February 24, 2024

FCMB: Thinking People, Building The Nation?

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By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.

People thinking, nation focused banking system should preceed human capital development and national evolution for their sustainability.

When the chips are down, nations are made of her individual citizens!

The first step forward in the rebuilding of modern Israel was taken in 1902, 54 years before the return of Jews back to Israel, when Leumi bank was formed in the UK by the Jews in exile to fund the nation they envisioned.

The vision of Leumi inchoated the building of modern Israel. The word “Leumi” in Hebrew is from its root word meaning nation, in linear translation it will equate the word national!

Being Apocryphal is the responsibility of every Nigerian at this time!
We can’t build anything national if we don’t have a nation! There was National Bank of Nigeria, it failed because it wasn’t rooted in a nation! Past governments have failed trying to build a national vision on the foundation of a country!
No matter the development plan and the ingenuity of this government, it will fail like others before it, if he (TINUBU) can’t help the country to find nationhood! Its absence is the reason refineries failed and couldn’t be turned around either. That is what we must begin to build! And its cornerstone must be; justice, equity, morality and spirituality.

My recent visit to Israel revealed a mandatory policy of government for households to generate energy for water heating through clean energy!

The greatest need of Africa and countries that makes her is Vision!

AU and all her nations may have a statement they called vision but our existential reality proves the absence of it! Our zig-zag policy and back and forth movement states the obvious; lack of vision, inconsistency in planning and focused implementation! APC led Tinubu Administration is already dismantling Buhari led APC administrative gain!

How do you build a nation with this attitude of successive governments?

The best bank in name against the background of my Pan-Africanism is United Bank For Africa. How Africans’ centred-thinking and our continent focused is the bank in policies and operation?

Personal relationships between Tony Elumelu and Bola Ahmed Tinubu set the internet agog recently with the “last man standing” greeting of the host, to which the visitor responded, “I am still standing”, but if that is where it will end, then most unfortunate!

Tinubu led Administration should implement its policies through strategic engagements of all relevant sectors. What role can the bank play at eradicating poverty, creating wealth by empowering individuals and small scale industries productivity?

Banks are of course in the space for profit and that we must not deny them!

However, this can be regulated to the minimal against their capitalist drive!

Failure of many intervention programmes in the past is due to ill intentions and structuring them through government ministries and agencies!

Traders money or Kia Kia was conceived to buy votes, though structured for disbursement through Sterling Bank, it was to public knowledge that the owner of the money was the government who was failing in its responsibilities, but who in desperation to win election remembered the people!

Going forward, projects that will bail people out of poverty and empower them to contribute to our economic growth shouldn’t be selective of bank for political reasons at implementing such! Rather, capitalization, creditability and liquidity management!

Business is business and Government must be business-minded when in partnership with the business community for its policy implementation!

The step taken by FCMB is commendable, though it must have been informed by the quest for market edge. This government should engage this idea and build a conglomerate of banks around it with FCMB, going forward.

Can we, as a nation make water heating energy the business of every building in our country? Thereby, limiting the use of energy generation by Power Generating Company of Nigeria to industries and light usages in homes!

In a one solution solving multiple problems approach, FCMB are out in the market offering N10 million clean energy loan to households and small businesses. According to a news monitored online, Nigerian households and small businesses looking to acquire solar panels, batteries, inverters, and other green energy equipment now have access to as much as N10 million to buy these assets through the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Energy Finance Loan. The loan is designed to help homes and small businesses like hospitals, schools, restaurants, bars, stores, hotels, and fashion places keep life and work going by using clean energy!

Commenting on the Energy Loan product, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs. Yemisi Edun, described it as “another bold intervention by the lender to unlock the potentials of the renewable and clean energy sector, provide reliefs to Nigerians, and encourage clean energy.”
She said: “Access to energy drives economic growth and development. The FCMB Energy Finance offering is a reaffirmation of our commitment to eco-friendly energy finance to fight climate change, drive the growth of businesses, improve the quality of life, and accelerate development through environmentally sustainable energy solutions.”

We will all agree that with the removal of the petrol subsidy, more Nigerians are focusing on alternative energy sources to power their homes and businesses, only recently we have seen the ingenious resort by some Nigerians to run their generators and even cars using LPG. Also, Nigeria’s indigenous auto manufacturing company, Innoson Motors has also moved to produce gas powered vehicles using LNG and CNG due to high cost of normal gas and fuel.

“We will continue to scale up our support to individuals and businesses to enable the country to take full advantage of the opportunities in these areas for the overall benefit of humanity,’’ she added.

Though, the Bank must have thought this up for profit, the relevance of the product at solving, energy and environmental problems is one reason this must draw the interest of Government!

The product has the potentials to up productivity of small businesses, consequently increasing tax and employment!

The Bank upgraded the product to lessen the impact of reduced subsidies on traditional fossil fuels, which has caused a rise in petrol prices across the country, given the pervasive use of small gasoline generators to power households and small businesses.
In his comment, the Group Head of Business Banking at FCMB, Mr. George Ogbonnaya, said:

“We understand the challenges individuals and businesses face in securing funding to provide clean and sustainable power. The FCMB Energy Finance loan is structured to eliminate these challenges. It is a flexible facility with two to seven years of repayment options at competitive interest rates. We urge Nigerians, especially small business owners, to take advantage of this opportunity to reduce energy costs for their homes and businesses.’’.
Applauding the product, the President of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ayo Ademilua, said:
“The energy finance loan is innovative and coming at the right time when the market needs alternative energy solutions mostly due to PMS price increase”.

Speaking on carbon financing, the CEO of Consistent Energy Limited, Dr. Segun Adaju, said:
“The 2023 Electricity Act promotes private-public sector partnerships, allowing private companies to participate in the renewable energy space and catalyze investments through carbon trading. The carbon trading market has become attractive, and more parties are beginning to promote carbon trading in Africa following the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) established in 2022 to unlock the potentials of voluntary carbon markets for financing Africa’s energy, climate, and development goals.

It is heartwarming that FCMB has keyed into this by providing a platform through the FCMB Energy Finance Loan product to provide the much-needed funding to Nigerians to acquire affordable clean energy sources’’.

FCMB has taken the lead in deepening the renewable energy space through a three-pronged approach: capacity building, providing access to funding, and opportunities to connect renewable energy developers with end-users!

The 2023 Electricity Act, promotes private public partnerships. The Act must become the action of the government at supplying the energy needs of the Country by encouraging the provisions of renewable energy by the private sector.

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder, Convener Apostolic Round Table, ART. Also the BOT Chairman Project Victory Call Initiative, AKA, PVC-Naija.
bolajiakinyemi66@gmail.com
08033041236.

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