Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank, has unveiled enhanced palliative measures to help its customers and Nigerians through these times of the extended COVID-19 lockdown in some states.
Amongst these measures are; the introduction of special waivers on repayment fees on the Bank’s credit cards as well as up to 90-days moratorium on SME loans. The aim of these is to cushion the impact of the toll on employment and livelihoods.
It was announced in the course of the week that the Lagos State Government & Roducate e-learning initiative – sponsored by FirstBank – had kicked off. The initiative includes the government accredited curriculum for primary, secondary and tertiary schools designed to ensure children are adequately guided and engaged through their learning experience.
Upon the lockdown in March, the Bank had announced to move One Million children to e-learning which is implemented with a number of renowned organisations that have come on board from within and outside the continent. These partners include IBM, which is providing opportunities for the acquisition of digital skills including Coding, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science & Analytics which would promote opportunities to learn skills of the future. These measures are taken in identifying with the roles of children at securing the future of any country.
Reflecting on the words by Benjamin Franklin, thus ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’ Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “in keeping with who we are at FirstBank, our commitment to self-development and continuous improvement is never far from our thinking. As such we are encouraging all to consider and register for any of the excellent programmes being offered free by Ivy League schools and have curated a list of them covering topics such as management, personal development, and entrepreneurship which can be found on our website.
In addition, Dr. Adeduntan stated that “with these measures, we are delighted to support our customers because you all have empowered us to do so by choosing to Bank with us. This is indeed a time to double down efforts and explore opportunities to ease the impact of the extension on you.
Once again, we appreciate our customers for the giant strides achieved on our alternative channels, as we assure you of our commitment to continue to work tirelessly to provide essential banking services across these channels. The transaction volumes is a positive testimony to the resilience of our staff and your Bank to keep things going as COVID 19 will neither defeat nor slow us down. We remain fully persuaded that together we will overcome this too.”
“Our experience over 126 years tells us the solutions lie within us, more than ever as we uphold our promise to you to be here for you and put You First always,” he concluded.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.
With over 750 business locations and 44,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 8.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3 million people on Firstmobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”.
Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Ecobank Transnational appoints Alain Nkontchou as new Chairman
“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.”
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the appointment of Alain Nkontchou as its new Chairman of the board of directors.
Nkontchou, who is Camerounian by nationality, has been serving as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the pan-African banking group since 2015. A statement made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) confirmed that his latest appointment took effect on June 30, 2020.
The Camerounian is taking over from Nigeria’s Emmanuel Ikazoboh, whose six-year tenure as Chairman of Ecobank’s holding company ended last month, even as he just reached the retirement age of 70. The company also noted that the new appointment is in tandem with its Articles of Association.
While reacting to his own appointment as Chairman, Alain Nkontchou said he is quite honoured and that he was looking forward to working with the rest of the board members.
“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Having served on its Board since 2015, I have seen Ecobank’s resilience and its proud history, built on strong foundation to secure the Bank’s future success. I look forward to working with the Board and Executive team as we continue our journey ahead and I know that we are well-placed to navigate through the current environment and set the standards in financial services for our customers across Africa. I would also like to express my thanks to my predecessor, Mr Emmanuel Ikazoboh, for his leadership of the Board and to wish him all the best for the future,” he said.
Alain Nkontchou co-founded Enko Capital Management LLP, a London-based asset management company with Johannesburg office. He currently serves as the Managing Partner and of the firm which specialises in prospecting investment opportunities in Africa.
Prior to this time, ETI’s newly-appointed Chairman was a Non-Executive Director at Laurent Perrier champagne between 1999 and 2009. He was also the Managing Director of Credit Suisse’s Global Macro Trading from 1995 to 2008. He held a similar role at JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Meanwhile, from 1989 to 1994, Nkontchou worked with Chemical Bank first in Paris and then New York. At the bank, he rose through the ranks to become the Vice- President, Head of Trading, and Sales. Apparently, he is an accomplished business executive.
Alain Nkontchou obtained an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Supélec and P.M. Curie University, Paris, and another MSc in Finance and Accounting from ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris).
It should be noted that ETI’s stock closed yesterday’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a share price of N4.80. The share price gained by +1.05% to appreciate from its previous close of N4.75. Year to date, ETI’s share price has declined by about 22%.
Nigeria’s public debt is officially N29.83 trillion
Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external.
The total public debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeria, states within the Nigerian federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) jumped to N28.63 trillion as of Q1 2020. This is according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which was released on Friday.
A breakdown of the report showed that the total debt stock of the states as of 31 March 2020 is N4.1 trillion. Meanwhile, these states’ total Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2019 was N1.3 trillion. They also received N2.47 trillion from FAAC.
Note that as always, Lagos State recorded the highest IGR at N398.7 billion. The state also received N117.8 billion in FAAC disbursements and has a total debt stock of N444.2 billion, thereby making up 10.8% of the total debt stock of the states.
On the other hand, Yobe State recorded the lowest debt stock out of all the states with just N29.2 billion. This made up just 0.7% of the total debt stock of the states. Meanwhile, the state generated a total IGR of N8.4 billion in 2019.
Part of the report by the NBS said:
“Nigerian States and Federal Debt Stock data as at 31st March 2020 reflected that the country’s total public debt portfolio stood at N28.63trn. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external while N18.64trn or 65.11% of the debt was domestic.
“Similarly, States and FCT domestic debt was put at N4.11trillion with Lagos state accounting for 10.8% of the total domestic debt stock while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.7%.”
— Dr Yemi Kale (@sgyemikale) July 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the FCT had total debt of N106.8 billion, making up 2.6% of the total debt stock of the states. The FCT also recorded an IGR of N74.5 billion in 2019 and received N71.9 billion in FAAC.
The Federal Government’s total domestic debt stock by Q1, 2020 was N14.5 trillion, with FGN bonds making up 72.5% of the total portfolio followed by treasury bills at 18.24%.
The total public debt stock has risen by 4% since December 2019, as the previous figure stood at N27.4 trillion.
You may download NBS’ Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt report by clicking here.
COVID-19: WHO reverses itself based on new discovery about the virus
This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided an update on the modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infected people, based on new scientific evidence.
The WHO on Thursday, formally recognized that the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, marking a reversal for the United Nation’s agency.
In a scientific brief, the WHO said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.
This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts who have been putting pressure on the UN health agency to update its description of the spread of the virus to include the possibility of airborne infections.
The WHO now admits that transmissions through aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind outbreaks of COVID-19 that have been reported in some closed environments such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking or singing.
Apart from refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the WHO pointed out that people should avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
However, the WHO still focuses more on the spread of the virus by larger droplets that are discharged through coughing, sneezing and singing or from contact with a contaminated surface.
The WHO in its statement said, “Respiratory droplet transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or sneezing) or who is talking or singing; in these circumstances, respiratory droplets that include virus can reach the mouth, nose or eyes of a susceptible person and can result in infection.”
It also revealed that based on what is currently known, the transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs from people when they have symptoms and can also occur just before they develop symptoms when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time. While someone who never develops symptoms can also pass the virus to others, it is still not clear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.
The UN health agency had previously advised that the spread of the virus through the air is only common when people, mostly health care workers, were involved in medical procedures that produced aerosols, though a lot of evidence has surfaced suggesting that the virus can stay in the air for hours and infect a person when inhaled.