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FirstBank Marches on, Brings the World To A standstill

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FirstBank Marches on, Brings the World To A standstill

Nigeria’s Premier financial institution and iconic banking Brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited had the world stand still on Friday, 1 March 2019, as it held its symbolic flag hoisting ceremony across Nigeria and other countries where it does business.

The celebratory flag hoisting officially flags off the bank’s commemoration of attaining the milestone year of 125.  

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 The event was also to reinforce the Bank’s continuous march to greatness; a march that exemplifies tenacity, doggedness, viability, socio-economic impact and commitment across the length and breadth of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.  

 The flag hoisting ceremony was held in honour of the Bank’s illustrious journey that started 125 years ago, a journey that encompasses more than half a dozen nations across Africa, Europe, and Asia; notably Ghana, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, China, UK and France. 

 

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 The distinctively designed anniversary flag comprised the Bank’s iconic logo – the elephant head in the yellow gold dynamic shape; the figure 125 written in The Dreamer Font with the number “5” chipped out of an elephant tusk; the weaving needle; the embroidered fabrics from different cultures – Yoruba AdireTiv Lishi, Ghana Kente, the Scottish kilt to illustrate the diversity of a brand that transcends beyond borders and across Continents. 

 In the course of the event, the symbolic flag was presented to the Oba of Lagos, his Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in recognition of his traditional leadership of Lagos, the State where the journey began 125 years ago; the Chief of Naval Staff, represented by Rear Admiral Adebari, in recognition of the movement across the waters by the Bank’s founders from the United Kingdom; the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Adebisi Shonubi represented by Director of Banking Operations, Dipo Fatokun as the event is not just about FirstBank but to pride the industry as one that has impacted the Nation through a century and a quarter years and lastly, the Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar N. Onyema, signifying the Bank as the oldest listed company 

 In the welcome address delivered by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, he noted that the flag symbolizes the identity, impact, permanence, and reverence of a long-standing institution which predates Nigeria as a unified entity and added that FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with the Bank’s involvement in every stage of national growth and development. 

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Reinforcing the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, whilst forging ahead into the future, across its business location, Adeduntan said

“Supporting our host communities to promote sustainable development and of course, putting You First, in all our business activities are some of the many secrets of our long existence. We are now building for the next 125 years and beyond; purposefully blazing the trail in our industry and ensuring that we maintain our leadership position. 

Expressing his goodwill message to the Bank, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar N. Onyema OON buttressed the Bank’s impact on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He said

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“FirstBank is one of the very first companies to be listed on the Exchange and they have become a bellwether for us when you look at the Banking industry.  

In addition, Onyema identified the leadership role by the Bank in the NSE stating that

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“They have also produced a number of Presidents of the Council of the Exchange; from Oba Otudeko to Asabia and other captains of industry that FirstBank has offered to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. 

Also speaking, Mr Adebisi Shonubi, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, represented by Director of banking operations, Dipo Fatokun lauded the bank for its achievement in the development of the financial sector and Nigeria as a whole.  

 Shonubi said that the history of the Central Bank of Nigeria cannot be written without the name of the Bank, FirstBank, lettered in gold, as the Bank has impacted the nation at large.  

 Other eminent personalities and dignitaries at the event include the former Managing Director of FirstBank and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Joseph Sanusi; immediate past Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; Former Nigerian Minister of Industry and former President of the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Nike Akande and former Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson. 

 

Horse guards parade by the Nigeria Police were at the venue to add to the glitz and glamour of the event as well the military band who were on ground to provide music throughout the event, thereby instilling the Bank’s resolve to foster its support to customers, Nigeria and other locations across Continents where the Bank operates.  

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The anniversary flag and flag of countries where the Bank does business were hoisted at the Bank’s headquarters to represent the nations, peoples and the diversity the Bank represents.   

 The 125 anniversary celebration will continue all through the month of March and through the year with other activities which include the Bell Ringing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange; a religious thanks-giving to be held in churches and mosques across Continents and locations of its business activities; the Anniversary Lecture; the Anniversary Gala Dinner & Command drama Performance by the famed Bola Austen Peters group among others. 

