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COVID-19: FCMB Sustains Support To Government and Nigerians With Multi-Dimensional Intervention Strategy

Peter Okunoren

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As the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus pandemic) takes an intense twist, with its prevalent negative effect on individuals, households, businesses, and health systems, leading financial services provider, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), is stepping up the tempo of its interventions through various humanitarian gestures.

As a caring and responsive Bank, FCMB has ensured the stability of its robust digital channels thereby enabling customers to have full access to financial transactions and other services, while also helping the government, communities, and individuals to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

The institution’s intervention has been hinged on providing relief across a range of areas spanning across testing, the provision of PPE (personal protective equipment), food for the very needy, and ease of doing business for small and medium-scale firms.

By far, FCMB’s most significant contribution – of N250 million – has been to the intervention initiative set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in partnership with the private sector, to assist the Federal Government to respond effectively to COVID-19, known as the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID). The fund will also support households and businesses to mitigate the impact of the virus, through the building of isolation and treatment centers, providing personal protective equipment and distributing food to over 10 million of the most economically vulnerable Nigerians.

Also, FCMB is providing relief items to challenged individuals and households across Nigeria affected by the lockdown by working with various charities and state governments.

The palliatives include Personal Protective Equipment for health workers and food items to sustain a large section of the population whose means of livelihood have been affected by COVID-19 and the prevalent lockdown.

In addition, the Bank has provided support to givefood.ng coalition, coordinated by Babban Gona Farmer Services Nigeria (an agricultural franchise), which aims to provide meals for 1 million vulnerable Nigerians every week. This will go a long way to sustain a large section of the population whose means of livelihood have been affected by COVID – 19 and the prevalent lockdown.

In partnership with 54gene, FCMB is also sponsoring the testing of 3,000 people in Ogun state to determine their COVID-19 status. This support is complementing the State’s effort to determine and mitigate the extent of the spread of the pandemic.

The financial institution is equally supporting borrowing customers by providing payment moratoria during this period, to ensure they are able to survive and continue to pay their workers.

FCMB has continued to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional offerings and the institution firmly believes that the nation will emerge stronger and much more resilient at the end of the pandemic.

BUSINESS

Access Bank Celebrates Recognition Of Tracy Batta As Forbes Africa’s 2020 30 Under 30

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Helping female businesses grow through discounted access to finance is one of the many unique value propositions under the Access Bank’s W Initiative. Tracy Batta, co-founder, SmoothieExpress and a W Power Loan beneficiary recently emerged on Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 lists.

Tracy Batta co-owns Smoothie Express, a healthy focused brand known for providing consumers with healthy fast foods. Prior to her recognition under the 2020 class of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30, Tracy was recognized under Business Day’s Top100 Fastest Growing SMEs. She has since grown to become a household name in Lagos.

Since its launch in 2018, the W Power loan has impacted the businesses of growing female entrepreneurs with N14bn for expansion whilst seeking opportunities and exposure to the global market.

Speaking on the impact of the W Power Loan on female-owned businesses, Ada Udechukwu, Head, Women Banking at Access Bank says, “Ensuring access to affordable finance for SMEs and opportunities to access new markets is an integral part of Access Bank’s economic ecosystem for SMEs. Since the introduction of the W Power Loan, more women can now sit at the helm of entrepreneurial affairs and grow their businesses to be internationally recognized.  We strengthen female-owned SMEs in Nigeria by being a pillar for them to lean on for growth and expansion”.

Access Bank’s support for female-owned home-grown businesses is undeniable and this is evident in the resultant benefits from its discounted financing initiative, The W Power Loan.

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BUSINESS

Access Bank W-Initiative Welcomes New Babies Through Health Financing Scheme

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Access Bank adds another feather to its cap through the women market program, The W Initiative Maternal Health Service Support (MHSS) scheme.

The W Initiative is happy to welcome the birth of two new babies to the couples who accessed the MHSS financing for their IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) procedure having waited several years.

Since 2014, The W Initiative through its MHSS health financing program has supported the advancement of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)  to enable couples to access fertility treatment such as IVF.

Having successfully financed hundreds of procedures including fertility treatments, child delivery, fibroid treatments, surrogacy, bone marrow transplant, and other specialized procedures, The W Initiative remains ever committed to supporting more women and families by restoring hope and saving lives through its health financing scheme.

Women interested in accessing this health financing solution from the Bank can go through their service touchpoints- www.thewcommunity.com, or send a direct email to [email protected] or call 01-2273005

 

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank-Dukia Gold To Boost Nigeria’s 200mn Ounces Of Gold Potential Reserves —- FG

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has commended Heritage Bank for being part of a valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Ltd, saying such partnership stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this during a Zoom- meet & chat session, a virtual platform at the launch of nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centres held yesterday

He affirmed that the launch of this expansive project between Heritage Bank and Dukia Gold would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.

He stated, “What we are looking at here is an extremely valuable new source of trade, jobs and foreign exchange.

“This project will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives, and across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-COVID economy.

“The positive multiplier is expected to extend even further than this as the Dukia Gold project will also encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, will now have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This is set to create jobs and unleashes the economic potential of mining communities.”

Osinbajo further counted the enormous benefits of the project, “This provides a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewellery and other precious items for cash. This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company. These buying centres will also enable the responsible management of some of the electronic waste.”

Meanwhile, the project would further drive the diversification of the nation’s economy, Heritage Bank Plc, Dukia Gold which has given birth to new gold and precious metal market that will grow the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026.

Records have shown that the growth of mining production at the end of 2019 in Nigeria was 0.1% and the sector still contributes less than 0.5% of GDP compared to other African economies who are strong in mining like Botswana (38%), Democratic Republic of Congo (25%), South Africa (18%), Zambia (18%), Guinea (12%) and Ghana (7%).

However, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo stated that the partnership that would boost the mining industry production has given birth to a new market, a platform that will contribute immensely to the transformation of Nigeria’s economy.

According to him, the operationalization of this initiative aligns with the overall Economic Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria especially as it relates to the full stream diversification of the Nigerian economy, job and wealth creation, development of the solid mineral space amongst others.

Sekibo affirmed, “It is our belief that as the economy of Nigeria is being recalibrated, given the impact of the global pandemic, the government’s committed aspiration to build a robust and resilient economy will be further enhanced through the operationalization of this initiative working with all stakeholders across States and Government Parastatals, the Central Bank, Private Sector and other international actors towards the development of the solid minerals sector and its appendages.”

He explained that this would enhance a regulated market that would see precious metals and other commodities take centre stage in the endeavour to ensuring irreversible economic growth and development in alliance with a modernized Exchange for commodities trading in Nigeria.

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