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FBNHoldings: Setting The Tone For Gender Inclusiveness, Balance In Boardroom

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By Hope Ashike

In many parts of the world, including Nigeria, women often face the barriers of discrimination and persistent gender inequalities which deny them access to key positions in the corporate world as well as access to finance or the formal economy.

Women make up almost half of the world’s working-age population of nearly 5 billion people. But only about 50 percent of those women participate in the labor force, compared with 80 percent of men, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF’s research highlights how the uneven playing field between women and men imposes large costs on the global economy. Early IMF studies on the economic impact of gender gaps assumed that men and women were likely to be born with the same potential, but that disparities in access to education, health care, and finance and technology; legal rights; and social and cultural factors prevented women from realizing that potential.

Nearly 70 UK companies have been told to employ more women in senior roles. Domino’s Pizza, JD Sports and Greene King are among those that have called out by financial trade sector body The Investment Association and the Hampton-Alexander review, a diversity study backed by the government.

The number of women holding the most senior jobs in the boardrooms of Britain’s biggest companies has fallen, according to a report that criticises the lack of progress made by businesses in getting more women to the top.

Analysis from Cranfield University, as part of its 20th FTSE Women on Boards Report, shows a sharp drop in the number of women occupying chief executive (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO) or other executive roles on FTSE 250 boards, and static numbers at FTSE 100 companies.

Women constitute almost half of the Nigerian’s population and its workforce. Yet the kind of work they do, the condition under which they work, and their access to opportunities for advancement at work place differ from that of men. Women are often disadvantaged in access to employment opportunities and in conditions of work as compared to men. In addition, many women forgo or curtail employment because of family responsibilities. The removal of obstacles and inequalities faced by women is advantageous to an economy’s development. For example, the Beijing Declaration affirms a national commitment to the inalienable rights of women and girls and their empowerment and equal participation in all spheres of life including the economic domain.

Also, Goal 8, target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men (including for young people and persons with disabilities), as well as equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.

According to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the percentage of men employed in the State Civil Service from 2014 to 2015 was higher than the percentage of women for both senior and junior positions.

The average percentage of women employed in the State Civil Service from 2010 to 2015 in each category (junior and senior) was 38.16 per cent, while it was 68.84 per cent for men.

Also, men dominated employment in federal MDAs while women on grade level 01 –17 plus Special grade level was 34.67, 35.08 and 32.79 per cent for 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

In the financial services sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in 2014 directed that 40 per cent of banks’ top management and 30 per cent of board directors should be women.

Reports revealed that that women constitute only 22.3 per cent of the total board appointments in Nigerian banks, while their counterparts make up 77.7 per cent since 2014.

However, FBNHoldings, Nigeria’s leading financial holding company and parent company to FirstBank is no doubt exemplary at representing the change, thus demonstratively redefined the Women in Business trajectory with women occupying various leadership positions, positioning the financial group powerhouse as a leading institution at driving Gender Balance in the Boardroom.

Leading the pack of women in the board across the group structure which comprises FirstBank and its subsidiaries , FBNQuest is Ibukun Awosika whom has been Chairman of FirstBank since 2016. Prior to being the Chairman, she was a Non-Executive Director. since 2016 . The representation further cuts across the group entity of its parent company, FBNHoldings. Other companies across the group, FBNQuest and FBNInsurance are also not left out.

Otunba Debola Osibogun, Non-Executive Director, FBNHoldings; Cecilia Akintomide (OON), Independent Non-Executive Director, FBNHoldings; Oluwande Muoyo, Independent Non-Executive Director, FBNHoldings; Dr. Omobola Johnson, Non-Executive Director, FBNQuest Merchant Bank; Oyinkansade Adewale, Non-Executive/Independent Director, FBNQuest Merchant Bank.

Others are Kehinde Adenrele, Chairman, FBNInsurance, Folake Ani-Mumuney,Chairman, FBNInsurance Brokers; Ijeoma Agboti, Non-Executive Director, FBNQuest Capital; Funke Feyisitan Ladimeji, Non-Executive Director, FBNQuest Asset Management; Titi Adebiyi, Independent Director, FBN General Insurance and Margaret Dawes, Non-Executive Director, FBNInsurance.

With such an admirably notable representation, it is no surprise that only recently, Women Corporate Directors (WCD) – Nigerian Chapter – had FirstBank host its meeting, held on Thursday, 3 October 2019 with 60 female directors and leaders of various organisations across various industries in attendance. These women discussed pertinent corporate issues with a view to promote the continued influence of women in Business and the economy, also ensuring that the needed balance on the home front is bolstered. The keynote speaker is Osagie Okunbor, managing director SPDC & Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria.”

FBNHoldings recognition of female impact in its business operations at management level no doubt sets the tone for other institutions across other industries to promote women inclusiveness in management, thereby instrumentally shaping gender balance in the business atmosphere, thus influencing ethical practices in a cultured way worthy of consistently reiterating the recognition of female at impacting the economy and National Income as a whole. This in no small measure transcends to the political space, the cornerstone of legislative impact in the economy and business activities as a whole.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, said recently that the Apex bank had made remarkable progress in closing the gender gap in the Bank.

