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HOW CUSTOMERS’ INCREASED TRUST IN FIRSTBANK’S *894# USSD BANKING CAN BOOST THE FINANCIAL INCLUSION DRIVE

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The path to financial inclusion holds different marketplace barriers and opportunities in different countries, but the push continues because of proof that an increase in economic activities among the financially vulnerable can reawaken a comatose economy.

For Nigeria, the last three years have seen significant growth of the financial inclusion rate from 56.8% in 2016 to 63.2% in 2018. FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking service is playing a key role in it.

FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking initiative is already averaging about 99 million transactions monthly, with a naira worth of (N’m) 370,543 on these transactions.

This figure includes the undergraduate doing a mobile airtime recharge; the trader receiving a mobile payment from a customer; the IT person hurriedly buying a data bundle to keep business afloat; the anxious father paying his daughter’s hospital bills for treatment to commence, and the busy worker in Lagos transferring money to his parents in the village since he cannot get to a banking hall.

This is just a rough sampling of the financial transactions that amounted to over N3.6 trillion in transaction value on the *894# USSD banking service in 2020. There is practically no financial emergency that the USSD service does not come in.

The problems that the *894# USSD service from First Bank of Nigeria Limited is solving is the only justification for the rapid traction it has gained since it was introduced in 2015.

It is easy to see Nigerians trust and confidence in the USSD system, with the Bank rapidly growing from 9.5 million customers on the USSD feature to 12.26 million customers within the last year.

Over 1.02 million of the figure, are customers who registered in the first 6 months of 2021.

The first and perhaps the most attractive feature of USSD banking has got to be that it can be done from any kind of phone and without any form of internet connectivity.

Although smartphones are getting more common, there is still a high poverty rate and many financially vulnerable people who cannot access internet banking.

The internet penetration in Nigeria is still below the ideal, so users have to deal with poor internet connections in some areas.

That is why this kind of banking service that can be accessed without internet connectivity is ideal for the financial inclusion drive.

The *894# USSD feature can be used across the four major GSM network operators in the country, meaning there is no added demand on the users.

Getting started on the service is as easy as dialling *894*0#, and creating a pin. With that done, you can do airtime and data purchase for yourself and other parties, transfer funds to other accounts, make a BVN enquiry, check your account balance and get a mini statement.

For non-customers, this feature allows you to open a bank account in a couple of minutes without having to visit the banking hall.

You can open a bank account, receive your account number immediately and start transactions on it right away. The claims of “instant banking, anytime, anywhere” can’t get more real than this.

There is even an added security step, requesting a second-factor authentication (2FA) for transfers above N20,000 as a way to secure customers from being ripped off their funds.

There is a cumulative maximum daily transfer limit of N100,000 to both FirstBank and other banks accounts.

How does FirstBank USSD improve the lives of Nigerians?

For one, the data being generated through this service is sufficient to help the bank understand its current and prospective customers and develop products that suit them.

Traders and small businesses can also get a Merchant ID which customers can use to make payments for products and services.

This of course is better than having to send one’s account details to countless customers, even without knowing whether or not they are ready to make their purchase.

To ensure customers can meet emergency needs before month-end, the Bank’s FirstAdvance service is at their fingertips.

FirstAdvance is a digital lending solution designed to offer convenient and easy access to cash for payroll customers awaiting payment of their salaries.

Offered through the Bank’s USSD Banking service and leading banking app product, FirstMobile, customers are exposed to a range of loan offerings which put them at an edge in meeting immediate financial needs.

To initiate the service through the USSD banking service, the customer is to dial – USSD CODE-*894*11# or *894#.

The service is open to customers with a salary account domiciled with the Bank and have received salaries for the last 6 months at the least.

There are much more about FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking that puts customers at a distinct advantage in carrying out their daily personal, financial and business activities; meeting unforeseen emergencies, and carrying out a wide range of transactions – with so much fun and convenience – irrespective of where they are in the country.

Culled from NairaMetrics

 

 

 

 

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Outcry In Abuja As FCTA Asks Business Owners To Pay For Using Generators

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Business owners within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have decried transfer by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA to impose levy on firms for utilizing turbines to energy their companies.

Some officers of AMAC believed to have been contracted by the FCTA, have been seen in some components of town distributing cost notices to a number of organizations together with DAILY POST.

In response to the discover signed by the Director Public Well being, HoD Atmosphere of AMAC, Ahmed Haruna, the Administration of Abuja Municipal Space Council Environmental Companies (ESD) Our bodies, mentioned industries, warehouses, Banks are to pay annual payment for utilizing generator because of the discharge of dangerous hazardous substance.

