UBA commits $700m to power sector

UBA30  January 2013, Lagos – United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) said it supported the recent privatisation of the power sector with $700 million (N113 billion) thorough funding to different investors. A statement from the bank quoted its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, to have made this remark while speaking at the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. “It is a growth sector we are playing very big,” the UBA boss said. Besides power, he said UBA had also extended significant support to the telecommunications sector in Nigeria, where the bank has taken part in most of the major big ticket transactions. On the bank’s lending to the agriculture, Oduoza said: “UBA has a deliberate policy to continue to fund agriculture. Our lending to the sector is already above the industry average. We are doing about seven per cent of our total portfolio in agriculture.” He noted that banking sector lending to agriculture was on an upward trend, disclosing that banking sector funding to agriculture had moved from about 0.5 per cent of total industry portfolio prior to 2009 to about 4.9 per cent of banking industry loan book currently. “Interestingly, the non-performing loans coming from agriculture lending is lower than most people would have thought,” he added. Oduoza also explained that UBA was expanding its electronic banking products to improve the way it serves its customers. He said that the bank had also rolled out an array of electronic banking products such as cards, point of sale terminals. Speaking on the bank’s operations across Africa, Oduoza disclosed that UBA currently operates in 19 African countries “and these are the very strong economies that we have in Africa and all of them are doing very well.” He disclosed that 14 out of the 18 country subsidiaries of the UBA Group across Africa have started returning profits. He however explained that Nigeria still remains the dominant contributor to the UBA Group’s bottom line making up an average of 75 per cent of the Group’s balance sheet while the rest of Africa contributes 25 per cent. Oduoza, however projected that in about five years, the UBA Group’s 18 African subsidiaries would be contributing about 50 per cent of the Group’s balance sheet.   = Obinna Chima, This Day

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