iCreate Africa, the organiser of the iCreate Africa Skills Festival, has said Nigeria’s best artisans will converge on Lagos from December 4 -5 to compete for laurels at the grand finale of the festival following the conclusion of the regional finals in Kaduna and Enugu.
The festival which is the biggest of its kind in Africa is in its second edition.
Sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc, from inception, the festival also enjoys support from Bosch Nigeria Limited, GIZ, Trace TV, Siemens, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), and Universal Learn Direct Academia Limited (ULDA), among others.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, Chief Client Engagement Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Moronfolu Fasinro, said the bank is partnering with iCreate Africa to boost acquisition of technical skills because it is committed to solving the unemployment challenge among young people on the African continent.
He said the way to resolve the unemployment challenge going forward is through skills acquisition by young men and women rather than focusing on white-collar jobs, adding that “We know that youth employment is a key part of creating a society that is harmonious and productive.”
Fasinro noted that vocational jobs are what move an economy in its day-to-day operations and iCreate was bringing various people together to work on how to change the narrative about the labour market.
“We are very happy to partner with iCreate to produce this sort of opportunity so that these people could change the face of employment on the continent in the future,” Fasinro said.
Also speaking, Chief Marketing Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Dapo Martins, said Nigeria needs to also focus on the export of skills instead of concentrating on the export of crude oil and agricultural products alone. He noted that most Nigerian graduates who travel abroad either find themselves washing plates in restaurants or doing other menial jobs.
He lamented the situation whereby skilled technicians are usually shipped in from outside the country because they are not available locally.
Also speaking, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCreate Africa Skills Festival, Mr. Bright Jaja, explained that it was clear to him at the beginning of the journey that the idea of the festival was different and unique, and would probably not make sense to a lot of people.
“But we were consistent because we understood the concept and background. Having done thorough research on the employment situation in Nigeria, we realised that the only solution to the challenge was to rebrand jobs away from the existing perception and notion that if one is not a medical doctor, lawyer or an engineer, he has failed,” he said.
Jaja noted that over time a lot of young people had to go through tertiary education under stress and depression even though they knew that the courses they were studying were not what they wanted or had the interest to pursue.
The Founder/CEO said the objective of iCreate was to create five million jobs in five years by empowering about one million people who would, in turn, employ at least five people in their businesses.
He said the strategy is to rebrand the way society perceives vocational skills and get young people to be interested or attracted to what they have passion for in the overall interest of the economy.
Retail Marketing Manager of Bosch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Samson Ajayi, said the iCreate Skills Festival was pivotal to the company because it addressed a lot of structural issues in the Nigerian economy, adding that as an engineering company that makes mechanical parts, the festival provided a unique avenue for the company to contribute its quota to the Nigerian economy.
Also commenting, President of Universal Learn Direct Academia Limited (ULDA), Engineer Olawumi Gasper, said the company was very happy to work with iCreate and congratulated Mr. Jaja for inspiring young Nigerians to develop a passion for skills acquisition.
The press conference was attended by other stakeholders including Trace TV, Fashion Academy, House of Tara, and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
The iCreate Skills Festival is a platform that promotes skills excellence, showcases skills standards and careers, demonstrates benchmarks of excellence in teaching and learning and creates interest in public sector agencies and private organizations to invest in skills development.
The 10 winners from the first edition represented Nigeria in Russia in 2019. They include Otareh Alvin who won in the cooking category, Nejo Tolulope (graphics), Silas Adedoyin (web design), Patrick Obafemi (app development), Barnabas Kudi (robotics), Afolabi Caleb Kayode (art), Ms. Malissa Onojo (tailoring), Yusuf Abdullahi (barbing), Kingsley Ihejirika (hairdressing), Ms. Faiza Usman Adamu (make-up), Joshua Olalekan (carpentry), Oladoja Peter (tiling), Kumshuan Talgang (plumbing) and Prince Isitua (bricklaying).
COVID-19: Heritage Bank Offers Seamless Service To Stakeholders, Curbs Impact Of Virus
As the world grapples with the impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, which has continued to cause worldwide challenges for healthcare systems, economies and corporate organizations, Heritage Bank Plc has taken practicable steps to offer seamless services to customers, whilst ensuring the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace.
The bank, however, adopted a crisis response measure in place to minimize and manage the risk arising from the disease known as COVID-19 and ensure that the payment infrastructure and logistics to maintain operations going as various State governments brace up for lockdown to contain the pandemic.
The bank’s Management in a statement explained that part of its business continuity management emanating from Heritage Bank’s corporate strategy was to guarantee seamless service delivery to the various stakeholders, adopt measures to tackle significant business risk that might have growth impact on the economy, whilst taken reasonably practicable steps to minimize the risk.
