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Squad by GTCO: Reshaping the Nigerian Payment Space

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Squad by GTCO: Reshaping the Nigerian Payment Space

Fragmentation in the Nigerian payment space has served more as a constraint than an enabler; Squad by GTCO positions to lead with innovation and efficiency  

Without a doubt, digital payment is the next growth frontier for financial services. Amongst other extenuating factors, growing digitalisation, mobile penetration, and evolving consumer behaviour have accelerated the shift towards cashless thereby creating entirely new business models and solutions built around payments.

 

Given the key role digitalisation plays in the financial lives of many people today, electronic payments are at the core of the payment ecosystem. As is the case with all things economic, Nigeria remains a most attractive market. Over the past years, we have seen largely foreign investors make a play to participate in the Nigerian technology and financial sector with considerable investments in FINTECH companies creating so-called “unicorns” of these establishments. This is helping to generate needed cohesion within the payment landscape and putting it at the forefront of innovation. The gains from the payment sector will serve to spur the global remittance industry as well as enhance financial inclusion. Increasingly, it is expected that newer, more efficient form factors and product offerings will look to enhance the digital payment experience for consumers and merchants alike.

 

Despite this trend, a more critical assessment of the payment industry shows that existing FINTECHs are merely scratching the surface of the payment landscape and its massive potential for financial inclusion. If anything, the fragmentation of the merchant-facing payments value chain has served to dampen the massive prospects of this sector. Available research point to the fact that asides security and privacy concerns, a major challenge presently facing the mobile payment ecosystem is the high level of market fragmentation as seen in multiplicity of platforms and the different service configurations on offer. With consumer adoption stalling, mobile payments still represent a small portion of total consumer payments. The complexities around payments and the rapid evolution of merchant services require a re-evaluation of business focus and value propositions.

 

In comes Squad by GTCO 

 

It is against this backdrop that the launch of Squad, a full-service digital payment company conceived by Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc), is a most welcome development. For one thing, GTCO Plc is renowned for its strong corporate governance culture, bias for innovation and superior financial performance. Few financial institutions in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, can boast of GTCO’s impressive credentials. From its humble beginnings in 1990 as a pureplay banking institution, the company has morphed into a fully-fledged financial services powerhouse in a little over three decades. Underpinning this remarkably successful transformation is GTCO’s rich history of firsts: from pioneering industry-wide innovations in Online/Mobile Banking, USSD Banking, Instant Card issuance, and Fingerprint Banking to creating free business platforms to support small and medium-sized business owners in the food and fashion industries and revolutionising consumer lending with QuickCredit, GTCO has differentiated itself from other financial institutions by a mile.

 

With the launch of Squad, GTCO Plc aims to deploy its trademark efficient operations and innovative capacity to drive adoption in payment services and enhance financial inclusion. With the overarching goal to be the most efficient off-line and online merchant acquiring platform in all of Africa, Squad is well positioned to serve four important enterprise verticals namely: micro- businesses (kiosks), online sellers, digital natives, and corporates.

 

Reinventing the in-store payment experience, no longer limited to POS 

 

Squad’s top offerings will include a payment gateway and the Soft POS. While most are familiar with the functionalities of payment gateways, the Soft POS solution is as cutting-edge as it is simple-to-use.

 

The Soft POS is a multiform-factor white-label solution that enables a smartphone to function as a merchant acceptance device. Essentially, the Soft POS allows any mobile phone with the NFC feature to be used as a point-of-sale. While this service is enjoying growing acceptance and use in other parts of the world like America, Europe, and Asia, Squad will be amongst the very first financial payments service in Africa to introduce this unique payment functionality. Merchants who have traditionally accepted cash payments or struggled with the sub-optimal nature of physical POS terminals, now have a simpler and more secure way to manage their transactions.

 

The solution effectively addresses the needs of micro and small businesses as it provides a cost-efficient card acceptance solution as well as complete visibility of merchant transactions making reconciliation and decision making faster and easier. With Soft POS, the consumer experience is elevated as it facilitates line-busting to streamline check out queues and eliminates friction. How does the Soft POS work? Quite simple and fast. Sellers can start accepting contactless payments in just few minutes by downloading the app from Google Play Store and completing the registration process.

 

Squad would also be offering other high-impact, value-adding services to merchants and corporates in various sectors of the economy to enhance their business operations and propel wide-scale growth.

 

What makes Squad unique? 

