Prior to when an Italian national brought in Nigeria’s first COVID-19 case in late February, many Nigerians perceived the contagious virus as a “white man” disease. Little did they know that barely one month later, most parts of the country would be under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus from spreading. Also, a lot of people did not envisage that the outbreak would come with severe economic consequences.
Fast-forward to present times and Nigeria is really struggling to contain the spread of the virus. The adverse economic impacts have also been grave. As part of efforts to assist the Federal Government to combat the virus, some of Nigeria’s biggest companies, and most notable business executives decided to donate money. They have donated a total of N25.8 billion as of April 17th, 2020.
Disgruntled Nigerians want their own donations
Nigerian banks have been particularly instrumental in this regard, having contributed a significant portion of the money. And while the government is very grateful to them, some of their customers are quite displeased. These customers cannot understand why the banks would rather donate to the government instead of crediting their bank accounts directly.
To be fair, bank customers have a good reason to be upset. In Nigeria, everyone has been adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Some people have even lost their jobs, with no immediate hope of getting replacements. Therefore, everyone needs some financial relief which hasn’t been forthcoming, unfortunately. So, it is very understandable for bank customers to expect some money transferred into their accounts by their banks. After all, the banks already have their customers’ account details and could easily send money across to them.
A Social Media backlash against banks
The banks’ “inability” to offer financial assistance to their customers have generated quite a lot of backlash on social media. Some customers even resorted to name-calling, describing the banks as insensitive to the plight of average citizens. They also wondered what the Federal Government is going to do with the billions that have been donated by the companies, even as some other people simply dismissed the donations as a hoax or “audio money.”
You guys don't love your customers … Am indoor starving and hungry .. I have just 300 naira note left with me .. why can't you guys credit my account pic.twitter.com/UNOeEuV0KP
— Lion (@Fredtony111) April 14, 2020
But there’s a good reason why donations are going to the FG
For most Nigerian companies, providing financial support to the ongoing fight against Coronavirus is probably the best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to undertake at this point. This is because not only does such a move position these companies as socially-responsible corporates, it also entitles them to some form of tax exceptions. Even Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, confirmed this in a recent interview with Arise TV.
Therefore, with CSR expenses being tax-deductible, the best bet for these banks is to donate Covid-19 relief funds directly to the Federal Government so they can better account for the expenses. It may be difficult for banks to get tax deductions if they just transfer money to their customers. While commenting on this, a Relationship Manager at Zenith Bank Plc who doesn’t want to be named, said the following to Nairametrics:
“Donating the money through the CBN is simply the most coordinated approach I can imagine. That way, it is easier for banks and other companies to account for how much they have spent on Covid-19 related CSR.
“Moreover, it could be problematic for banks to transfer money into their customers’ accounts because even though these banks have their customers’ account details, they may not really be able to target such donations at people who really need them. Just imagine that a customer has only N5,000 in his Zenith Bank account but has over N5 million in a different account with another bank. If you decide to transfer N20,000 to his Zenith Bank account based on the assumption that he is broke, he would end up shortening how much people who are actually broke would end up getting.”
Meanwhile, companies are sharing relief materials
It should also be noted that many companies have made efforts to provide relief materials directly to the Nigerians who need them. As a matter of fact, some of the banks that have already donated big money to the Federal Government have also procured and shared relief materials to the people. Examples of them are Wema Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and, many more. Nairametrics also recently reported that Eko Electricity Distribution Company and the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company have distributed food and relief items worth millions of naira to residents of Oyo and Lagos states.
Lafarge Africa Plc. announces its board meeting and closed period for Q2 2020
The notification which was duly signed by General Counsel & Company Secretary.
Lafarge Africa Plc. notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public that he closed period will commence on Wednesday, 8th July 2020 until the unaudited financial statement for the second quarter ended 30th June 2020, is released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
In a disclosure on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, it wrote: “We hereby notify the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public that a meeting of the Board of Directors of Lafarge Africa Plc has been scheduled to hold on Thursday, 23rd July 2020 to consider the second quarter financial results of the Company for the quarter ended 30th June 2020.”
