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Coronavirus outbreak could cause global recession, IMF warns

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The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy could suffer a severe recession “at least as bad during the 2008 global financial crisis or worse” in 2020.

Cases of coronavirus have been reported in 195 countries and territories across the world.

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, made these comments after a phone call of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on Monday.

“First, the outlook for global growth: for 2020 it is negative—a recession at least as bad as during the global financial crisis or worse. But we expect a recovery in 2021,” she said.

“To get there, it is paramount to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems—everywhere. The economic impact is and will be severe, but the faster the virus stops, the quicker and stronger the recovery will be.

“Advanced economies are generally in a better position to respond to the crisis.”

Georgieva warned that many emerging markets and low-income countries face “significant challenges” as there are already capital outflows from poorer nations.

The IMF said it will step up aid to countries in need and called on central banks to create additional swap lines, to prevent a liquidity crisis in emerging markets and poorer nations.

Many of the world’s wealthiest nations have already established swap lines, including the US federal reserve.

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CBN suspends cheque clearing indefinitely

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed that cheque clearing should be suspended.

According to a notice signed by Sam Okoreje, director of CBN banking services department, the suspension is effective from March 31.

The notice was addressed to all deposit money banks in the country and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).

The notice said the suspension is related to the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja announced by the president on Sunday.

“In view of these recent developments and in furtherance of the bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free and clearing activities, the Central Bank of Nigeria hereby suspend, until further notice, the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing system starting from March 31, 2020.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument will be allowed to pass through clearing system on March 31, 2020.

“Only returned cheques will be treated on the said date.”

The notice, however, said settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension.

The lockdown directive was issued by the president to curb the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

A joint statement by the CBN and ministry of finance, budget and national planning on Monday however said the president has given approval for banks to conduct skeletal services.

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Keystone Bank pledges N1bn to strengthen fight against Coronavirus

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As part of a robust effort to combat the deadly Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, the management of Keystone Bank today announced the donation of N1 billion for the purchase of relief materials, critical care facilities and protective gear to contain the spread of the virus.

The pledge was made during the Bankers’ Committee meeting held recently to support the Central Bank of Nigeria in its bid to raise funds for the fight against coronavirus pandemic through the newly-formed Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Committee against COVID-19.

In a press statement, the Acting Managing Director, Mr. Olaniran Olayinka explained that the decision to make the pledge is part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility pillar to provide an enabling environment by improving the well-being and health of the communities wherein we operate.

“What we have is a situation that calls for an 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”.

“At Keystone Bank, we remain firmly committed to our promise of supporting Nigerians to thrive and this means for us showing up when it matters most. For us, this is one of such moments”.

Mr. Olayinka expressed optimism that the current pandemic will soon be a thing of the past. “I am very confident that the current prevailing health challenge will soon be an episode in the footnote of our history; We have the capable human resources, the will of the part of the government and the support of every Nigerian to end the pandemic at the earliest possible time.”

Commenting further, Mr. Olayinka noted that the donation is one of other support initiatives put in place by the bank to support the fight against the pandemic.

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Ecobank commits over N100m to COVID-19 radio campaign ‘StaySafeNigeria’

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Ecobank Nigeria Limited says it is committing about a hundred million naira to drive its National Radio Campaign “StaySafeNigeria”, being part of its corporate actions to support measures to check the rising spread of Coronavirus.

The campaign which is a call to action, creating awareness and educating the populace on safety measures to adopt against the dreaded COVID -19, is currently running in over 50 radio stations across the six geopolitical zones of the country, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) network news.

This amount is in addition to the bank’s contribution as a corporate member of the Bankers Committee and the Nigerian Private Sector led Coalition to raise funds against COVID-19, The details of this contribution will be made public in due course.

The campaign messaging which is in Pidgin, Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba is also being driven through the social media and is trending extensively on #StaySafeNigeria, #StaySafeNaija, #StaySafe tag following massive support from members of the Creative industry essentially on philanthropic basis. The bank in a statement thanked the entertainers and football stars who have so far adopted the campaign as a show of commitment and belief in the bank’s approach in the public enlightenment of Nigerians, ensuring the message is taken to every door step, especially at the grassroots for all citizens to imbibe the ethos of “StaySafeNigeria”.

The bank listed those who have supported to include the Legends of Nollywood, Linda Ikeji, Brodashaggi, Alex Ekubo, Taooma, Sound Sultan, Bolanke Austen Peter’s, Mr Macaroni, Teni Oluwo, Dala Oruwari, former African Footballer of the year, Victor Ikpeba, football legends, Austin Eguavoen, Garba Lawal and Mutiu Adepoju amongst several others. The bank is also using the opportunity to invite other stars to join the #“StaySafeNigeria” campaign to sustain a new national reorientation on hygiene.

Also the bank has announced that any money transferred on its digital platforms below N5,000 will be free of charge to customers, until 30 April, to encourage citizens adopt digital banking that supports safety measures, particularly the social distancing campaign, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Announcing this in Lagos, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Patrick Akinwuntan says the bank’s priority is peoples’ wellbeing and is therefore determined to support everyone in the face of unplanned shutdown which already have huge economic impact citizens.

By this announcement users of Ecobank Mobile, Ecobank Online, USSD-Ecobank *326#, Omni Lite, can now do transfers below N5,000 at zero fees. Before now Ecobank customers who performs transactions on the bank’s platform by dialing *326# does so free of the USSD session fee.

“We have no choice as a caring and responsible corporate organisation than to rise up to this challenge of our generation and make every contribution to check the spread and save lives. Our media campaign is engaging people in very simple language on important tips to stay safe. The campaign will be sustained to continue promoting good hygiene conduct even after we overcome Coronavirus. we are also determined to support the Nigerian government and to ensure impact of the business shut down is minimal on the citizens. We encourage our customers to utilize our digital self-service solutions, including Ecobank Mobile App, Ecobank Online, EcobankPay, Ecobank OmniPlus, Omni Lite and the RapidTransfer App without having to visit branches. This is as part of our efforts to ensure social distancing which will help curtail the spread of COVID-19. By utilizing these digital offerings, you can easily access your bank accounts, make payments, transfer funds, process salaries, and carry out your other ancillary banking transactions from the comfort of your home and office without visiting the branch”. Mr Akinwuntan stated.

Also speaking, Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi, Head of Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, says customers who are yet to upgrade to the new Ecobank Mobile App 4.0 should quickly do so. The Ecobank Mobile App is available for all banking transactions because of its versatility and salient benefits which include the following;

The ability to send money to anyone via email or SMS by simply selecting the recipient from your contacts and send money to their email or phone number. The recipient will be able to get the money using any bank account, even if they don’t have an Ecobank account.

Ability to create virtual cards for safe shopping and enjoy the convenience of a virtual card without worrying about it being linked to your account – customer can create several virtual cards.

Ability to split bills without fuss, enabling you to share expenses as you desire, with friends and family, who will simply get notifications on what they need to refund you. It’s a smart way to get your money back without hounding”.

Further, Mrs. Demola-Adeniyi, reiterated that the Ecobank Mobile app supports customers to pay the fast and stress-free way with EcobankPay by simply scanning the QR code or dial *326*6*Amount*Terminal ID# to pay. “It saves you PoS charges and less human contact. When next you are at the store and need to pay, just ask the merchant for EcobankPay. Regardless of what you want to achieve, the Ecobank Mobile App is available for you”. She noted.

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