumunyu, said the bank recognises the gap that exists in agribusiness financing as well as other challenges faced by operators, including farmers, in the sector.

According to him, “We realise there are millions of agro-traders and processors across the country that need credit at convenient and affordable rates, considering the level of attraction the agric sector has garnered. Our decision to introduce a revamped agro-commodity trade finance facility is part of our intervention in the agribusiness space to ensure agribusinesses and other stakeholders are empowered with the requisite funds and enablers to boost production and marketing of agricultural commodities. Commodity producers and traders stand to immensely benefit from this facility because it is a veritable and convenient opportunity to access funds that ensure cash flow is available for maximum output. We urge all to take advantage of this offering’’.

He assured that FCMB is focused on being a strategic partner in the agric sector to drive the diversification of the Nigerian economy, food self-sufficiency, employment and export earnings.

Highlighting FCMB’s contributions to agribusiness, Mr Gumunyu said the bank had sustained the tempo of support through numerous cutting-edge initiatives through innovative products. He said FCMB in 2018, provided lines of credit that peaked at 8 per cent of the bank’s total loan book to the agric sector with the intention to improve on this milestone.

FCMB has consistently proved its mettle as an inclusive and impact investment lender and as an institution that accords agribusiness top priority. For instance, the bank facilitated and guaranteed the procurement of 50 tractors by the Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) Ventures from the Bank of Industry.

The tractors were handed over to the association recently at Ilero town, Oyo State. In addition, FCMB is in partnership with several local and international institutions, such as CBN, BOI, DBN, FMO, International Finance Corporation, USAID, AFD and AGF to provide funding and other classes of support to the agric sector.

Recently, the lender signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI).

The memorandum is aimed at deepening agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors, starting with five states, namely Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach 2 million farmers nationwide by the year 2023.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.

Having successfully transformed into a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.

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Customs seizes N5 billion codeine, tramadol

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The strike force of the Controller General of Customs on Friday raided a warehouse in Lagos where cartons of codeine, tramadol, and other illegal drugs worth N5 billion were kept.

The warehouse, located along the Mile-Oshodi expressway, was raided after a trailer load of the hard drugs was intercepted at Maryland in Lagos.

Usman Yahaya, team leader of the Customs Strike Force Zone A, said the trailer was intercepted around 2 a.m. on August 13 by his operatives.

“Immediately it was brought to our notice, we carried a preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Oshodi-Mile 2 road stocked dreaded tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without NAFDAC numbers”.

He said that after evacuating the warehouse of the hard drugs with street value of N5 billion, one suspect was arrested.

“The warehouse was immediately sealed with a detachment of well armed officers to guard the place”.

“The drugs estimated to be loaded in 21 trailers with street value of over five billion Naira are being evaluated for custody and subsequent judicial process/destruction.”

Three weeks ago, the agency in collaboration with the National Administration of Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) destroyed 48 by 40feet of controlled drugs worth N146billion at a destruction site in Ogun State.

“We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians to support the Nigerian Customs Service on this patriotic resolution”.

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Inflation gets low in July – NBS

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The average change in the prices of foods and services reduced in July compared to June, the statistics bureau, NBS, has said.

According to the NBS, the Headline Inflation reduced to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June.

The Food Inflation reduced from 13.56 per cent in June to 13.39 per cent in July while the Core Inflation reduced from 8.84 per cent in June to 8.80 per cent in July.

Details later…

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CBN outlines new guidelines to banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has released guidelines for the disbursement of lower denominations of the Naira through microfinance banks (MFBs) across the country.

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Okorafor said this development was contained in a circular issued by the Director, Currency Operations Department of the bank, Mrs Patricia Eleje, in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that the circular indicated that all microfinance banks must have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of above average in the most recent Risk Based Supervision (RBS) target examination before they were considered for the scheme.

He explained that the measure was to ensure that only MFBs with good corporate governance practices took part, NAN reports.

“Meanwhile, the participating MFBs must be willing to accept a mixture of new and other banknotes, and that the MFBs shall give 20 per cent of any withdrawal in lower denomination notes subject to a maximum of N50,000.

“Where beneficiaries withdraw more than once in a day, the circular said that disbursement will only apply to one transaction per day.

“Similarly, the MFBs are allowed to exchange notes subject to a maximum of N50,000 for customers with bank accounts and N10,000 for customers without bank accounts.

“In that situation, the banks must not exchange for same beneficiaries more than once a week,” he added.

According to him, MFBs are to maintain a register of amounts received from the CBN through their correspondent commercial banks.

Okorafor said the MFB must also maintain another register of the beneficiaries of the lower denomination notes as well as ensure that withdrawal teller slips contain breakdown of the denomination of the currency to customers with accounts.

“The circular also warned MFBs against hawking, hoarding or using of funds obtained under the intervention for any other purpose.

“It also instructed the banks to put in place effective control measures that will ensure that banknotes disbursed to customers with or without accounts are not sold.

“Furthermore, the circular directed the banks to render weekly and monthly disbursement return to CBN branches where the intervention would be monitored periodically, and appropriate sanctions applied to erring MFBs,” he said.

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