 

As the name suggests, Squad denotes the power of a TEAM. The team at Squad is peopled by young, dynamic professionals who have imbibed GTCO Plc’s culture of innovation and efficiency to power next-generation payment solutions. If GTCO’s track-record of trailblazing achievements is anything to go by, Squad will in no time set the marker for merchant and customer fulfillment in payments. Squad is backed by a successful ‘Proudly African, Truly International” brand in GTCO Plc and is run by well-trained, digital-savvy minds with a keen understanding of market needs and trends. This is markedly different from what currently obtains where one or two founders set up and struggle to balance vision with ambition, and ultimately, falter off-course.

 

With no less a visionary than Segun Agbaje leading the Holding Company, we can be sure that values like transparency and integrity, which have become synonymous with the Guaranty Trust brand, will come on to define the payment space resulting in more clarity of purpose and extensive trust in the reliability of digital solutions. In a recent forum to review GTCO Plc’s prior year financial statements and projections for the 2022 financial year, Mr. Agbaje pledged to disclose the performance of the Group’s new businesses on a quarterly basis. This is a rarity in today’s clime. It is exactly what one would expect from a brand looking to champion Africa’s growth as it serves to enhance competitiveness and value creation for all stakeholders. You would recall that the Group recently started Guaranty Trust Fund Managers Ltd and Guaranty Trust Pension Managers Ltd to compete in the Asset Management and Pension sectors. These, alongside the new payment company, will certainly add to the viability of GTCO Plc long-term.

 

The future of payments is digital   

 

To reference one of Segun Agbaje’s seminal submissions, ‘the future of payments is digital.’ The launch of Squad is timeous if Nigeria, and indeed Africa, must ride the wave of continued cash displacement and go on to drive digital payment adoption and financial inclusion. And, if there is a question of how to radically transform Africa’s payment space, Squad is the answer.

 

 Culled from Proshare 

I am Paschal Ogechi Obi Chikero . I have written and published three books , I wrote Festus Keyamo's biography- Lion In Isolation .I have been a Reality TV show Producer/Creator, an Actor and Film Script Writer.

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Alleged N23bn fraud rocks MTN’s MoMo PSB, one month after launch

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Alleged N23bn fraud rocks MTN’s MoMo PSB, one month after launch

Momo Payment Service Bank Limited (MPSBL), the banking subsidiary of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, is currently enmeshed in an alleged N23 billion fraud scandal, one month after the launch of the platform.

The mobile money banking firm has urged the Federal High Court to compel 18 commercial banks to refund the said fund which was transferred to their customers.

The money, MPSBL said, was erroneously and fraudulently transferred in 700,000 transactions into about 8,000 accounts belonging to the customers

The subsidiary also urged the court to order the banks to provide information about the customers into whose accounts the funds were mistakenly paid.

The requests form part of the reliefs in a suit filed by MPSBL through its lawyer, Lotana Okoli (SAN).

READ : MTN Nigeria’s Chief Risk Officer, Cyril Ilok resigns after s*xual abuse allegations

MPSBL averred that under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Regulation on Instant (Inter-Bank) Electronic Funds Transfer Services, made pursuant to sections 2(D), 33(1)6) and 47(2) of the CBN Act 2007,it is incumbent on the banks to make refunds and provide the required information.

MPSBL’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anthony Usoro Anthony said in a supporting affidavit that his bank suffered “a system exploitation” on May 24, 2022, during which 700,000 transactions were processed with credits being made into about 8,000 accounts in the 18 banks being requested to make the refunds.

Anthony averred that upon becoming aware of the incident, MPSBL’s management shut down the service to limit the impact and triggered engagements with the defendants (the 18 banks) through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for the commencement of recovery activities from the accounts of the various beneficiaries in the various banks.

He added: “We were able, through system checks, to confirm the banks and accounts into which the various sums of money were transferred into.

“We were also able to confirm how much was paid into each bank account in total. The said list of accounts which received the funds was made available to the respective banks as a preliminary step to mitigate the applicant’s losses.

“The transfers were due to the fact that the plaintiff suffered a system exploitation which led to the said debits.

“There is no transaction between the plaintiff and the recipient account holders that warranted the transfer of the funds to those account,” he said.

Anthony added that his organisation’s resort to the court was informed by the banks’ insistence that they needed to be ordered by the court before they could act.

The MPSBL CEO stated that the organisation was “carrying out investigations internally and externally to ascertain the actual cause of the debits”.

He added: “The defendant banks have requested an order of court mandating the defendant banks to reverse the credits made into their customers’ accounts before the defendants can do so. “

“The plaintiff is entitled to a return of its money and has demanded the return of the money into its settlement account in the name MOMO PSB settlement account number: 2041379385 held in First Bank Plc, Samuel Asabia House, 35 Marina, Lagos.

