UBA commits N113bn to power sector privatisation

By The Rainbow
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The Managing Director/CEO of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Mr. Phillips Oduoza, said the bank hasĀ  committed the sum of N113 billion (US$700 million) to support investors seeking to acquire assets in the newly-privatised power sector of the economy.

Oduzua, who affirmed that power is a growth sector where the bank 'plays very big', said the bank was also heavily involved in the telecommunication industry where it has taken part in most of the major big ticket transactions.

The managing director, who spoke on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, last week, also said the bank has continued to channel resources to the sector, given that it remains the mainstay of most economies in Africa.

'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 percent of our total portfolio in agriculture,' he said.

He disclosed that banking sector funding to agriculture has risen from just about 0.5 percent of total industry portfolio prior to 2009 to about 4.9 percent of banking industry loan book currently.

'Interestingly, the non-performing loans coming from agriculture lending is lower than most people would have thought,' the Oduoza also explained.

He said 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, which is helping to reduce the cost to income ratio of the bank while making a positive impact on the bottom line.

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 percent of the Group's balance sheet, while the rest of Africa contributes 25 percent.