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Zenith Bank Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat for the development of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal, for trade promotion within the African continent. The SMARTAfCFTA Portal, which has the capacity to provide information like trade indicators, market trends, custom tariffs, trade agreements, rules of origin, market access requirements of relevant jurisdictions, export potentials, export diversification indicators and contact details of business partners in target markets and other trade-related information about Africa, will help to unlock the vast opportunities for trade on the African continent.

 

The MoU was signed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu and the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, His Excellency Wamkele Mene, during the 8th Annual Edition of the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar on Non-Oil Export themed “Nigerian Non-Oil Export Industry: The Present, The Future”, held on Wednesday, August 8, 2023, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos and virtually.

Speaking on the partnership with AfCFTA for the development of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “This collaboration aims to unlock the vast opportunities presented by AfCFTA not only for Nigeria’s economic prosperity but also for advancing trade across African countries”.

Dr. Onyeagwu noted the key role that the annual Zenith Bank Trade Seminar plays in deepening the conversation on promoting non-oil export in Nigeria by bringing together non-oil export practitioners and relevant government agencies to interact and explore the opportunities and proffer solutions to the challenges of non-oil export in the country, noting that previous editions’ outcomes have found expression and influenced policy initiatives. For instance, the extension of the period of repatriation of Non-Oil Export proceeds from 90 days to 180 days, and the policy mandating shippers not to carry export without a Nigeria Export Proceeds (NXP) Form Number were recommendations from previous seminars. Also, the need to incentivise exporters to repatriate their export proceeds through the official channels and the recommendation to create export terminals across various export hubs in the country were also from past seminars. Also, previous editions recommended having Export Desks in commercial banks, which has now been instituted.

 

In his keynote address at the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, His Excellency Wamkele Mene, thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for partnering with the AfCFTA for the development of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal. In his words: “Zenith Bank was the first bank to say “we want to partner with you”. We went to see the Founder and Chairman, and he said that Zenith Bank wants to make a contribution to digitise trade in Africa. And so the portal was not my idea, it was not our idea at the AfCTA Secretariat, it was Zenith Bank that stepped up and said, ‘this has to be done!’. So I want to thank you very much, GMD for this collaboration.”

In his goodwill message, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, the Deputy Governor of Economic Policy representing the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, commended Zenith Bank for leading Nigeria’s non-oil export promotion advocacy. He bemoaned the 1.2 per cent non-oil export to total GDP ratio and emphasised the need for concerted efforts to boost non-oil exports in Nigeria.

 

Zenith Bank launched the Non-Oil Export Seminar in 2016 as an initiative to deepen the discourse on promoting the non-oil export business in Nigeria. The 2023 International Trade Seminar also featured a goodwill message from the Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo. There were also two-panel discussions, with the first panel discussion titled: “Nigeria Non-Oil Export Industry – Growth Opportunities”, while the second panel discussion was titled: “Harnessing the Opportunities in Service Export”.

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Business

Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni: Harmony Gardens Chairman and Wife Inducted into Spiritual Roles

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In a momentous occasion of spiritual significance and community recognition, the Chairman of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, popularly known as Mr. Ibile, and his wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, were recently installed with revered titles at an event hosted by the Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation.

 

Hon Saheed Mosadoluwa Ibile inaugurated a multi-billion naira ultra-modern Central Mosque at Ibeju-Lekki immidiately after he got recognized by the West Africa Islamic Council as the AL Mujaddid in Rabbat, Morocco.

 

According to popular Muslim tradition, the term refers to an individual who emerges at the turn of each century in the Islamic calendar to rejuvenate Islam, purging it of extraneous elements and restoring it to its original purity. In contemporary times, a mujaddid is regarded as the preeminent Muslim figure of a century.

 

The concept of Mujaddid is based on a hadith (a saying of Islamic prophet Muhammad), recorded by Abu Dawood, narrated by Abu Hurairah who mentioned that Muhammad said:

 

Allah will raise Mujaddid for this community at the end of every 100 years the one who will renovate its religion for it.

 

Recall that in a grand ceremony attended by distinguished personalities and spiritual leaders, Hon Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, Chairman and CEO of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, officially commissioned and handed over a state-of-the-art central mosque in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, on Friday, January 19th, 2024.