Staff and customers of the bank will also have the opportunity to participate in the milestone ceremony with donations and volunteer efforts as part of the bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiative, SPARK (Spreading Acts of Random Kindness) 

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Business News

Why households that engage in subsistence agriculture are poor – Yemi Kale

“We established the poverty line at N137,430 and any individual or family that spends below this on food in a year will be classified below the poverty line.”

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Rauf Aregbesola annual colloquium

Subsistence agriculture alone may never be able to sustain any household in Nigeria. This is according to Nigeria’s Statistician-General and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr Yemi Kale, who spoke during the Rauf Aregbesola annual colloquium earlier today. The event had the theme Government Unusual: Innovative Economic Solutions to Unlock Mass Prosperity.

Using insights from the 2019 National Living Standards Survey, Dr Kale explained that households that are solely engaged in subsistence agriculture appear to have the highest levels of poverty. This set of families are followed by households with more than twenty members.

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“This doesn’t mean agriculture is a bad thing. It simply means the way we do agriculture in Nigeria has to be improved so that it does not become synonymous with poverty or we have to find other sources of income for farmers to supplement their standard of living,” he said.

Speaking further, Dr Kale explained that the living standards survey, which was conducted in collaboration with the World Bank, started in late 2018 and ended in 2019. The survey utilized data from all states in Nigeria except Borno whose data was not considered credible enough given the security situation in the state. Kale said:

“We established the poverty line at N137,430 and any individual or family that spends below this on food in a year will be classified below the poverty line.”

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Given this yardstick, the survey established that at least 22.9 million Nigerians are living in poverty, with the bulk of this number coming from the rural areas and states with low indices on education, social welfare initiatives, employment, and income equality.

Formalising the informal sector

The informal sector comprises people who earn enough to keep above the poverty line on a daily basis, but not enough to sustain them in the event of a lockdown, as was seen recently in some states during the April COVID-19 lockdown. This is a problem that can only be solved if the informal sector becomes formalised, Kale said. In other words, formalizing this sector will help more daily wage earners stay above the poverty line. He made reference to the recent lockdown which incapacitated lots of daily wage earners in states such as Lagos.

Nigeria’s poor versus other African countries

Making a comparison, Yale also noted that Nigeria’s poor are poorer than their counterparts in South Africa despite the fact that the nominal size of Nigeria’s economy is much larger.

He attributed this to findings which showed that Nigerians spend three times more on foods and consumables than all other items put together, as against countries like South Africa and Egypt where less is spent on food items.

“Nigerian remains Africa’s largest economy, but per capita income is rather low for a country of this size, and the level of poverty presents a major development challenge” he noted.

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Reducing unemployment – the fastest way out

According to Kale, the fastest way out of poverty is to reduce unemployment, as people will naturally have more to spend on their needs when they are employed. To support his point, Kalu cited five Nigerian states with the least poor people in comparison to the other states Lagos, Delta, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo. Each of these states has fewer unemployment levels compared to the states with higher poverty rates such as Sokoto, Taraba, Jigawa, Ebonyi, and Adamawa states.

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Other indicators which show similar trends across the states are education, and ease of doing business. The poverty rates are almost always higher where education is poor.

Increasing local production

Also making a presentation during the colloquium, Dr Joe Abah called for a review of the 1978 land use act which he said is limiting in its provisions. He also stressed that Nigeria needs to improve access to capital, raw materials, lands, and technological innovations so that production capacity can increase significantly.

“All of the richer countries simply produce more, and they produce more things that people want to buy and want to consume. It could be products or services. the higher your production capacity, the richer you are. if you cannot produce, you cannot develop your education or your health sector.”

According to Abah, the cost of governance cannot be reduced without adopting some of the suggestions of the Oronsaye report, and restructuring the system for productivity. He said that “there is also a need to link budget and funding to productivity so that public sectors begin to understand that the more funding they require, the more they are expected to produce as well.”

He also suggested that states should start focusing on their competitive advantage and use same to improve general productivity in their state.