“It is the understanding of the plaintiff that prior to the defendant banks being informed of the fact that the credits into their customer accounts were unauthorised that some withdrawal transactions had already been carried out by some of the customers.

“This has necessitated the application for information regarding these customers and the banks and accounts to which they transferred the said funds in order to enable the plaintiff to trace the funds to those banks.

“By virtue of the provisions of the CBN Regulation on Instant (Inter-Bank) Electronic Funds Transfer Services, made pursuant to sections 2(D), 33(1)6) And 47(2) of the CBN Act 2007 the plaintiff is entitled to a return of its money and the provision of the information which it requires from the defendants.

“The plaintiff is also entitled to the support of the defendants in the recovery of any sums which have been removed from the customer accounts in the defendant banks the reliefs it is aiming in this action.”

The plaintiff is praying the court for the following reliefs:

* A declaration that the deposits of an aggregate sum of N22,300,000,000.00 erroneously transferred by the plaintiff to the accounts of the customers of the defendant banks, having been done in error, belong to the plaintiff and not the customers of the defendant banks.

* An order directing the defendant banks to each, individually, account for the sums available in their customers’ accounts and the sums which have been removed by the customers and are no longer available.

* An order directing the defendants banks to immediately return the aggregate sum of N22,300,000,000.00, less those funds that are no longer available, to the plaintiffs settlement account in the name MOMO PSB settlement account number: 2041379385 at First Bank Plc Samuel Asabia House 35 Marina, Lagos, from where the funds originated.

* An order directing the defendant banks to release all information, including account name information in respect of the accounts from which the plaintiff’s funds have been transferred to third parties, including the destination accounts and the banks in which they are held to assist in the tracing and recovery of those funds.

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Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

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Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

Leading Cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, on Wednesday launched the Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School in a move aimed at inculcating safe driving culture in its drivers so as to stem the tide of road crashes.

The opening of the school in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Company management reasoned, would also make the drivers become better road users.

The Academy, which was officially commissioned by Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, was characterized as historic and unique.

The new Academy for truck drivers, according to the Corps Marshal, is a significant step forward that will benefit not only the Dangote Group but Nigeria as a whole.

The country’s top road safety official hailed Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, for taking “a big step” towards reducing truck accidents.

He said: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. You made it. I have observed that Dangote has done a lot to address truck crashes and I must commend them for this.”

He extolled the conglomerate for leading other companies on this path, saying the new school will play a key part in the country’s efforts to make roads safer.

He said he had suggested such a school long ago, adding that he is happy that the school has come to fruition.

In his remarks, the National Director, Logistics of the Dangote Cement (Transport section) Mr. Juan Carlos Rincon, said the new school is an expression of the determination of the company to bring to halt the incidences of auto crash in the country.

Speaking also Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Bugaje who was represented by Engr S.M. Yusuf, said the NBTE will partner with the Dangote Cement Plc for a successful accreditation and takeoff of the new school.

In his remarks, the Bajana of Obajana HRH Oba Idowu Isenibi said he was optimistic that the school will help address auto crashes in the country, even as he described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a “rescuer and God sent to their communities that should be emulated by other investors in the country.

Speaking in the same vein, the Olu of Akpata Oba Frederick Balogun urged other investors to emulate the company.

Both the Dangote Cement Transport and the FRSC signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on how to cooperate to ensure that the school is a success.

In the same vein, Dangote Cement organized thorough block molding training for block makers in both Kano and Katstina states respectively. This, according to the company is to ensure that the blocks moulded for building constructions are strong, reliable, and durable, noting that some block makers do not really know how to make strong and reliable blocks.

The Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Johnson Olaniyi, said the workshop would give the block molders and allied product manufacturers the opportunity to once again build capacity and adhere to global best practices.

Mr. Olaniyi said the Dangote Cement Plc is desirous of reversing the trend of collapse building through the capacity building of block manufacturers.

Meanwhile, government representatives, quality regulators, cement dealers, block makers, and end-users have come to an accord that Africa’s cement giant produces the best quality of cement on the continent.

The stakeholders who attended the meeting also said the ongoing nationwide workshop and sensitization of block manufacturers will help check the menace of collapsed buildings in the country.

Speaking at the workshop in Kano, representatives of the Kano State Government Alhaji Muhammad Garba Kwall said that Dangote Cement Plc is not only the biggest company but produces the best quality in Africa.

He described the company as socially responsible and that’s why it is giving back to society through the sensitization workshop and creating various platforms for educating end users to mitigate the incessant incidences of collapse building in the country.

