Tier one lender, Access Bank and Diamond Bank, yesterday, gave an update on its merger plans as well as key issues pertaining to the individual banks. The banks disclosed this during a press briefing held yesterday.
Present at the event were Victor Etuokwu (Executive Director, Personal Banking at Access Bank), Robert Giles (Head, Retail Diamond Bank), Chioma Afe (Head, Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank), and Amaechi Michael Okobi (Head, Corporate Communications, Access Bank).
Etuokwu outlined the progress made so far and steps left
Progress so far
“So far, we have gotten approvals up to approval in principle. There are three approvals that we need for this process. The first one is the premerger approval which is like the first approval. The next approval is the approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which is the approval in principle. The final approval comes after that. The final approval comes after you have convened your shareholders meetings.”
The next steps
“Based on our receipt of the CBN approval in principle, we are going to convene the shareholder meetings in February. Once that meeting holds, and shareholders endorse the transaction, all we will do is to take that approval of shareholders to the courts. Once the court approves it, it becomes a part of the laws of the land. What we will do is to go and gazette it.
“Based on that, we get the final approval from the CBN and SEC. All these things will happen in the next 60 days. Hopefully that process will end by the end of this quarter.
Respective banking apps will be maintained
In response to a question from Nairametrics regarding the continued use of the Diamond Bank app, Etoukwu and Charles maintained the two apps would run side by side.
“The guiding principle with this integration planning is customer focus. Whatever thrills the customer. Whatever the customer loves in both brands, we want to retain as is. We have known that the Diamond mobile app is a market leader, and we will leave it that way.”
“We have been around the country since we announced this, and this kept coming up time and time again. Both Hebert and Uzoma have clearly said (Diamond Mobile App, you will not see a change when the legal merger happens. Anything we will do, will only be to enhance.”
David also stated that other beloved products such as Diamond Extra, and Diamond Exclusive Plus would not be changed.
Peace with Carlyle Group
Etoukwu also stated that the Carlyle Group was okay with the merger, without which it would not have gone through.
“Staff will be retrained for new roles. Where there are overlaps, one of the branches can be converted to an e-branch or atm gallery.
“We are not about to make certain mistakes that we have done from the past. You will see some branches next door for the next year. Nothing will happen. We want customers to choose where Is convenient for them. There is no rush. We don’t want any service disruption.”
FG approves N8.49billion to procure COVID-19 testing Kits, others
The fund is to procure 12 items in various quantities to strengthen the testing for COVID-19.
The federal government has approved N8.49 billion to procure 12 items in various quantities to strengthen the testing for COVID-19 by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The approval was given during the 11th virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
The approval was based on a memorandum presented to the council by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.
He was joined at the post-FEC press briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood.
He explained that the approval was made to further equip the NCDC to respond appropriately to the community transmission phase of the pandemic.
COVID-19: Russia to start mass inoculation of vaccine this month as it insists on its safety
The vaccine is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.
Russia has announced that it was going to start mass vaccination of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine this month before the completion of clinical testing. This is just as it waved off concerns by the international community and some scientists about the safety of the vaccine.
These views were made known by the Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, during a press briefing.
The Health Minister in his statement said, ‘’Western colleagues, who can sense the competitive advantage of the Russian drug, are trying to express some opinions that are completely unjustified in our view. This vaccine is a platform that is already well-known and studied,” he said, adding that other countries have developed antidotes under accelerated testing programs.’’
Murashko also said that the authorities plan to start inoculating medical workers and other risk groups within 2 weeks on a voluntary basis while pointing out that the vaccine will be made available to the general public from October.
Nairametrics had reported yesterday that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised meeting, announced that Russia has registered the first COVID-19 vaccine in what they see as a propaganda coup amid the global race for the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease.
This announcement has raised a lot of international concerns with the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, saying on Wednesday, that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine has not been sufficiently tested, adding that the aim was to have a safe product rather than just being first to start vaccinating people.
He said in a radio chat that it’s not about being first but rather about having an effective, tested and safe vaccine.
Experts have expressed their concerns over Russia’s decision to grant approval before the final trials of the vaccine have been completed.
He said that as much as he will be pleased to have a good vaccine for the virus, he pointed out that the Russians are not disclosing much about this vaccine.
This vaccine which is developed by Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Defence Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.
However, a World Health Organization (WHO) database still lists the vaccine as still only in Phase 1 trial, which is the earliest stage.
The RDIF said that it can produce over 500 million doses of the new vaccine in a year in 5 countries, just as it disclosed that a minimum of 20 countries are currently interested in having access to these vaccines.
The WHO had earlier revealed that it is currently discussing with Russia and pointed out that in granting prequalification of the vaccine, a detailed review of data from clinical trials will be required.
FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy
The government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to diversify economic productivity.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced that it has completed 11 projects to drive its Digital Economy programme.
This was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, during the phase 2 commissioning of Nigeria’s Digital Economy drive.
The Nigerian Government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to create growth and diversify economic productivity in the nation, starting with the Digital Economy drive which was added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications.
Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government. The department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.
The projects were launched with the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would be operated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST ) and The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and would be located nationwide.
The 11 projects are:
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) llorin, Kwara State.
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) Calabar, Cross River State.
- School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Gombe State.
- Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State.
- Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State.
- New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State.
- Remodelled National Mail Exchange Centre, Bayelsa State.
- e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Bauchi State.
- Virtual Examination Centre, Borno State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Jigawa State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Imo State.