The discover reads, “Administration of Abuja Municipal Space Council Environmental Companies (ESD) Our bodies, needs to inform you of levy/charges resulting from Abuja Municipal Space Council for Gaseous Emission Allow Restrict. This consists of discharge of dangerous hazardous substance into the air or the land and the water in Nigeria by the actions of industries, warehouse, Financial institution, both from generator or heavy obligation, drilling, manufacturing, development and manufacturing equipments, filling station, ETC.

“That is according to the supply of part (2C) of the forth schedule to the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended below the perform of the Native Authorities Authority and Federal Environmental Safety Company Act (FEPA) Part 25 which established the Native Council Authority to, regulate, implement and assortment of levies for the curiosity of public well being significance (welfare) part 18, 20, 21, 26and 27 and different related legal guidelines Nationwide Environmental Well being Observe Regulation 2016 which confers on the council the ability to control, examine, management and assortment of levies.

It additionally threatened to punished and cripple organizations that violate the order.

“Additionally observe that failure to adjust to this forgoing regulation is punishable offence and we are going to seize the actions of the group and arrest as prescribe partially iV Part 27 Subsection 1 abcd and (2) of FEPA ACT 1992”.

However when DAILY POST engaged the officers distributing the notices on what the FCTA administration had put in place to safeguard lives in Abuja from it termed hazardous substance, they had been unable to clarify.

When contacted, an admin of the AMAC who recognized herself as Peace, mentioned this system was accredited by the Federal Authorities.

She mentioned, “is a levy accredited by the Federal Authorities that who ever is working enterprise in Abuja ought to pay. And it’s to be paid yearly”.

She, nonetheless, declined additional feedback when requested to present particulars of the cost.

In the meantime, many residents of the FCT are fearful that town’s administration might cripple companies attempting to outlive amid the present financial actuality with it’s quite a few taxes.

In per week, small companies in Abuja had acquired not less than 4 to five cost notices from AMAC. However residents have noticed that the administration has put nothing in place to justify the quite a few taxes imposed on companies and people.

They expressed concern that an administration amassing tax for emission from generator ought to have made entry to medical amenities simple, lamenting that medical payments in Abuja hospitals stay very excessive throughout all hospitals.

Additionally they argued {that a} authorities that might not generate sufficient energy for individuals to run their companies shouldn’t be taxing residents and enterprise house owners who wrestle each day to run their companies with an alternate energy supply.

A few of them cautioned the FCTA to cease stifling companies in Abuja with taxes when improvement stays stagnant. “How will you tax us for emission however can’t present an alternate vitality supply? That is draconia,” a enterprise proprietor informed DAILY POST in Utako.

A supervisor of a preferred firm in Apo, Abuja who most well-liked no to be talked about in print, informed DAILY that the event is conceivable. He described the discover as a transfer by the federal government ro cripple companies in Abuja.

He lamented why a authorities would provoke such a coverage amid the present hardship ravaging your entire nation.

“One query I’ve been asking is, why do enterprise house owners use turbines? Is it not as a result of the federal government failed to offer electrical energy for us? Then after failing to do your job, I selected to assist myself with generator to energy my agency with an enormous bills and also you are actually coming again to ask me to pay for that? That isn’t regular.

“That is only a means of extorting cash from poor residents. They’re speaking about well being, do they even care in regards to the healthcare system? What have they put in place concerning healthcare? What are they going to realize with the cash now concerning the well being points they’re claiming? Nothing.

“Companies are presently struggling. Some have even closed down because of the horrible impact of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and a authorities goes about extorting cash from enterprise as small as mine. That is an evil agenda.

When requested if his group is getting ready to pay the levy, he merely mentioned, “We don’t have cash for that, I’m sorry.”

Managing Director of a preferred trade in Abuja, Dr Obi Ugochukwu mentioned regardless of all taxes imposed on residents, there are not any seen tasks within the territory.

“There are comparatively no social facilities within the metropolis. We survive on our personal. Generally, I’m wondering what they’re really utilizing the cash for.

“If you happen to drive via most components of town, one can find out that even the road lights will not be working. The satellite tv for pc cities do no even have it in any respect. So the place is the cash channeled to?

“Now we have dangerous roads in Abuja right here. Go to locations like Bwari Space Council and see. How would companies transfer when individuals discover it troublesome to convey their merchandise and merchandise to the place they are often marketed?

“Sure, you’re taxing individuals on generator emission, however you have to have put issues in place first. What number of public well being amenities are you able to level to notably within the satellite tv for pc cities the place many of the enterprise house owners reside? Even within the metropolis centre, how reasonably priced are hospitals?

“No single factor is sponsored within the metropolis because of the taxes being collected by the administration. This can be a capital metropolis the place you can’t afford hospital invoice on your wards” he mentioned.

