UBA supports power sector privatization with US$700 million funding

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United
Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) has extended US$700 million (N113 billion) in funding
to different investors towards the acquisition of power assets in Nigeria’s recently
privatized power sector. Phillips Oduoza, Group Managing Director and Chief
Executive Officer (CEO), UBA Plc, said this while speaking on the sidelines of
the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, last week.
Phillips Oduoza, GMD/CEO, UBA Plc
“It
is a growth sector and we are playing very big there. We see it as a major
growth area” said Oduoza.
Besides
power, he said UBA is also bullish on Nigeria’s telecommunications sector where
the bank has taken part in most of the major big ticket transactions.  
Oduoza
identified Agriculture as another growth sector that the bank is bullish about.
“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 7% of our total
portfolio in a
griculture”
He
commended the fact that lending to agriculture is generally on the upward trend
from Nigerian banks, disclosing that banking sector funding to the agriculture
sector has moved from just about 0.5% of total industry portfolio prior to 2009
to about 4.9% of banking industry loan book currently.
“Interestingly,
the non-performing loans coming from agricultural lending is lower than most
people would have thought.”
Oduoza
also explained that UBA is expanding its electronic banking products to improve
the way it serves its more than seven million customers. He said that the bank
has rolled out an array of electronic banking products, from cards to point of
sale terminals and which is helping to reduce the cost to income ratio of the
bank while making a positive impact on the bottom line.
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%
of the Group’s balance sheet while the rest of Africa contributes 25%.
Oduoza
however projects that in about five years, the UBA Group’s 18 African
subsidiaries are expected to be contributing about 50% of the Group’s balance
sheet.
On
the forthcoming World Economic Forum, Africa, to be held in Abuja, Oduoza said
that the bank is optimistic and looking forward to the event.
“It will enable the country create
awareness about the opportunities that exist in Nigeria. Nigeria is a very big
market, the population is very large. Beyond oil, the economy has started
seeing some form of diversification which the outside world does not know. We
are going to use this opportunity to showcase all these new sectors”

Oduoza was at the WEF, Davos to join
more than 2500 leaders of companies, institutions and governments to discuss
issues arising from the reshaping of the world and how that is expected to
impact on society, politics and business with special emphasis on economic,
social, financial, environmental and technological trends.

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