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Zenith Bank named most sustainable bank in Nigeria in the International Banker Awards 2024

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Zenith Bank Plc has been named the “Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria” in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, retaining the title for the second consecutive year.

Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank, Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, said: “We are deeply honoured to be recognised as the Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria for the second time in a row.

This prestigious award underscores our steadfast commitment to sustainability and reinforces our belief that responsible banking is essential for long-term success and societal impact.”

She dedicated the award to the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR. She lauded the Bank’s stakeholders for their commitment and unwavering support in ensuring that Zenith remains a highly successful institution.

She said, “This remarkable achievement is a testament to the visionary and impactful leadership of our Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR. His exceptional foresight and dedication have been the cornerstone of our success.

His ability to inspire and guide with strategic acumen has been instrumental in steering Zenith Bank to new heights. Along with the strategic guidance of our esteemed Board members, the unwavering commitment of our ever-diligent staff, and the steadfast support of our loyal customers, Dr. Ovia’s leadership has been pivotal in transforming our sustainability initiatives into a reality.

We owe this success to his relentless pursuit of excellence and his deep-seated commitment to redefining the banking landscape in Nigeria.”

This recognition reaffirms Zenith Bank’s position as a trailblazer in sustainable banking practices, setting a benchmark for excellence within the Nigerian banking industry and beyond. The Bank has been a leader in monitoring and reporting sustainability impact. Since becoming the first Bank in Africa to publish a stand-alone sustainability report in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core Option in 2016, Zenith Bank has consistently published assured stand-alone sustainability reports. The Bank is one of the few institutions in Nigeria that tracks its carbon emissions using a certified tool built on the internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol.

Zenith Bank is deeply committed to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values, subscribing to the Triple Bottom Line principle, which encompasses People, Planet, and Profit. As a leading financial institution that services various sectors of the economy, the Bank considers Environmental and Social (E&S) risk management critical to its sustainability strategy.

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.

Additionally, 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.

Published by Finance Publishing Limited, the International Banker Magazine, United Kingdom, is a leading global source of authoritative analysis and opinion on banking, finance and world affairs. Its influence, integrity, accuracy and objective opinion have earned it global recognition.

The International Banker Awards strive to recognise the most worthy financial institutions around the world – those not just doing their jobs well but exceptionally well – those operating at the industry’s cutting edge and setting new performance levels to which others will aspire.

The 2024 Banking Awards focused on various criteria, including the provision of much-needed capital for economic growth, cutting-edge innovation to enhance security and efficiency, commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, as well as intelligent investing to maximise profits and shareholder value.

Business

Seven mistakes to avoid when starting online business

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Starting your own online business can be exhilarating, offering endless possibilities for growth and success. However, this path is also filled with challenges and obstacles.

Studies have also shown that 90% of online businesses fail within the first four months of operation. So it is important to navigate this entrepreneurial journey with caution and foresight.

Without further ado, here are common pitfalls to avoid while launching an online business.

  • Not having a clear business plan

Most people might think a business plan is not needed because it is an online business. That is not true. You need a plan for every type of business.

Not just a business plan but a clear and realistic one. Having a clear business plan gives you something to work with as a guide. It tells you what to do, why you’re doing it, how to do it, and when to do what you have to do.

With a business plan in place, it becomes easier and you will not get lost in setting up the business.

However, make the plan flexible and subject to changes just as you adjust your strategies as a newbie. Over time it’ll become well defined.

  • Neglecting market research

One of the most crucial steps in starting an online business is conducting thorough market research.

There are a lot of businesses in the social media space already so if you are not clear about your goals and target audience you might get lost.

So do thorough research to fully understand your target audience, competition, and market trends.

  • Neglecting financial needs

Online business owners might neglect financial plans because they do not need to pay for physical stores.

However, neglecting financial planning can make your business fail faster than expected. So be sure to prepare financial projections for your business, at least for the first 12 months.

You should also identify your business’ major funding sources and ensure there is an alternate source as well.

  • Not seeking help when needed

The earlier you accept you can not do all that is needed to start your business alone, the better.

You are a new entrepreneur so you may lack the expertise in certain areas critical to running a successful online business, such as marketing, finance, or technology. So why not seek help from experts or your older colleagues?

Failing to seek help from experts or mentors with the knowledge and experience can hinder your ability to make informed decisions and overcome challenges effectively.

Remember to network. Talk to people already in the business, attend workshops, and be open to partnerships.

Also, be open to learning. Learn from your initial missteps, and learn from experts and fellow entrepreneurs.

  • Ignoring the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in driving organic traffic to your page and improving your visibility in search engine results.

Many online entrepreneurs just post their products and fail to implement effective strategies to optimize the content.