According to Heritage Bank, incognizant with the protocols proffered by the World Health Organisation, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other health agencies, Heritage Bank provided a work environment that is without risk to health and safety and adequate facilities for workers in carrying out their work, so far as is reasonably practicable.
The statement noted that the Bank has maintained a maximum of 10% of staff who constitute mainly Units heads and “must-have” working from its premises during these times of uncertainties, whilst others work remotely from home to adhere to the social distancing directive.
The bank further noted that efforts have been ongoing via its intranet and other channels to keep staff and customers up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information and provide clear direction and guidance expected of workers and customers.
“We have enforced and continued to monitor the need for workers to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing, use of sanitizer, limiting contact with others, including through shaking hands covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing require workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate seek advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 and for staff who are arriving from affected countries to self-quarantine for 14days,” the financial institution stated.
To ensure seamless banking transactions, the bank explained that customers are constantly communicated to, to adopt its available 24/7 alternate electronic channels.
“We have encouraged our customers to adopt the self-service platforms like *745*0# for balance inquiry, Funds Transfer (Within Heritage Bank): *745*1*Amount*Account Number#, self-airtime recharge: *745*Amount#, third party airtime recharge: *745*Amount*Mobile Number# and change pin: *745*00#.
“We are available via email [email protected] and social media (insert social media icons) to render the following services: Debit Card Hotlist, Post No Debit Request (PND Placement), HB Paddie unlock/ username request/ Password reset, Statement of Account (individual accounts) and general inquiries on products and services
“We have set up a COVID-19 Support Centre to offer COVID-19 safety tips to all our customers during this period, in support of the efforts of the Government and relevant bodies. Please send any information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic via these channels: E-mail: [email protected] and contact number: 01-2369099,” the bank explained.
Sterling Bank Contributes N250m To Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19
Sterling Bank Plc, has contributed N250 million as part of its commitment to the newly formed Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 created to help channel resources to combat the coronavirus disease under the theme: “We need you.”
The bank, in an email to its customers, disclosed that it is working with the Bankers’ Committee to lead the effort to raise N120 billion required by the Federal Government to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help achieve the shared goal of eradicating the virus.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said, “While this will go a long way, more still needs to be done. We have come to acknowledge that this battle will require every one of us to play our part as corporate citizens and individuals.”
He enjoined other public-spirited corporate organizations and individuals to join in the fight against COVID-19 by making a contribution to the Fight COVID-19 Fund (FCF) and help the coalition to defeat the pandemic for good. He said every Naira donated will go a long way in saving the country from the pandemic.
Suleiman said donations should be sent to:
Bank Name: Sterling Bank
Account Name: COVID Donations
Account Number: 0076813615
He urged Nigerians to show their strength by uniting against the virus, saying a Swahili proverb which translated into English means “Unity is strength; division is weakness,” is needed now more than ever.
Heritage Bank, GEZAWA Set To Transform Nigeria’s Agric Sector To Huge Commercial Hub
The Nigerian agricultural sector is set to witness huge growth, as Heritage Bank Plc the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX) has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionize agricultural value-chain, aimed at providing a fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.
Heritage Bank was appointed as the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Ltd and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.
The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange would facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa.
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who was a panelist at the 2nd GCMX Farmers’ Cooperative Forum in Kano at the weekend, stated that the partnership is targeted to de-risk the sector that would bring about structured and enhanced agro-business and attain food security that leads to economic development.
Sekibo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye explained that the partnership which would help bridge the huge gap associated to risk, will fast track effective price discovery mechanism and traceability and enhanced trade settlement services.
Specifically, the bank’s helmsman stated that under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank would provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria’s external reserves.
According to him, with its assigned position Heritage Bank would play a pivotal role in ensuring that there would be an effective and readily available platform for market linkages among players in the agribusiness value chain, involving FMCGs, warehouse operators, collateral managers, processors, farmers’ cooperatives to transact in a seamless way that guarantees quality, quantity, payment, and delivery.
Speaking the event, the ED/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo affirmed that the initiative would help foster diversification of non-oil export trade.
He, however, stated that NEPC would ensure that the primary for the signing of the MoU would be achieved, whilst calling for the need to ensure adequate and seamless supply of agricultural commodities for the business to be sustainable.
The Gezawa Project Consultant, Binchang Binfa, Managing Director of Makarios Global Resource, disclosed, “the ultimate goal was to unlock the vast potential of agricultural value chain via partnerships and synergy with like-minded enterprises, organizations and institutions that will mutually create wealth, generate local employment and contribute significantly to the economic growth and GDP the nation.”
He stated that the Exchange would provide services on price discovery and transparency, increase foreign exchange earning capacity, commodity storage and warehouse receipt system, employment generation of 15, 000 direct and indirect jobs, investment opportunities, increase in non-oil export, ease of doing business, weather report, soil test report, as well as 24/7 online trading of commodities on an alive trading platform.
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