Nigeria’s leading pan-African bank, the United Bank for Africa Plc, has posted impressive returns on investment (ROI) during its virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

The online meeting, which had in attendance shareholders, management and staff members, together with representatives of relevant regulatory bodies, was held using an Online Meetings Platform, in accordance with Guidelines issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

In his opening speech, UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, noted that it was a very special meeting held under extraordinary circumstances.

According to him, it was only right at the outset to express the group’s deep appreciation to all the health workers across Africa, who were at the frontline of the fight aginst the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by the bank on Wednesday, the Group Chairman commended the Federal and State governments in Nigeria and governments across Africa, for their rapid action against the threat.

He commended the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, for his various initiatives in mobilising the private sector to provide support, medical care and palliatives to reduce the effect of the scourge on citizens.

He said: “Our commitment to improving lives in Africa is a long-term one, which we do not take lightly, as we assist governments in Africa to curb this pandemic and help sustain employment across the continent. I want to also thank the UBA Board of Directors, who have been responsive in this time of crisis, as the Group donates $14m to assist governments to fight the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria and Africa.”

He thanked the executive management and members of staff of UBA as he assured shareholders, that despite the pandemic, the bank delivered an impressive performance in its just released first quarter results. He also noted that the Group was well prepared for the crisis, having put in place effective measures to ensure that its operations continue smoothly.

The Group Chairman underlined the fact that the Group’s exposure to the oil and gas sector was well within prudential guidelines. Shareholders at the meeting commended the Board of Directors and management for the proactive role that the Group had been playing in helping to lessen the negative effects of the Coronavirus pandemic across the African continent and its robust financial performance, despite a difficult macroeconomic outlook.

UBA Shareholder and President of Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigeria Shareholders, Dr Umar Farouk applauded the Group for the contribution of N5bn (USD14 million) to the fight against Covid19, adding that the move was unprecedented and would substantially support governments, as they worked to tame the scourge.

He also hailed the 20 per cent increase in dividends that the Bank proposed to pay to shareholders, saying, “I am also happy that you fulfilled the promise you made at the AGM last year to pay dividends in Naira and not kobo, by paying N1 per 50 kobo shares to shareholders, in this difficult time. We have seen the first quarter results, and we are particularly happy about the performance of our subsidiaries across Africa.”

Detailing how UBA has reacted effectively during the pandemic, the GMD, Kennedy Uzoka, said, “As you know, UBA is a learning organisation, we are not a Nigerian bank, but a pan-African Bank operating in 20 African countries and also in the UK, the USA and France. When we learnt about this pandemic, we immediately activated our business continuity plan.

“We are set to take our business to the customers wherever they are and however they want it. As our first quarter results indicate, we can produce robust results, despite the challenges. We are buoyed by our significant geographic diversification, our historic investment in efficiency and the dedication of our staff. Our commitment to our loyal shareholders is amply demonstrated in our progressive dividend policy,”

“All the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology will begin to yield now, because already we have continued to meet the needs of customers in terms of digital patronage, owing to the growing traffic we have been receiving in the past few weeks. We are well prepared for all situations.”

While expressing hope that a vaccine is found for the coronavirus, Uzoka disclosed that UBA would continually do business in a way to ensure that customers do not have to physically be in the bank, he said.

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