The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Sierra Leone Limited, a subsidiary of UBA PLC the largest financial services institution in West Africa with a balance sheet in excess of US$ 20 Billion United States Dollars has officially opened their sixth branch in Makeni City.
Addressing guests at the ceremony, the bank’s Managing Director, Ndubuisi Ejiofor gave a background on UBA-SL Limited’s operations in the country which he noted started on 21st July 2008 from their main office location at 15 Charlotte Street. He said the bank started as a full-fledged commercial bank and has extended its services to a number of areas in the country through branches. He said the Makeni branch is significant because of the economic importance of the City and also for the available business opportunities and requests it has been receiving from the bank’s numerous customers in that part of the country.
Ndubuisi Ejiofor said with a distinctive industry brand the bank offers in terms of services a full range of financial services to a clientele that include commercial and consumer banking, institutional banking, corporate finance, retail banking, trade finance and foreign-exchange operations. He revealed that the bank maintains a broad client base of over 28,000 comprising of government parastatals and agencies, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), middle tier to multinational companies and diversified business enterprises.
The Managing Director boasts of achieving major advances in e-banking, network expansion and quality service delivery as they operate on eleven Active Visa Enabled ATMs and a 24/7 online service, which he noted, is the highest deployed by any commercial bank in the country. These according to him have “positively impacted the bank’s financial performance” and with its current drive at corporate transformation,” the bank is strategically positioned to fully leverage new and exciting opportunities in the industry,” he highlighted.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu Kargbo described the UBA initiative to open a branch the North as “a major stride” in achieving government’s aspirations to develop the financial system in that part of the country. He said if Sierra Leone is to grow to the status of middle income country by 2035 as enunciated in the Agenda for Prosperity (AfP) there is every need to build the institutions, infrastructure and human capacity including the financial system to support private sector development.
Momodu Kargbo said the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong with strong growth, declining inflation and interest rates and stable exchange rate which saw the real GDP growth in 2013 recorded 20.1 % from its 15.2% in 2012. He also stated that growth of the non-iron ore economy also remained strong at 5.5% in 2013 which according to him led the IMF Executive Board recently to recognise it as a significant progress at completion of the first review of Enhanced Credit Facility during its meeting on 19th June 2014.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development however acknowledged that there are enormous challenges from economic to social, technological, demographic and environmental megatrends which change societies and substantially impact on people at all levels. He said government has to make further improvement to the business environment, electricity generation to reduce overheads on business and households, construct better roads for speedy access to markets and ensure affordable food items, create more jobs, health and education system
The Director of Banking and Supervision at the Bank of Sierra Leone, Tapsiru Dainkeh on behalf of the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone disclosed that there are presently 13 commercial banks in the country with 96 branches nationwide of which UBA has six, demonstrating an increase in total assets of banking system of recent. He said as at 31st March 2014 there are total assets of banking system of Le. 4.2 trillion of which UBA accounts for 5.4% ranking them in 9th positions out of 13 banks.
By Mohamed Kabba
Monday June 30, 2014