“It is heartening that today, women represent 29.0 per cent of CBN staff and 29.0 percent of directors are women. Eight departmental directors and one Director General of WAMZ as against 26.0 per cent of staff and 25.0 percent of directors in 2014. Similarly, three out of 11 board members are women (27 percent)”, Emefiele said at the 2019 CBN Commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) in March, 2019.

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Winners Of 2019 FirstBank Sponsored National Company Of The Year Competition Contest In The Africa Company Of The Year Competition

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that Taidob College Abeokuta, the 2019 winners of the National Company of the Year competition organized by Junior Achievement Nigeria would compete against student teams from 10 other Junior Achievement member countries across Africa. The student team contestants comprise representative from the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Ghana, Zambia, Gabon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Botswana, Kenya and South Africa. The event is scheduled for Friday, 6 December 2019 at Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

The African stage of the National Company of the Year competition is a buildup and sequel to the national event hugely competed by 12 student companies from across the country, including the eventual winner Taidob College Abeokuta. Terra Kulture, Lagos played host to the event on 3 October 2019.

Speaking on the event, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said “the youngsters from Taidob College are indeed not just solution providers, but also life savers. The impact of their innovation – the Gas Leakage Detector – would go a very long way at solving the problem of fire outbreaks due to gas leakages in homes, offices, and industries. I no doubt believe that they would make Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa proud at the competition. We are delighted to associate with them and congratulate Junior Achievement on the feats so far attained”.

Last year, Inventive Explorers, from Caro Favored College Ajegunle, emerged the grand winners at the Africa Company of the Year competition in Ghana. Their rechargeable handheld LED traffic lights has solved a real problem in various congested communities and reduced traffic accidents, especially in areas with school children crossing busy streets. Over the years, FirstBank has been at the forefront of partnering with Junior Achievement Nigeria in Company of the year program and competition.

The National Company of the Year Competition (NCOY) is an annual flagship event by Junior Achievement Nigeria’s (JAN), which convenes the winners of the JA Company Program Regional Competitions across Nigeria together to compete for the National Company of the Year Award. The national winner then proceeds to represent Nigeria against other JA Africa member-nation companies.

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Keystone Bank boosts workplace engagement and productivity

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In demonstration of its commitment to promoting fitness, healthy living, fostering effective and healthy workplace collaboration amongst its staff and their family members, Keystone Bank Limited, has announced the launch of a sporting event tagged, Keystone Bank Inter-divisional Games (KIG).

According to the lender, the initiative is part of the bank’s objective in creating a better working relationship on the job thereby boosting performances and building a positive work atmosphere with employee welfare and development at its crux.

At the maiden edition held at the main bowl of the prestigious University of Lagos Sports Centre on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the exhilarating event was a culmination of various sporting activities such as football, table games and track & field. The business divisions within the bank which were grouped into four teams (White Lions, The Bulls, Phoenix and Warriors) competed in games such as sprint, chess, sack race and football. It was indeed a relaxed fun-driven atmosphere where colleagues competed for the glory of winning at the games. Families and friends who attended were also not left out, as they spent time with loved ones bonding and the children thrilled with much excitement.

Speaking on the initiative, Keystone Bank executive director, Olaniran Olayinka said: “Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace, particularly, as chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It is in view of this that KIG was initiated.

“KIG has enabled the vibrant employee force of Keystone Bank to foster better relationships outside the office which would impact on a better working relationship on the job thereby boosting performances and workplace happiness.

“We will build on the good that has been done in this maiden edition as we push to make Keystone a great place to work.”

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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Meet the 25-year-old engineer who manufactured Nigeria’s first ‘carbon fibre’ sports car

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Jerry Mallo, a 25-year-old fabrication engineer and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bennie Technologies LTD, has manufactured Nigeria’s first ‘carbon fibre’ sports car called ‘Bennie Purrie’.

The car was launched on Thursday at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

Speaking during the event, the Plateau-born engineer disclosed that the sports car is the first of many more innovative products he will be manufacturing.

He also appeared on ‘Driving Local Innovation,’ a segment on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, where he explained that the love for luxury vehicles in Nigeria and Africa informed his drive to manufacture such car.

“In Europe, we learnt that making the car is just half of the challenge, and selling it is the other half; Africa is usually is the target place to sell these vehicles, so I feel there’s a big market for it here,” he said.

He added that the availability of the resources for fabricating the car also facilitated such innovation.

Giving the specifications of the car, he said fibre was used in producing the Bennie Purrie so as to enable it withstand shocks in case of an accident.

He added that lack of shock absorbers in aluminium made ones often account for deaths of people whenever a crash occurs.

The car has since been drawing commendations from several quarters, with many using it as a reference to push for made in Nigeria products.

The Plateau state government, who sponsored the unveiling of the innovation at Abuja, also took to his social media handle to commend Mallo, with a picture of Governor Simon Lalong posing inside the car.

“Plateau ingenuity and innovation on the rise as Governor Lalong’s support for young entrepreneurs yield more results. Gov. Lalong unveiled the BENNIE PURRIE, a sports car manufactured by Jerry Mallo of Bennie Agro & Automobile Technology Ltd,” it wrote.

Mallo, however, disclosed that those willing to purchase the sports car will have to wait for two more years when the fabricator will be ready to create one fit for public use.

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