Speaking, Regional Director, Kano Directorate, Standard Organization of Nigeria(SON), Mr. Albert Wilberforce urged block molders to patronize the quality cement produced by the Dangote Cement Plc, adding that the SON was partnering with the company and ensuring that only quality cement are produced by the company.

In the same vein, The Kano State Coordinator (II) of SON Engr Hauwa M. Husseini urged the block moulders to comply with standard practice in order to prevent the menace of collapse buildings in the country.

Speaking also, Regional Sales Director for Northwest  Aliyu Dan Aliyu urged participants to be ambassadors by telling their customers about the quality of the cement.

He said: A customer who wants to build a house, doesn’t know the quality or type of cement to use. It is the responsibility of the builder to advise him on the desired cement to use for quality building.

Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Restates Commitment to FG’s Backward Integration policy …Rewards Shareholders with N12.147bn Dividend

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Restates Commitment to FG’s Backward Integration policy ...Rewards Shareholders with N12.147bn Dividend

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has restated its commitment to the achievement of Sugar Backward integration projects, describing it as the best thing that happened to the sector.

Speaking to shareholders at the 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Dangote Sugar Plc, in Lagos the Chairman of the Company, Aliko Dangote, said that despite the harsh operating environment, the board and management were not deterred in the pursuit of sustainable growth for the company and demonstrated resilience by continued implementation of its strategic objectives during the year, 2021.

The dividend pay-out of N12.147 billion for the year was unanimously approved by the shareholders.  The dividend represents N1.00 per share.

The Company under review posted a Group turnover of N276 billion, being 29 percent increase over N214 billion in the comparative year. Profit before tax of N34.021 billion, profit after tax of N22.052 billion. Group EBITDA decreased to N46.5 billion with an EBITDA margin of 18 percent.

According to Dangote, the Company’s performance during the year under review is commendable amidst the challenges and the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities. “We furthered the implementation of process optimisation, cost savings, and product promotion strategies with the launch of our new brand identity and the pursuit of the Dangote Sugar Backward integration master plan”

He further stated that the Board and Management will continue to implement strategic actions to sustain and surpass this performance while engaging with all stakeholders in the sector and its communities to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the Company.

On the company’s backward integration project, Dangote chairman emphasised that the goal of Dangote Sugar Backward Integration Projects Master plan remains the achievement of 1.5 million MT annually from locally grown sugar cane in support of the quest for sugar sufficiency in the country by the federal government.

He added that this will be achieved in addition to the extended value chain benefits that will be derived from the projects including thousands of jobs that will be generated in the sector from these projects.

He pointed out that despite the challenges faced in the year 2021, Dangote Sugar Numan Operations rehabilitation and expansion efforts of the factory and field are advancing, saying “The community tissues that came up were effectively managed, and we have continued to advance so far without any major disruptions.”

He also noted that “In 2021, our commitment to building a sustainable business remained on track with the principles of good corporate governance. We imbibed best practices, environmental and impact management in the day-today running of our business.”

He assured of the company’s commitment to the achievement of Sugar Backward integration projects, which is the future of the industry in Nigeria, saying this will keep us on our sustained growth path and we will continue to deliver and improve our quality service while delivering value to all stakeholders.

Also, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of Dangote Sugar, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi said that “We remained ahead of the pack in implementation of the National Sugar backward Integration Development Master Plan.”

He however said that the situation at the Lau/Tau project is still the same, “we continue to remain hopeful that the Taraba State government will resolve the lingering issues with the communities, while we focus on the development of other brown and green field project sites…Steady progress is now being made as we continue the rehabilitation and expansion project at Dangote Sugar, Numan, and development activities at the Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited, Tunga.”

Singhvi stated that the Company remains resolute and committed to ensuring a sustainable future for its business while assuring the shareholders of better days ahead.

The shareholders commended the Company’s performance for the year under review. A shareholder, Mrs. Bisi Bakare, commended the company for the food fortification award received for the year under review and the bountiful dividend paid.

Another shareholder, Mr Patrick Ajudua, also expressed satisfaction with dividends declared particularly at a time like this with the various environmental operating challenges.

He charged the management to improve upon the capacity utilisation of the plant to be better positioned to meet local and export needs.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:

dangote

L-R: Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; and Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

L-R: Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Temitope Hassan; Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; and Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

L-R: Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Abdu Dantata; Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Temitope Hassan; Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Ravindra Singhvi; Non-Executive Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Olakunle Alake, at the 16th Annual General Meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc held in Lagos on June 15, 2022

 

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