Heritage Bank extends campaign for agric value chain to Lagos-Kano Summit

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Services Provider, has taken its campaign for concerted efforts for the growth of agribusiness and commerce in Nigeria to another level as it wants the bilateral agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States to provide for a Commodity Exchange.
The two states signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on yesterday at the Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit held at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe, Lagos. The goal of the pact was to ensure the collaboration between the two states boost commerce and agribusiness and consequently increase the revenue generation by the states.

Speaking at the event during the plenary session on: Growth & Investment Opportunities in Agribusiness  Value Chain Approach; Olugbenga Awe, Group Head, Agric Financing, Heritage Bank, said there was an urgent need for the establishment of a Commodity Exchange; stating that it would provide the platform necessary for the success of the MoU signed by the states. Awe said if the Exchange was established, it would make future contracts between traders and speculators in both states and others more possible and thereby enhance agribusiness in the country generally. Specifically, he stated that the establishment of a Commodity Exchange would help to put the activities of grain farmers and others in Dawanau market, Kano; and others in the spotlight. According to him, the volume of agribusiness and commerce going on daily in Dawanau market, which is the hub of grains and seeds trading across the world, needs to be complemented by appropriate policies. Based on this, Awe advised the two states to ensure that the MoU they signed captures the establishment of a Commodity Exchange. Doing that, he stated, would make traceability possible for every produce traded on the floor of the exchange unlike now when grains sourced in Kano or Lagos could be sold and consumed in other parts of the country without knowing its source.

Today, goods sourced at Dawanau are, daily, transported to Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Ghana Central African Republic, South Africa, Libya and other African countries. Again, traders from Burma, Dubai, India, China, Britain, America, Saudi and other countries patronize the grains/seeds market for items like Moringa seed and leaf, Sesame seed, Hibiscus flower (Sobo) and other items such as Soya beans, Beans, Cassava, Millet, and Guinea corn without any credit given to their farmers and Nigeria. Awe, therefore, said the Commodity Exchange would help to address issues like that, adding that it would also encourage farmers to put in more efforts in planting more grains.  Similarly, Dr. Sani Hussaini Sagagi, Deputy Country Director, Sasakwa Africa Association, Nigeria; said any country that wants to progress must take cognizance of its population structure when formulating policies. According to him, Africa’s population would increase to 1.4 billion in the next 12 years, while it would be 2.5 billion in 2030. Sagagi warned that over 50% of that would be majorly young men and women who would choose to live in urban areas with the motive of getting white collar jobs. He disclosed that there would be food shortage and climate change, which would cause 50% yield reduction in agribusiness. Sagagi, therefore, said the two state governments must, as from today, begin to put the mechanism in place to address the social menace that would arise because of the surge in populace. He expressed optimism that the agreement signed by Lagos and Kano States would help a lot in finding solace to the possible challenges that would arise in the future.

Also present at the occasion was Richard Sandall, Senior Private Sector Development Adviser, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Sandall identified financing, security and land as some of the challenges militating against smooth agribusiness in Africa. However, he said the DFID was established with the aim of supporting Africa to address issues like that. Sandall stated: Apart from working on alleviating the constraints, DFID also focuses on assisting in formulating appropriate policies that would nip those challenges in the bud.

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L-R: GoodLuck Linda, WOSSA Chief Welfare officer; Helen Unabor, WOSSA Chief Protocol officer; Olawale Osundele, Regional Head, Lagos Island 1, Lagos Island 1 Zone, Heritage Bank; Amb. Tayo Thomas, President of WOSSA; Dame Jennifer Omotayo-Thomas, Vice president, WOSSA and John Adah, Team Member, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, during the award ceremony held in Lagos to mark this year’s International Widows Day themed: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”

PRESS RELEASE

Heritage Bank supports over 500 widows, receives UN Award for Humanitarian Service 

Heritage Bank received the 2022 United Nations Award for Humanitarian Service from the Widows & Orphans Support Society of Nigeria (WOSSA), as no fewer than 500 widows and orphans in Lagos State benefitted from the Bank’s support. 

This was made known during the award ceremony held in Lagos to mark this year’s International Widows Day themed: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.

The event was an opportunity to recognize Heritage Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) roles to widows, their children and other less privileged within the society.

Speaking during the awards presentation, Founder, Widows & Orphans Support Society of Nigeria (WOSSA), Ambassador Tayo Thomas, said Heritage Bank is one of the group’s key partners and has for years shown massive support to the widows. 

He said: ” Basically, we are giving this award to people and organizations that have been supporting the less privileged widows. These are our partners, they have been doing great service to humanity, especially service the less privileged widows in meeting their financial needs and those of their children”. 

Continuing, he said: “The United Nations Humanitarian Award is to appreciate and acknowledge them for their support to the less privileged widows. The United Nations Humanitarian Award is an award we give every 24th of June to those who have really supported the widows. Those who have joined us to fight against injustice against the widows. That is the reason for today”. 

Speaking at the event, Heritage Bank Regional Head, Lagos Island 1, Olawale Osundele, said the bank has for years, remained committed to improving people’s lives. 

He said: “It has always been one of our front liners to always improve the quality of people’s lives right from childhood. And today that they are marking the International Widow’s Day, we are also part of the support team to WOSSA in various aspects.”

“We have been supporting them in terms of providing quality education for children of widows to ensure that life after the death of their husband is still good to them and their children. We also support the children and orphans and the less privileged in the society,” he added.

According to Osundele, the bank’s support to the widows has always been a source of joy to them.  “It means that life still means a lot to them. You can see the joy in their faces. Despite what they are going through, they are still very happy and relevant in society,” he said. 

One of the widows at the event, Mrs. Felicia Ugwunwanne thanked Heritage Bank and WOSSA for their continuous support to the widows and less privileged. 

She said that WOSSA is through the support of partners such as Heritage Bank, making life better for the widows and their children. 

“The WOSSA has for years, been assisting so many of us, including our children and orphanages. WOSSA gives us cash, help some widows to pay their house rent, school fees for widows’ children, among other things,” she said.

Ugwunwanne said the widows under WOSSA are being trained for skills acquisition to improve the quality of their lives.

“I am aware that the WOSSA is working on securing loans from Microfinance Bank, and we have completed forms to achieve the purpose. Our members are prepared to access the loans. Some of the widows have gone to learn some skills that will enable them to invest and succeed in whatever craft or business they are doing so that they will not continue to depend on people,” she said. //END.//

Ozena Utulu, Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications