On Sunday, March 29, 2020, mixed social media reactions trailed the news about Keystone Bank’s donation of the sum of N1 billion towards facilitating Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19.
The bank had made the donation following a recent emergency meeting that was held by the CBN’s banker’s committee in a bid to rally support for the Nigerian economy, amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The bank’s comment: According to Keystone Bank, the N1 billion will enable the Nigerian Government to buy essential relief materials and other important medical equipment which are needed by health professionals in the country to fight the virus.
Keystone Bank’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Olaniran Olayinka, noted that the Coronavirus pandemic requires concerted effort, hence the contribution. He said:
“What we have is a situation that calls for inclusive support for humanity. A time that all hands must be on deck to support the assiduous effort the government is making to manage the situation. The decision to support the government’s effort is consistent with our unshakable resolve to promote health initiatives which is very key pillar in our corporate social responsibility plans. It is also crucial in our role as a signatory to the principles of responsible banking by the United Nations Environment Finance Initiative working to achieve a sustainable future.”
Nigerians reacted: As expected, many Nigerians were quick to react to the development on Twitter. Interestingly, a lot of people were wondering where Keystone Bank got the money from. One Twitter user even went as far as claiming that the bank is broke, even as she wondered about the safety of her savings.
Because this keystone is a broke bank so I dunno where they saw 1b to donate.
— Su (@osasuu_) March 29, 2020
Others simply wondered why the bank decided to donate the money to the Federal Government instead of simply crediting their customers’ bank accounts.
Instead of Keystone to credit Nigerians,they are busy sending money to Aboki wire. Funny country
— LONDON (@london_used) March 29, 2020
For the records, Keystone Bank is not broke. Agreed, the bank is not among the top ten most profitable banks in the country. Yet, it is doing fairly okay in its own lane.
In the meantime, other Twitter users were quick to defend the bank’s donation. One of those people is Ayo who went as far as reeling out the facts, as you can see below.
People legit think Keystone Bank cannot donate N1bn or are too small to donate N1bn?
A bank that has N25bn minimum share capital with CBN, has 2,130 employees and 4th among it's top 10 competitors with an estimated annual revenue of $400M (N147bn)?
Lmaooo who are these people?
— Ayo FBI (@PureMinD__) March 29, 2020
Other people also defended the donation by arguing that a N1 billion donation is not a big deal for a bank that has over N300 billion in assets. Apparently, Keystone Bank is so financially buoyant to the extent that it pays spousal allowances, another Twitter user claimed.
All of you dragging Keystone for the donation are utterly senseless.
Have you forgotten that Keystone bought Bank PHB and they have an asset of over 300bn.
Is 1B too big for them to give.
Sense is far from alot on this app.
— Oga Web Designer (@isipvodka) March 29, 2020
#Keystone Bank is underrated bank. The bank that pays wife allowance, children allowance, 13th month salary etc. My cousin works in keystone bank & has a wife who is a full time housewife. She earns more than most ppl in civil service. Welldone keystone bank. We appreciate you.
— SPICEGUTS (@dearchisom) March 29, 2020
It should be noted that Keystone Bank Limited is not the only Nigerian bank that has recently made donations towards the fight against COVID-19. Earlier this week, United Bank for Africa Plc said it was donating as much as N5 billion in the fight against the virus. Other banks such as First Bank of Nigeria Ltd have also provided varied supports, including the provision of e-learning facilities to enable children learn online from their homes during this period.
BREAK DOWN OF COVID DONATIONS
BUA Group N1B
Dangote Group N1B
Access Bank N1B
Union Bank N180M
Tuface Idibia N10M
Total = 8.5 Billion
— PEACE OF MIND 🌏 (@Zubestmodric9) March 29, 2020
HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing
HealthPlus has made a formal complaint to the Police following its ensuing battle with Alta Semper.
Nigerian Pharmacy Chain, HealthPlus Ltd which is in a battle for control with private equity firm Alta Semper Capital took a new twist as Health plus reported Alta Semper directors to the police last week, as observed in a document seen by Nairametrics.
In a letter sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police on the 25th of September, HealthPlus stated, “We had the presence of unknown persons around our head office locations.”
The locations stated were 4 HealthPlus branches in Lekki, Lagos.
HealthPlus stated further, “We are aware that there are unauthorized and illegal plans by certain persons to take over our company premises to steal sensitive company property and assets, and ultimately take over operations of the company”
The 4 persons mentioned by HealthPlus are; Zachary Fond and Ivan Genadiev (both Alta Semper Directors), Ernest Eguasa, CFO of company and an unidentified middle-aged white man.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
Niarametrics reported last week that HealthPlus Limited appointed Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer.
However, the announcement set off a chain of allegations and counter-accusations, including online media mudslinging with both sides trying to court public sympathy for who is in control of the company.
P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG
Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was boosted after a London Court ordered the release of $200Million placed as security in the case against P&ID.
A London Commercial Court has ordered the release of a $200 million guarantee as security to be paid to the Nigerian government in the P&ID $10 billion Arbitral Claim.
This was disclosed in a social media statement by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Nigeria's Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) September 29, 2020
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that The Federal Government secured a landmark victory in its bid to overturn a $10 billion arbitration judgment award against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
The Court said that Nigeria has established a strong prima case that the contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. He said that there is also a strong prima face case that the P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.
In today’s statement, the CBN said, “Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.”
“The court also awarded a £70,000 cost in favour of Nigeria in addition to an earlier award of £1.5m.”
On January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7% has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.
FG to revitalize rice farms in rice producing regions
The Minister stated that rice production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.
The Federal Government has stated that Rice Farms in Anambra State and other regions will be revitalized to boost rice production, create jobs and also improve the living standard of the people in the State and the region.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, during the assessment of Federal Government Rice Farms/Mills in Omor and Umerum in Anambra State.
Given the importance of rice as a staple in Nigeria, the Minister stated that the Federal Government is taking steps to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, and this is evident in the policies of the government in achieving food and nutrition security, import substitution and promotion of inclusive economic growth across all sectors of the economy.
Government Policy Interventions in Agriculture and Rural Development has helped to develop the rice sector, and these interventions include the provision of farm inputs such as agrochemicals, organic fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, planting & harvesting equipment such as reapers, mini combine harvesters, threshers at a subsidized rate in order to increase productivity.
The Minister added that these policies have not only increased the quantity of rice produced annually but interventions through the provision of modern rice milling machines to small/medium scale processors, has also helped to improve the quality of Nigeria milled rice to international standard.
However, Nigeria’s rice consumption still holds higher than production, but government interventions through myriads of policies have increased rice production from 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2015 to over 6 million metric tons by 2019 with a huge reduction in the nation’s deficit. Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri explained that production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.
Shehuri said that ”the Ministry has established 23 Paddy Aggregation Centers nationwide to aggregate and store paddy. The centres were given to members of the Paddy Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN) under the public-private partnership arrangement”.
In like manners, there will be the dissemination of modern rice production and processing technologies, through capacity building of farmers and processors directly and also in conjunction with the international donor agencies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), German International Cooperation (GIZ), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI), AfricaRice.
He reiterated that the Ministry is currently responding to the challenges of food availability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting smallholder farmers nationwide with various inputs including certified seeds of improved varieties of food crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, orange-flesh sweet potato, groundnut cowpea, soybean, yam, as well as cash crops like cashew, cocoa, sesame, oil palm, gum Arabic. Others include herbicides, pesticides and agricultural machinery such as rice reapers, transplanters, power tillers motorized sprayers and processing equipment.
These interventions are expected to alleviate the effect of the pandemic on farmers and ensure that they keep producing food for the country.