DAILY POST recollects that the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, a couple of days in the past, disclosed that the FCT administration spent about N8 billion yearly on waste administration within the Federal Capital Metropolis (FCC) and the satellite tv for pc cities.

The Minister, in an announcement on Sunday claimed that the Abuja Environmental Safety Board (AEPB) spent a mean of N6 billion, whereas the Satellite tv for pc Cities Growth Division (STDD) expended N2 billion on waste administration yearly.

However a respondent who owns a enterprise in Wuse however resides in one of many satellite tv for pc cities, informed our correspondent that his neighborhood contributes cash month-to-month for waste administration.

He additionally said that no authorities in any a part of the world would tax residents with out giving them the advantage of these taxes.

“We pay a minimal of N3,000 month-to-month to those that come to choose waste from our neighborhood for recycling. They often include their autos and we pay them for the providers. That is one thing the federal government ought to have used to generate energy. The waste itself might be transformed to a different supply of vitality however would they suppose in that path?

“The federal government cannot deal with the principle metropolis and abandon the satellite tv for pc cities the place a few of these entrepreneurs reside. You deserted them within the satellite tv for pc city and once they come to town to do their companies, you cripple them with pointless taxation. How would they survive?

He described the event as an obnoxious coverage by the FCTA. He expressed shock that the administration is implementing such a coverage below the watch of the FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, a younger politician who remains to be aspiring for different management positions.

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One Dollar Now Going For 523 Naira At Black Market

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The naira is currently exchanging at 523/$ at the black market. This is as a result of the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop the allocation of foreign exchange to Bureau de Change operators in the country.

After the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had accused the BDCs of abusing the privilege given to them and sabotaging efforts to ensure naira stability in the country.

He said, “The facts abound that BDCs have turned themselves into agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities of people who seek illicit fund flow and money laundering in Nigeria and we will go after all of them.

“Throughout this meeting of the MPC, we extensively debated this matter, and independently with each member of the committee exhibited accurate and deep understanding of issue at stake.

“After these exhaustive and extensive deliberations, the management of the Central Bank with the support of the committee reached the following decisions which will take the following effect. Hence, the CBN will henceforth discontinue the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators.”

As at Monday, one dollar went for 503, then it now fell to 505 on Tuesday, few hours after the CBN made the announcement. Then on Wednesday after trading, the dollar was bought at N515 and sold at N523 according to naijabdcs.com, the official website of the BDCs.

The CBN, however, maintained the official rate of N410.16/$1 on its website.

Before the new regulation, the CBN had been supplying each BDC $10,000 twice a week at the rate of N393.

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Heritage Bank Hailed For Supporting Ibadan Golf Club

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Heritage Bank Plc has been commended for its continued supports to Nigeria’s sports’ sector, especially backing the Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary event.

The event that attracted dignitaries and stakeholders from various parastatals also had the presence of the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde and over 150 golfers who participated in the tournament during the weeklong celebration.

In a speech during the grand finale of the 30th anniversary of the club, the Captain of the Ibadan Golf Club, Oladiran Ibironke commended one of Nigeria’s most vibrant financial institutions, Heritage Bank and others for providing financial support to ensure the success of the event.

R-L: Akintayo Akinola – Divisional Head, South-West, Heritage Bank Plc; Mary Okunola, Lady Captain, IGC; Tunji Oladosu, 2nd Vice Captain, IGC; Engr. Makinde Oluseyi Makinde, Governor, Oyo State; and Oladiran Ibironke, Captain, Ibadan Golf Club; during the Ibadan Golf Club 30th anniversary lead sponsored by Heritage Bank, in Oyo State.

“Special thanks to Heritage Bank Plc., the anniversary’s major sponsor for enlarging our coast financially in order to make the anniversary elaborate and eventful. You will forever be remembered in the history of Ibadan Golf Club,” he stated.

Ibironke also praised the efforts of the founding fathers of the club while tracing the history of how the sporting club has continued to blossom.

He stated that tremendous transformations had occurred within the club since inception 30 years ago.

“We are celebrating 30 years today because some great minds came together and established what we are celebrating today.

“From the history that we heard, they started from Ibadan Recreation Club before moving over to where we are today in 1990,” Ibironke said.

Speaking on the 30th anniversary, the Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu noted that the Bank is delighted to be the lead sponsor and to be associated with Ibadan Golf Club, stating that the sponsorship is hinged on its brand’s passion to support sports, especially golf in promoting health, wellbeing, and nation building.

She stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary, is working assiduously towards achieving its vision of becoming a bank known for promoting healthy lifestyles and the general wellbeing of the society at large.

“Heritage Bank believes in development. We have the tenacity to develop and sport is a way of developing Nigerians both young and old. We want to encourage the golfers; I believe that this type of games is capable of helping them to keep healthy and fit,” Utulu stated.

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