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First Bank donates additional N1 billion to facilitate fight against COVID-19

First Bank announced yesterday that it had donated the sum of N1 billion to facilitate the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

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FBN Holdings Plc, First Bank, FirstBank ‘VYBES’ Nigerians all through December, First Bank donates additional N1 billion to facilitate fight against COVID-19, FBNH: Growth in Non-Interest Income, reduced Impairment Charge support profit growth

First Bank of Nigeria Limited announced yesterday that it had donated the sum of N1 billion to facilitate the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

This follows similar donations by other top companies in the country, especially banks, many of which are acting in accordance with agreements reached by the CBN’s Bankers’ Committee.

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According to a statement that was issued via Twitter, First Bank noted that the N1 billion donation would enable the Federal Government to acquire some critical medical equipment such as testing kits, as well as provide isolation centres which are essential in the ongoing fight against the virus. Part of the statement said:

Furthermore, First Bank has donated N1 billion towards the joint effort which no doubt will go a long way to rapidly expand health facilities especially Testing, Isolation and actual treatment as well as the ICU facilities being promoted as part of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) intervention.”

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[READ MORE: COVID-19: Tinubu donates 200 million)

Note that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd had earlier made provision for e-learning facilities to enable children learn online while at home due to the virus.

In the meantime, First Bank said it would continue to look out for new ways through which it can offer help to Nigeria during this crisis period. The pandemic has wrought negative health and economic impacts on the country and elsewhere.

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Concerning the bank’s operations during the lockdown period, the statement said First Bank did review its business continuity plan and is prepared to continue providing essential banking services to Nigerians going forward.

Recall that on Sunday the 29th of March, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari declared a lockdown of the FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States as part of efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has since obtained permission from the Federal Government to allow banks to continue providing “skeletal services” during the lockdown period, in order to meet the financial needs of millions of Nigerians.

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Emmanuel holds an MSc. in International Relations and a B.A in Philosophy & Logic, both from the University of Ibadan. He is a communications professional. As a Lead Business Analyst at Nairametrics, he focuses mostly on quoted companies, their products/services, and the economy in which they operate. Emmanuel is also experienced in the areas of corporate communication, brand communication, corporate storytelling, public relations, business research, management/strategy, etc. You may contact him via his email- emmanuel.abara@nairametrics.com.

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Business News

Oil price gains likely to halt over demand uncertainty, as US-China tension intensifies

The rising tension between the US and China is weighing on the global markets. For political reasons, the leadership of each country is blaming the other for the coronavirus pandemic.

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Oil prices gain likely to halt over demand uncertainty as US-China tension intensifies

Crude oil prices, which have been on a steady increase for 3 consecutive weeks, seem to be coming to an end primarily due to the rising tension between the United States and China, and caution over the prospect for a global recovery in oil demand.

This is compounded by the disclosure of the world’s second-largest economy, China, that it is uncertain about its GDP growth target for 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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The Brent crude, now $34.60 per barrel, sold for $36.41 about 4 days ago. The American WTI, which sells for $32.84 per barrel, sold for almost $34 per barrel a few days ago. Also, the Bonny light crude, selling for $33.01 per barrel, sold for $34.46 per barrel about 4 days ago.

With China’s oil demand climbing back to about 13 million barrels per day, which is about 90% of the pre-pandemic level, oil traders are holding out hopes of a quick rebound elsewhere with the global easing of lockdown.

(READ MORE:Here are 7 oil producing countries that have been most affected by COVID-19)

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The output cut by OPEC+ and top oil-producing countries and more than 2.2 million barrels per day production shut in by U.S, have meant that the supply side of the equation is doing just fine.

Brent crude drops to $25, oil demand drops by about 10% of world’s consumption, Brent Crude Oil hits $26, as Nigeria's Sweet Crude demand falls, Oil price pushes up before OPEC meeting, Asian equity markets mixed, NIGERIA OIL: Darker days ahead as Brent falls below production cost, Oil prices gain likely to halt over demand uncertainty as US-China tension intensifies

However, the rising tension between the US and China is weighing on the global markets. For political reasons, the leadership of each country is blaming the other for the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, warned that the US leaders were potentially pushing towards a new cold war, which is having a negative impact on investors.

Although the US crude inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels last week, the gasoline stocks actually increased.