However, making use of the best SEO practices will improve your visibility in search engine results, online visibility, and potential customer reach.

  • Believing more followers is more sales

When starting your online business, focus on more sales than followers.

Many online business owners focus heavily on getting new followers thinking when they have a large audience, sales will come.

However, having more followers does not mean you get more customers, especially when you do not have any market strategy to attract potential customers.

Instead of spending your time, energy, and money on getting followers, focus on nurturing relationships, boosting engagement with the right audience, and making them want to buy what you sell.

  • Poor customer service

Remember you are an online business owner so you need to make people trust you.

So, provide exceptional customer service that will enhance loyalty. One of the excuses most small business entrepreneurs give is that they are still small so they don’t need any serious customer service. Believing customer service is for bigger businesses.

However, this is a costly online business mistake you should avoid. So, enhance to provide good and seamless customer service if you want your business to be successful.

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Business

NDPC fines four banks, three companies N400m for data violation

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Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) says four banks and three other companies have faced sanctions and incurred fines totalling N400 million for infractions related to breaches of citizens’ data.

Vincent Olatunji, national commissioner of NDPC, made this known on Tuesday while reporting on the one-year implementation of the NDPC Act.

On June 14, 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed the Nigeria data protection bill into law.

In the legislation, the establishment of NDPC to replace the NDPB was introduced.

The commission is expected to protect citizens’ private information and be independent.

According to Olatunji, over the past year, more than 1000 financial institutions, schools, insurance companies, and consultancy firms have undergone investigations for breaches of citizens’ data.

He also said there are ongoing investigations concerning data infractions.

Olatunji also highlighted that the activities of the NDPC have led to increased levels of compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Act in both the private and public sectors.

“When we started, the levels of compliance within the private sector was about 49 percent while the public sector was 4 percent. But today, private sector compliance is above 55, while the public sector has reached 15 percent,” Olatunji said.

“The nation’s data ecosystem is now worth over N10 billion and the commission considers it imperative to ensure that citizens’ data are safe, secure and protected in line with global best standards and practices.”

He further said Nigeria is now at the forefront of the activities of the global data assembly due to the Data Protection Act 2023 and the impact of the data ecosystem on the national economy as nations like Kenya, Ghana, China, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others now share experiences with Nigeria.

“The Data Protection Act 2023 is a major milestone for Nigeria. Mr President laid our apprehension to rest when he signed the Act on June 12, 2023,” he said.

“It was a major turnaround for the industry. Now the data ecosystem is beyond everybody because it is a global phenomenon due to the impact of technology.

“In terms of jobs and wealth creation, promotion of tourism, perception and attraction of foreign direct investments into Nigeria, we have taken a leapfrog and even overtaken some countries.

“And that’s why Nigeria was given the hosting right for 2024 All African Data Protection Commission’s and Institutions. About 30 countries will be here next year for the event.”

NDPC TO COLLABORATE WITH REGULATORS TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH ACT

Olatunji said the NDPC now collaborates with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and other regulatory organisations to make sure stakeholders under their supervision abide by the Data Protection Act.

According to Olatunji, capacity building, awareness raising, and stakeholder engagement have raised the bar for compliance within the ecosystem.

He also said to check the activities of digital loan platforms, the commission collaborated with CBN, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other regulatory authorities.

The national commissioner, however, said awareness would continue to be created for vulnerable Nigerians who become victims of the loan sharks due to ignorance.

Olatunji also said the country’s population and landmass are a challenge to a total clampdown on the digital loan sharks as most of them operate from isolated or remote areas without known addresses.

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FG to give transport unions 50% subsidy on CNG vehicle conversion kits

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The federal government says it will subsidise compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle conversion kits for members of transport unions.

Micheal Oluwagbemi, programme director and chief executive officer of the Presidential Initiative on CNG, said the government has procured over 20,000 conversion kits that will soon be deployed.

He said the conversion incentive programme will start with members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employer Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).

“We are launching what we called the Conversion Incentive Programme with members of the NURTW, RTEAN, and NARTO being our immediate focus,” he said.

“This is because they are the operators in the road transport sector providing 90 per cent of the transportation in the country to members of the public.

Oluwagbemi said the conversion kits will be available to the transport unions at a 50 percent discount, adding that installation cost is free.

“We are already negotiating with our partners who will initiate that project in the next week,” he said.

“We have already identified eight conversion centres in four states, namely Kwara, Lagos FCT, and Rivers that will pilot the programme.”

On his part, Uba Sani, governor of Kaduna, commended the federal government’s initiative to help the union workers switch from petrol-powered vehicles to CNG-powered vehicles.

Sani, who was represented by Ibrahim Hamza, commissioner for works, said transportation is one of the major promoters of socio-economic activities in the state.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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