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Zenith Bank named Nigeria’s best bank for the fourth year in the last five at Global Finance awards 2024

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Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance Best Banks Awards 2024, winning the award for the fourth time since 2019.

The Bank was among other banks from 36 countries in Africa recognised as the prestigious Global Finance announced its 31st Annual Best Bank Awards Winners.

The editors of Global Finance made the selections after extensive consultations with corporate financial executives, bankers and banking consultants, and analysts worldwide. Factors considered in selecting the top banks ranged from the quantitative objective to the informed subjective. Objective criteria considered included: growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and innovation in products. Subjective criteria included the opinions of equity analysts, credit rating analysts, banking consultants and others involved in the industry.

Commenting on the award, the outgoing Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “This award serves as a powerful affirmation of our resilience and tenacity despite headwinds and a very challenging macroeconomic environment. Indeed, it is a testament to our status as the leading financial institution in Nigeria, dedicated unwaveringly to delivering exceptional value to our stakeholders”.

He expressed profound gratitude to the founder and chairman, Jim Ovia, CFR, for his exceptional vision and foundational role in establishing a resilient and enduring financial institution. He also lauded the board for their astute insights and exemplary leadership, the staff for their steadfast commitment and unwavering dedication, and the customers for their staunch loyalty to the Zenith brand.

Joseph D. Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance, said: “Banking has reached another watershed moment with the debut of generative artificial intelligence, which promises to rewrite the industry playbook,” He added that: “In this ever-changing environment, the Best Bank Awards recognize the financial institutions that offer the broadest range of services, long-term reliability, and technological innovation.”

Global Finance’s “Best Banks Awards” are recognised amongst the world’s most influential banking/finance and corporate professionals as the most coveted and credible awards in the banking industry, with winners chosen in 150 countries and territories across Africa, AsiaPacific, the Caribbean, Central America, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.

Founded in 1987, Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other financial services providers, and the awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has earned the brand numerous awards, including being recognised as 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 Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; 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 Awards.

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Georgieva re-elected as IMF managing director

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The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Kristalina Georgieva has been re-elected to serve as the lender’s managing director (MD) for a second term of five years.

In a statement on Friday, the board said Georgieva’s second tenure would begin on October 1, 2024.

The IMF had, on April 4, announced Georgieva as the sole candidate nominated for the position.

The board, coordinated by Afonso Bevilaqua and Abdullah BinZarah, said its decision on her reappointment was taken by consensus.

According to the statement, the board held several discussions with Georgieva, in line with the selection process it established on March 13, before making its decision.

“In taking this decision, the Board commended Ms. Georgieva’s strong and agile leadership during her term, navigating a series of major global shocks,” the statement reads.

“Ms. Georgieva led the IMF’s unprecedented response to these shocks, including the approval of more than $360 billion in new financing since the start of the pandemic for 97 countries, debt service relief to the Fund’s poorest, most vulnerable members, and a historic Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation equivalent to $650 billion.

“Under her leadership, the Fund introduced innovative new financing facilities, including the Resilience and Sustainability Facility and the Food Shock Window.

“It replenished the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, with the capacity to mobilize concessional loans to its poorest members, and co-created the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable.

“It also secured a 50 percent quota increase to bolster the Fund’s permanent resources and agreed to add a third Sub-Saharan African chair to the IMF Board.

“Looking ahead, the Board welcomes Ms. Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of macroeconomic and financial stability, while also ensuring that the Fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire membership.”

The board also acknowledged Georgieva’s focus on strengthening the IMF’s support to its members through effective policy advice, capacity development and financing and pledged to continue to work closely with the managing director.

Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist, has been leading the Bretton Wood organisation since October 1, 2019, when she took over from Christine Lagarde.

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Naira strengthens in parallel market, trades at N1,150/$

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Naira appreciates to N1,419/$ at official market

The naira, on Friday, appreciated to N1,150 per dollar at the parallel section of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

Currency traders in Lagos, also known as bureau de change (BDCs) operators, quoted the buying rate of the greenback at N1,110 and the selling price at N1,150 — leaving a profit margin of N40.

The naira appreciated by 0.86 percent from the N1,160 recorded on April 11.

“The dollar is falling and it is not my fault. It is how the FX market is now,” Lawal, a BDC operator, said.

Also, FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, said the naira rose by 7.16 percent or N88.23 to N1,142.38/$ on Friday — from N1,230.61/$ on Monday.

The appreciation of the naira is coming a few days after the CBN opened the third tranche of sales to BDC operations.

The apex bank began the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators at the rate of N1,101/$ on April 8.

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Electricity tariff will reduce if FX rate drops below N1,000, says Adelabu

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Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power, says the electricity tariff will reduce if the foreign exchange (FX) rate drops below N1,000.

On April 3, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

The regulator had said customers under this category receive over 20 hours of electricity supply daily, and will now pay N225 per kilowatt (kW) from April 3 — up from N66.

Criticising the policy, stakeholders had described the increase as “ill-timed” considering the harsh economic reality in Nigeria.

However, on April 5, Adelabu said the tariff hike only affects 1.5 million customers — out of 12 million.

Speaking on Channels television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday, the minister said by cutting the inefficiencies of some operators in the sector, coupled with the gains by the naira against the dollar, the tariff paid by Nigerians should change positively.

“The tariff is flexible and I can tell you that even if naira gains more and the exchange rate comes down below N1,000, it must positively affect the tariff and the tariff even for the Band A will come down below the N225 kilowatt per hour that we are currently charging,” he said.

“There are variable factors that go into the complication of the tariff and we are not closing our eyes to this.

“We are transparent. We are publishing it and we are talking to Nigerians, the consumers and all the power sector stakeholders.

“This administration is very serious and we are committed to transforming the sector.”

Adelabu also said the government is working tirelessly to ramp up power generation from about 4,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts in the next six months — “for the first time in the country’s history”.

He said 25 percent of Nigeria’s power generation is from hydropower while the remaining 75 percent is from gas plants.

On the Siemens project, Adelabu said the pilot phase is being concluded, which involves the importation of 10 power transformers and 10 mobile substations.

According to the minister, five of the transformers have been installed and commissioned at various locations across the country; while three of the mobile substations have been installed and are ready to be commissioned within the next two weeks.

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