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Oil price crash: FG proposes to cut 2020 budget by N1.5trn, suspends recruitment

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The federal government is proposing to cut the 2020 budget size by N1.5 trillion from N10.59 trillion to N9.09 trillion.

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, announced the proposed cuts on Wednesday.

The proposal has to be approved by the national assembly.

“From the expenditure side, the president has approved that we should cut down the capital expenditure budgeted by 20% across ministries, departments and agencies,” NAN quoted her to have said.

“Also, a 25% cut of all government-owned enterprises and these include the ones that are in the national budget, the 10 top ones we included in the 2020 budget but also those we did not include in the 2020 budget.

“So, all of these would have their recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure cut down by 25%.

“By these measures, we expect that the operating surpluses that would accrue to the federation will increase because when their operational expenditure reduces the operating surpluses that they remit to the treasury will also increase significantly.”

She said the ministry of budget and national planning has issued guidelines to other ministries on how the adjustments would be made.

“I can just say that the bulk cut is about N1.5 trillion, the reduction in the size of the budget. And this includes N457 billion from PMS under-recovery,” she explained.

The minister said the planned recruitment into the country’s civil service would be suspended except for essential services such as security and health services.

She said the federal executive council also agreed to restore and compliant by the civil service retirement regulations, while the modalities for the implementation of the social investment programme would also be reviewed.

Ahmed also disclosed that the council agreed to review the non-essential tax rebate currently being implemented to cut down on tax expenditure so as to generate more revenue.

“On recruitment, there is already an instruction to stop recruitment. What the agencies have been doing is replacement but even that is being suspended,” she said.

“When things improve we will go back to the issue of recruitment but for now, our wage bill is already very high.

“The president has directed that salaries and pensions must be paid unfailingly. We are maintaining our workforce as it is but we are just stopping the increase in the size of the nominal roll.”

According to the minister, the budget revisions would be based on a worst-case scenario of $30 per barrel at 2.18 million barrels per day.

President Muhammadu Buhari had constituted a committee to examine the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy and how to fund the 2020 budget after oil price fell below the budget benchmark.

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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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COVID 19: First Bank Chooses To Solve Education Challenges Facing Parents

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The CEO of FirstBank Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has announced that the Bank in partnership with government and other stakeholders is extending its attention to immediate needs in our society in the face of the widespread COVID-19 by putting in place complementary efforts in education to support students and minimize the disruption to education resulting from schools’ closure.  This is following the activation of the Bank’s Business Continuity Process and subsequent deployment of safety initiatives and measures implemented across its business outlets nationwide, to help flatten the curve and ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff customers and other stakeholders.

Dr Adeduntan explained that many parents are concerned about children and wards whose education is truncated by the current crisis and are particularly worried about keeping children at home idle as all schools from primary through to tertiary institutions are closed across the nation. Emphasising the urgent need to ensure that our children are not disadvantaged, remain engaged and stay safe during this period, he announced the Bank has concluded plans with the necessary authorities to enable as many children as possible access e-learning.

Speaking on the initiative to enable as many children move on to safe e-learning, Dr Adeduntan said “we are warmed by the fact that different organizations have risen to the various challenges and are supporting in areas such as health and welfare, and we feel the peculiar needs of our children and youth must not be left out and have therefore elected to focus on contributing to solving the current education challenge. Education remains the bedrock of any society and we believe that when we educate our children we enable our nation and produce global citizens who provide ground breaking solutions for the continent and the world at large.  So, building educational partnerships is an avenue to support our children to remain resourceful and fully engaged at this time so they can compete favorably with their peers internationally. It’s a responsible approach to empower them given that they are our future and the foundation to build our country to greatness. By partnering on this we are solving a problem for families and for our future.”

To this end, we are working with the States; United Nations Global Compact; innovative technology firms such as Robert & John to provide e-learning solution with the Government approved curriculum for students across the country. The roll out begins first week in April starting with Lagos State where FirstBank will support the roll out of Roducate which has been adjudged a best fit solution by educators, teachers and all necessary authorities. This solution has the full curriculum on both the online and offline versions with the offline version of particular interest as it eliminates the challenge posed by data affordability.

We call on well-meaning organisations and individuals to join us and collectively rise to address the challenges this current pandemic presents to our children and youth and are reaching out to other organisations with complementary solutions to also partner on this initiative for the youth who are our future. They must not be lost in this pandemic’.

For more information on how you can partner, please click on the link below

https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/corporate-responsibility-sustainability/education-health-welfare/drive-to-move-one-million-students-to-e-learning/

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