According to Commerzbank, “After weeks of rising, US gasoline demand was down again for the first time. Demand for oil products also remains subdued elsewhere. With concerns on the demand side remaining we regard the latest price rally on the oil market to be excessive.”

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Despite assurances from the Trump administration’s officials, a V-shaped recovery is extremely unlikely.

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There also appears to be a belief that the US and other countries will not avoid the second wave of infections after reopening the economy.

(READ MORE:Global oil supply to drop by 12 million b/d to 9 year low, covid-19 resurgence still a concern – IEA)

According to Rystad Energy, “A second wave is not such a remote possibility and a new round of lockdowns could send oil prices back to much lower levels very quickly and the markets know it. Therefore, lower prices this morning are not a surprise and they are not necessarily the result of a market event, they are rather a correction of the consecutive boosts that oil has seen over the last days.”

The data firm still believes that oil prices will stabilize at the $30-$35 range with the potential to be $40 later in the year, if and when demand improves and approaches the pre-covid-19 levels.

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Economy & Politics

Lagos to shut down Marine Beach bridge for emergency repairs

The closure will allow the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency repairs on the bridge, in line with the government’s vision of providing a better transportation system in the state.

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Lagos to shut down Marine Beach bridge for emergency repairs

Lagos state government has announced that the Apapa Marine Beach bridge will be closed for five months, from Wednesday 27th May, to Wednesday 21st October, 2020.

The closure will allow the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out emergency repairs on the bridge, in line with the government’s vision of providing a better transportation system in the state.

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In a statement from the Lagos state Ministry of Transportation, the Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, noted that the repairs were long overdue, and necessary to ensure safety of Lagosians, given the number of motorists that use the route.

READ MORE: Nigerians knock Fashola over comments on “bad roads”  

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The Commissioner noted that the repairs included bearing and expansion joint replacement and would be executed in two phases, taking one lane of the bridge at a time.

The first phase will involve handling the lane inbound Apapa while the second phase will be designated to work on the lane that conveys vehicles outside the axis,” he said.

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Oladeinde noted that alternative routes around the bridge had been improved to make them motorable, and ease movements for road users.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo sets up committee on reopening of Nigerian economy, suspends loan deductions for states

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To manage the construction period, the statement noted that Traffic Management Authorities would be hard at work to ameliorate the expected traffic issues and supervise other arrangements.

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“Motorists inwards Wharf road will be diverted to the other section of the bridge outwards Apapa, a contraflow of 200metres has been put in place for vehicles to realign with a proper direction inwards Ajegunle or Wharf road, Apapa, while Motorists descending to Total Gas under bridge will drive without any hindrance,” it read.

The Commissioner called for the understanding and cooperation of motorists and road users during the period to ensure a smooth flow of plans.

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Economy & Politics

Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure

Governor Fayemi plans to activate Ekiti state’s digital economy, this would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector

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Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure in Ekiti state

Ekiti state government has concluded plans to create a digital hub, with the laying of a 606-kilometer broadband infrastructure.

The project is expected to lift the state from 16% internet penetration to 90% and is estimated to be worth N5 billion, with the Federal Government contributing N1.1 billion of the total sum.

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This plan is part of the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the state Governor signed with O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, a consortium that develops high speed and efficient Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) Open Access Network (OAN) across the South-West region of Nigeria.

According to the Managing Director of O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, Mr Sammy Adigun, the project will be officially flagged off in October and completed within 14 months.

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(READ MORE: What Nigeria stands to gain from new National Broadband Plan)

This decision is a follow-up to the recent crash of Right of Way charges from N4,500 to N145 per meter for broadband infrastructure, and in line with one of the five pillars of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s development plan for Ekiti state.

The Governor noted that these decisions would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector, thus activating Ekiti state’s digital economy and digital education.

Fayemi noted that the project execution, as well as the broadband policy in the state would be coordinated and supervised by a Digital Infrastructural Committee, made up of various relevant government institutions critical to the implementation of the project.

READ MORE: NCC, Infracos to boost broadband infrastructure with N265 billion 

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“For us the roadmap is first the fibre connectivity itself, the second is the adequate data center infrastructure, the third is the e-learning programme which will cover our educational institutions, then our safe city, our security programme will also be included.

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“With our geographical land information system (GIS), we would digitalize all our land records, and of course, commercial investment as well as digitalisation of our government assets and our health education initiative,” Fayemi explained.

 

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