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The notification which was duly signed by General Counsel & Company Secretary, Mrs. Adewunmi Alode explained further stating that “Accordingly, no Director, employee, persons discharging managerial responsibility and Advisers of the Company and their connected persons may directly or indirectly deal in the shares of the Company in any manner during the closed period.”
Over the past few months, it made a few board changes with the retirement of two of its Non-Executive Directors, as well as the appointment of three new Directors. It had also spun off its South African subsidiary, Lafarge South Africa Holdings (LSAH), last year.
Lafarge Africa’s Q1 2020 revenue was up 9.8% year-on-year to N63.7 billion, driven by higher Cement Sales (a figure up 11% year-on-year to N62.3 billion) which offset the weakness in Aggregate and Concrete (down 21% y/y to N1.4bn). Its EBITDA grew by 2.4% year-on-year to N19.3 billion as well. As at Tuesday the 7th of July, the share price of the company was N10.00.
AXA Mansard Insurance Plc gives notice of Annual General Meeting
The AGM will be live-streamed to enable shareholders and stakeholders participate.
Insurance firm, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc., has given notice of its board of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.
The announcement which was disclosed by Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in a corporate disclosure on July 7th, 2020 and signed by Company Secretary, Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi read, “Notice is hereby given that the twenty-eighth annual general meeting of AXA Mansard Insurance Plc. will hold at the Oriental Hotel, no. 3, Lekki Road, Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.”
As noted, the purpose of the AGM is to transact the following business:
- To receive the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2019, and the Reports of the Directors, Auditors and Statutory Audit Committee thereon
- To authorise Directors to fix the remuneration of the Auditors
- To elect Directors and
- To elect members of the Statutory Audit Committee.
In order to ensure that all relevant stakeholders can be a part of the AGM, the company will also be streaming the AGM live. It noted that “This will enable shareholders and other stakeholders who will not be attending physically to follow the proceedings.”
The link for the live streaming of the Meeting will be made available on the Company’s website at www.axamansard.com.
Recall that a few months ago, in March, the company’s Board of Directors announced the appointment of John Dickson as the company’s new Non-Executive Director. A month earlier, it also disclosed its plan to sell its pension management subsidiary (AXA Mansard Pensions Ltd) and some undisclosed real estate investments.
Its unaudited financials for the period Q1 2020 reveal a growth across revenue and profit lines. Gross written premium grew by 21% from N17.4 billion earned in Q1 2019 to N21 billion in Q1 2020. Profit for the year for the group grew by a commendable 120% from N890 million in Q1 2019 to N1.9 billion in Q1 2020.
As at Tuesday, the 7th of July when markets closed, the share price of the company was N1.59. The company’s EPS stood at 0.33 while its price to book ratio stood at 0.6082.
NSITF board to investigate suspended MD and others over financial misconduct
The board of directors of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has revealed that it will investigate the activities of the suspended Managing Director, 3 Executive Directors, and 8 other senior management staff over financial breaches and gross misconduct.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the board of NSITF, Mr. Austin Enajemo-Isire, in a statement in Enugu on Sunday July 5, 2020.
Enajemo-Isire said that the Managing Director and other top management staff of the organization would have the opportunity to clear themselves of any wrongdoing with the probe panel which was being set up.
While reacting to claims that the suspension did not follow due process as President Muhammadu Buhari did not approve it, Enajemo-Isire said that the approval for the suspension of the affected staff had been conveyed to the Labour Minister in a correspondence referenced SGF. 47/511/T/99 of June 30, 2020.
According to the Chairman, “The minister has conveyed this approval and directives to me for necessary action in terms of setting up a board-driven investigative panel.
“This is to give the affected officers the opportunity to clear themselves of the financial and procurement breaches and acts of gross misconduct and other infractions that gave rise to their prima facie indictment.
“It is in this light that I have decided to call a virtual meeting of the management board on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to consider the modalities for our action.”
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He, therefore, appealed to staffers of NSITF and their social partners to keep calm and exercise restraint.
A few days ago, Nairametrics reported the suspension of the Managing Director and some senior management staff over corruption allegations. However, the management in its reaction debunked that claim and said that the President did not approve their suspension but that rather, it was the sole decision of the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, who they said was overreaching himself.