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Other panelists at the colloquium include Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor, Kaduna State, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Governor, Kebbi State, Mrs. Hajara Adeola, CEO, Lotus Capital Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, CEO, Financial Derivatives Limited, Dr. Joe Abah, Country Director, DAI, Dr. Yemi Cardoso, Chairman, Citibank Nigeria, with Boason Omofaye as the moderator.

You may watch the colloquium by clicking here.

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Economy & Politics

Output cut: Nigeria leads in OPEC non-compliance with 50 unsold cargoes of crude

Nigeria and Iraq were reported not to have kept to their commitment to the huge production cut deal that had promised to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels of crude oil per day.

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Petroleum Industry Bill to be passed by mid-2020, says Sylva, FG discovers crude oil in north, says there’s more , OPEC, non-OPEC countries to meet as Saudi, Russia price war affects Nigeria’s budget, FG considers fuel price reduction, OPEC deal: Nigeria to generate additional $2.8 billion revenue as FG reacts

As opinions continue to differ on whether OPEC will extend its current oil output cut beyond June, available information has shown that not all members of the oil cartel complied fully with their agreed quotas for the month of May. This is despite the fact that the oil output by OPEC member countries reached its lowest in almost 20 years.

Available data from oilprice.com showed that OPEC members cut their output by 5.91 million barrels per day from the April level, producing 24.77 million barrels per day. This figure also showed a 4.48 million barrel per day of the agreed output cut, thereby representing a 74% compliance level.

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Nigeria and Iraq were reported not to have kept to their commitment to the huge production cut deal that had promised to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Iraq was able to achieve just 38% compliance of its agreed output cut for the month of May, while Nigeria, which achieved a much lower compliance of the agreed output cut, recorded 19% compliance of what was agreed. Saudi Arabia showed the highest compliance, recording 96% of the agreed output cut.

Some have attributed the noncompliance of some members of OPEC to the agreed output cut, to the contractual obligations and commitment to buyers, given the short timeframe between when the agreement for the output cut was made and its implementation.

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Meanwhile oil exports from Angola and Congo remained steady at high prices on Friday, while Nigerian oil fared lower amid huge inventory of unsold cargoes.

Nigeria continues to face some difficulty in the oil market, primarily due to sluggish demand from Europe; it has around 50 unsold cargoes of crude oil yet to be sold for the months of June and July.

Meanwhile, India has become one of the few buyers for the Nigerian oil. Indian oil firms bought about 5-6 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil last week and has bought about 2 million barrels as at Thursday this week.

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Business News

President Muhammadu Buhari reshuffles NNPC’s board of directors

Note that the former board included the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari as a member. Stakeholders have since expected the President to reconstitute a new board to take over.

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President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on Monday, receives update and recommendations from PTF

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after the expiration of the tenure of the current board.

The newly constituted board members are expected to serve for a tenure of three years, effective immediately. They will take over from the last board, whose 3-year tenure officially ended in 2019. Information about this development is contained in a State House press release that was published on the official twitter handle of the Nigerian Presidency on Saturday morning.

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READ MORE: Construction of ICT Parks nudges Nigeria into digital transformation

READ ALSO: CBN and NIPOST open pilot microfinance branches

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The newly constituted NNPC board is made up of six members from each of the geo-political zones in the country. The members include the following individuals:

  • Mallam Mohammed Lawal, representing the North West
  • Dr Tajudeen Umar from North East
  • Adamu Mahmood  Attah from North Central
  • Senator Magnus Abe from the South-South
  • Dr Stephen Dike from the South East, and
  • Chief Pius Akinyelure from the South West geo-political

READ MORE: Boko Haram: A protracted battle yet to be won?  

Of the six members, three are returning members on the board – Chief Pius Akinyelure, Mallam Mohammed Lawal, and Dr Tajudeen Umar from North East.

Note that the constitution of the new board is considered a welcome development, as it balances the representation of the six geo-political zones on the board. The previous constitution of the board was faulted for not being “balanced”.

READ ALSO: Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 58th Independence day broadcast

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Note that the former board included the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari as a member. Stakeholders have since expected the President to reconstitute a new board to take over.

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