In order to reduce the number of customers trooping into their banking halls, prevent large gatherings and encourage social distancing, as coronavirus fear spreads, some Nigerian banks have suggested the use of self-service through digital platforms and internet banking.
Fidelity Bank and Ecobank sent out messages suggesting their customers take advantage of their digital innovations rather than visiting the banking halls. Although the banks said their branches would still be opened to customers, who prefer face-to-face service at the bank.
This follows the ban on large gatherings in schools, cinemas, restaurants, night clubs and other places by the Federal and State Governments. The banks haven’t been included in the ban list yet, but as a precaution, some banks are already offering alternatives to limit numbers in the banks.
Banking industry hit by the outbreak: In a mail sent to customers, Fidelity Bank said, “Our industry has been drastically impacted by the coronavirus outbreak worldwide and as a result, we have implemented precautionary measures to help safeguard the well-being of our staff, customers and communities we serve.
“It is important that you are able to access funds to run your business or pay bills even in these times. Currently, our branch locations are open and fully staffed to assist with all your banking needs
“However, take advantage of our robust online banking solutions available for your ease, convenience and as a further precautionary measure.”
Ecobank stated that utilizing its out-door platforms is “part of efforts to ensure social distancing, which will help curtail the spread of COVID-19. Customers can bank from anywhere by utilising digital solutions to easily access their bank accounts, make payments, transfer funds, process salaries, and carry out other ancillary banking transactions from the comfort of their homes and offices without visiting branches.”
Meanwhile, Ecobank said it is equipped with needed preventive measures, “Standard measures have been put in place at the branches across the group to help curtail the spread of coronavirus.
“These include the provision of temperature checks at all entry points to screen employees, customers and visitors; installation of hand sanitizers; and equipping customer-facing staff with emergency response plan among others.”
Also speaking on the impact of coronavirus, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Ade Ayeyemi, stated that “This is an unusual, extraordinary and difficult period in time.
“At Ecobank we do understand that COVID-19 is impacting a number of people and causing others serious concern and anxiety. We will continue to stay abreast of the situation in order to adapt to changing developments for the good health and well-being of all our customers, employees and communities.
“Together let’s keep well and safe, following the instructions given to us by the world health experts for our better health.”
ECOWAS COVID-19: Nigeria drops to 7th position in recovery rate
According to data from ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Nigeria has dropped to 7th position in recovery rate.
The ECOWAS COVID-19 daily update report, as of November 22nd, 2020, shows that Nigeria is ranked 7th on recovery rate (93.5%), 10th on death rate (CFR – case fatality ratio) at 1.76%, and 9th on active cases (4.7%) amongst the 15 member countries of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
This data can be seen on the Twitter handle of the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control.
— ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (@Ecowas_cdc) November 23, 2020
A week ago, as of 15th November 2020, Nigeria occupied the 6th position in recovery rate (93.7%), 9th position in CFR (1.79%) and 11th position in active cases (4.5%).
According to the report, there are 209,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths, 189,917 recoveries, and 8,849 active cases in ECOWAS countries. This data represents in Africa, 9.8% of the confirmed cases, 5.7% deaths, 10.9% recovery rate and 3.3% active cases.
As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
On recovery rate, Cote D”Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Senegal 97.5% and Ghana 97.1%, with the least coming from Mali with 71.1%.
Mali has more active COVID 19 cases with 25.5%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.9% and Togo 20.9% and with Senegal contributing the least with 0.4%.
What you should know
- As at November 22 2020, worldwide, there are 58,649,324 confirmed cases, 1,388,068 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
- In Africa, there are 2,057,029 confirmed cases, 49,412 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
- In West Africa, there are 201,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths and CFR of 1.41%, with a recovery rate of 94.2%.
Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in cost of goods – Nigerian Breweries
Nigerian Breweries has revealed that Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in the cost of its goods in 2020.
The Finance Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan, has revealed that the increase in the brewer’s costs of goods was due to the devaluation in naira and FX scarcity, which led to the increase in the cost of inputs such as sorghum and sugar, as they are not fully produced locally.
This disclosure was made during the Nigerian Breweries’ Fact Behind Figures results presentation today.
However, Kleinjan explained that the increase in cost could not be fully attributed to currency devaluation and foreign exchange scarcity, which exerts pressure on imported input materials.
He said the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ costs of goods sold, as reported in its unaudited financial results, could also be linked to the volume of goods sold, as the company’s sales volume in Q3 increased by almost the same percentage as the cost of goods sold.
However, Mr. Kleinijan reiterated that to mitigate further losses, it was important for the company to focus on the supply chain and seek ways to mitigate price increases.
What they are saying
The Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Jordi Borrut, while speaking at the virtual event said:
“In 2020, the results of Nigerian Breweries were adversely impacted by COVID, VAT increase, FX devaluation and scarcity of foreign exchange. The year started with a promising 1st quarter, which was heavily impacted in Q2. The Nigerian market, however, rebounded in Q3.”
Mr. Rob Kleinjan, while explaining the factors behind the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ cost of goods sold in the first nine months of 2020, said:
“It is also clear that the increase in cost is due to the devaluation and the FX scarcity which has put pressure on our input cost. If you look into the main elements we use, which are sorghum and sugar – they are not fully produced locally, so when the currency is devalued, the prices of these inputs will soar.
“That’s why it’s important that we are focused on the supply chain, and seek for ways we can mitigate any of the price increases, because the increase in cost comes from the input prices, which come from FX scarcity.”
FG petitions CNN over investigative report on Lekki shooting, threatens action
The Federal Government has petitioned CNN over its alleged bias report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
The Federal Government has written a petition to the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), demanding an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting, to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.
The government berated CNN for its investigative report on the #EndSARS protest in Lekki area of Lagos, pointing out that the media outfit breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.
In the petition written by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia; the government said that if the international media organization does not carry out its demand, it will take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from making the #EndSARS crisis worse.
According to a report from Punch, the government’s letter dated November 23, 2020, is titled “Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement”.
The letter reads: “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.”
“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue. It is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.
“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story that makes a reader draw the reporter’s desired conclusion.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that CNN in its investigative report broadcasted on November 18, disclosed that the Nigerian army allegedly fired live ammunition directly at unarmed protesters, who peacefully assembled at the Lekki Tollgate during the #EndSARS protests. While confirming some deaths, CNN said it spoke with over 100 protesters and family members, but didn’t speak to any government official.
In response to the Federal Government’s criticism of the report, which it described as a blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work, CNN insisted that it was standing by its report.