 

The auspicious event witnessed the presence of esteemed religious leaders, including Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, The Grand Chief Imam and General President of the League of Imam and Alfa in Ibeju-Lekki L.G.A. The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, setting the tone for a day of spiritual significance and community celebration.

 

Representing the executive governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwoolu, was Hon. Ahmed Abdulai Jembe, the Special Adviser on Islamic Affairs to the governor, graced the ceremony. The Onibeju in attendance emphasizing the significance of the event in the cultural and traditional context.

 

The event saw the attendance of various traditional rulers, highlighting the communal and inclusive nature of the mosque inauguration. Notably, the newly appointed Lagos NURTW Chairman, Mustapha Sego, drew attention as his presence added an extra layer of recognition to the occasion.

 

However, the prestigious ceremony, held at Monarch Hall in Osapa London Lekki, Lagos State, saw Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa bestowed with the title of Baba Adinni, signifying a revered position within the religious community. His wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, was similarly honored as Iya Adinni, a title of great respect and responsibility.

 

The Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation, under the guidance of its founder Sheik Rasheed Adeleke, who is also the owner of Al-Irshad Travel and Tours, organized the event as a Pre-Ramadan lecture, award ceremony, and Turbaning ceremony. The atmosphere was filled with spiritual fervor and communal joy as community members gathered to witness the momentous occasion.

 

Notably, Abu Abel and other prominent figures, was also present at the event, adding to the significance of the gathering. The ceremony, held on Sunday, February 25th, 2024, brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds to celebrate the exemplary contributions of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and his wife to both the community and the Islamic faith.

 

The Turbaning ceremony, a traditional rite of passage within the Islamic community, symbolizes a deep connection with cultural heritage and spiritual leadership. The titles of Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni carry great responsibilities, signifying the honorees’ commitment to serving the community and upholding the values of the Islamic faith.

 

As the community celebrates this significant event, the installation of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe as Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni reflects their exemplary leadership and commitment to the principles of Harmony Gardens and Estate Development LTD. The event serves as a beacon of unity, spirituality, and communal recognition within the Osapa London in Lekki community.

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Squad Powers OmniPay’s Trade Business to Simplify Payments for FMCG Industry

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In a strategic move aimed at furthering its mission to empower African traders with the necessary payment solutions for thriving in the digital era, Squad, a fintech subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), offering comprehensive payment and e-commerce solutions for businesses, has entered a partnership with OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc.

 

This collaboration has currently benefited more than 65,000 stakeholders, which include retailers, distributors, and manufacturers through improved payment and collection methods using Squad’s Virtual Bank Account without incurring any charges. Additionally, they have gained more accessible and affordable working capital to procure goods on credit for their businesses, contributing to the daily transaction volume exceeding N3 billion, and this figure continues to grow.

 

Adeyemi Atanda, the Chief Marketing Officer, Squad, shared insights on the partnership’s significance, emphasizing, “At Squad, our mission revolves around providing African businesses with the right solutions for effortless payment processes, available at their convenience. We understand the pivotal role small businesses play in our economy. Through strategic alliances like this, we aim to empower even more merchants by granting them access to rapid, user-friendly, and dependable payment solutions that optimize their business operations and, in turn, boost their revenue.”

 

Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of OmniRetail stated, “As we join forces with Squad, we are driven by our shared vision of transforming the digital payment landscape for African businesses. With OmniPay, businesses will gain improved payment methods with zero transfer fees, while retailers and distributors will have easier access to OmniPay’s BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) solution. This partnership aims to empower businesses, streamline payment processes, and enhance record-keeping accuracy through automated reconciliation for orders. This partnership reinforces OmniRetail’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion.”

 

About Squad

 

Squad is a complete payment solution that is reliable, secure, and affordable, making receiving in-person and online payments simple and convenient.

 

Our goal is to support SMEs, micro-merchants, large corporations, and other fintechs (Tech Stars) with the tools they need to thrive in an evolving digital economy and expand beyond their current market reach.

 

Squad’s current products and service offerings include SquadPOS, Squad Payment Links, Squad Virtual Accounts, USSD, and E-Commerce Storefront.

 

Find out more at www.squadco.com.

 

About OmniPay

 

OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc., is a company with a mission to simplify payments in Nigeria and provide working capital to trade businesses. OmniPay provides an API-based wallet built to simplify trade payments.

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