CBN Cuts Interest Rate By 100 Basis Points To 12.5%

The Monetary Policy Committee of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has cut the benchmark lending rate to 12.5 per cent from 13.5 per cent, a move the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele said would stimulate growth in the  economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the first rate cut since March 2019 and the largest since 2015.

Analysts believe the Committee took into account developments in the global  and domestic economy since its last meeting including the negative impact of COVID-19 on global growth. “Even on the domestic front the committee noted a sustained inflationary pressure April : +  8bps to 12.34 per cent y/y and a sustained  decline in manufacturing PMI”.

Seven of the 10 members of the bank’s monetary policy committee backed a 100 basis point cut, two voted for 150 basis points and one for 200 basis points, Emefiele said.

The country, a top oil exporter is facing economic challenges from the coronavirus outbreak and sharp falls in crude prices, which have triggered decline in growth.

Emefiele said the lower rate would “stimulate credit expansion to critically important sectors”, which in turn would also stimulate employment and revive economic activity for a quick recovery in economic growth.

The Federal Government government expects the economy to contract by as much as 8.9 per cent this year, but Emefiele said the country could avoid a recession.

He said the economy could contract in the second and third quarters but recover in the fourth with the fiscal and monetary policy measures put in place by the authorities.

The decision surprised analysts. The central bank has kept interest rates tight for the last two years to curb inflation, support the naira and attract foreign investors to its debt market.

“This is a surprise. Not least because, despite the central bank’s relative optimism on growth, the question is really around the potency of the MPR (monetary policy rate),” said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and Middle East at Standard Chartered

CSCS Records 162.5 % Revenue Growth As Shareholders Approve N4.3billion  Div.

CSCS 26 AGM
CSCS 26 AGM
Shareholders at the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) approved N0.86 dividend per share payout to it’s members The AGM was held by proxy at the Nigerian Stock Exchange Event Centre, Lagos whilst
observing relevant social distancing protocols and hygiene, aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
Following the approval of N0.86 dividend per share proposed by the Board, CSCS would be paying a total of N4.3billion to its shareholders, some 22.8% year-on-year growth in return to shareholders, when compared to N3.5 billion dividend (i.e N0.70 dividend per share) paid in the previous year.
Speaking on the performance of the company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema commended the resilience of CSC amidst market volatility and waning transaction volumes in 2019: “This set of results and impressive returns to shareholders are commendable, particularly when put in the perspective of the relatively weak liquidity in the market in 2019. This feat reflects the tenacity of the management in diversifying the business and commitment to cost efficiency. Whilst transaction fees waned, it is satisfying that CSCS sustained both top and bottom-line growths, with revenue and profit before tax of N9.1billion and N6.3 billion respectively”, the Chairman noted.
Also commenting on the results, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri said; “my colleagues and I remain committed to our earnings growth and cost efficiency philosophies , as we are driven by the ultimate objective of creating superior value for shareholders and enhancing market efficiencies. I am pleased with the 165% growth in non-core earnings, reflecting our tenacity towards diversifying the business. More importantly, the overall performance reflects the pay-off of our painstaking investment in people and new technologies, as we strengthen our capacity to serve our participants better and meet anticipatory need of the market.”
“Notwithstanding the inflationary environment, we closed 2019FY with 31.5% cost-to-income ratio, demonstrating continuous improvement in cost efficiency. As we deliver on our strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the post-trade segment of the Nigerian capital market, we are upbeat on the earnings outlook of the Company, with expectations of delivering superior returns to shareholder over the long term”, Mr Jalo-Waziri added.
While speaking beyond the financials, the Chief Executive Officer highlighted that CSCS will continue to strengthen its partnership with all market stakeholders towards deepening the market for mutual growth. “In 2019, we seamlessly delivered on our core responsibilities of safe depository, clearing and settlement of capital market transactions, but these do not excite us, as we are not in business for these table stakes, which we consider to be routine. We have greater and audacious ambitions of partnering with our stakeholders in realizing the huge potentials of the Nigerian capital market through innovations. I am pleased that we are laying solid foundations for creating value and impactful innovations for the Nigerian market, even as we reckon the odds”, the CEO noted.
Whilst speaking on the Coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Jalo-Waziri noted that the company activated its Business Continuity Plan requiring staff to work from home well ahead of the Federal Government’s lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.
Mr. Jalo—Waziri concluded, “I am happy to report that we continue to seamlessly serve the market remotely, extracting the benefits of our proactive investments in new technologies and people. Whilst operating remotely over the past eight weeks, we continue to record 99.99% uptime across all our channels, with a resounding commitment to efficiently support all primary and secondary market transactions through this challenging time, and always.”
CSCS has a diversified shareholder base, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange, some of the largest Nigerian banks, private equity firms, other institutional investors and thousands of retail investors. The shares are traded over-the-counter through the NASD-OTC, the premier market for trading unquoted securities of public limited companies. As at Friday, 22 May 2020, the b bid/ask quote on the shares of CSCS indicate a price of N12.69 per share, having rallied over 70% in the past two years.

Shareholders Commend Sterling Bank’s 2019 Financial Performance

Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank
Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc have expressed delight with its financial performance and dividend payout for the financial year ended December 31, 2019. They gave the commendation at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held virtually by proxy and streamed live from the MUSON Centre in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting,Boniface Okezie, President, Progressive Shareholders said “Our bank’s Annual General Meeting is always a day of celebration; a day to give kudos to the board, management and entire workforce for their hard work. But we are constrained by COVID-19 and cannot roll out the drums to celebrate the achievement of our bank today. All the same, we thank the board and management for the impressive outing in 2019 and the dividend recommendation.

“Looking at performance highlights, the bank has done a lot to grow our assets to N1.182 trillion. Loans and advances have also grown, operating income has grown, and our deposit base should hit N1 trillion by next year. We commend the board for retaining earnings, protecting shareholders’ funds, and ensuring there is no insider abuse as it relates to loans. We are happy that our bank is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and keeping the environment clean through its support for LAWMA.

Also speaking, Sir Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) appreciated the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 percent and described it as “quite good.”

As a shareholder who is also a customer of the bank, Sir Nwosu was full of appreciation for the way employees of the bank attend to customers and expressed the hope that this excellent service delivery would continue to differentiate Sterling Bank post-COVID-19.

Nonah Awoh, a shareholder, commended the bank for its level of financial disclosure. He said, “I don’t think it is out of place to have payments of external assessors stated. I want other companies to learn from Sterling Bank and do the same.”

Also, Mr. Gbenga Idowu, National Coordinator of Shareholders United Front (SUF), commended the bank’s strategic focus on the HEART sectors, affirming the importance of these critical sectors to national growth and development in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Idowu urged the bank to remain committed to these critical sectors, most especially agriculture, which he described as the future of the country. The HEART sectors are Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation.

Mathew Akinlade, President, Noble Shareholders Association also commended the bank for bringing down its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio from 8.7 percent in 2018 to 2.2 percent in 2019, a development which he described as below the benchmark of five percent prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. He lauded the bank for compliance which reduced penalties for contraventions in 2019 by 73.3% compared to 2018.

Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said the bank’s shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 percent to N119.6 billion because of increase in retained earnings despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated during the financial year ended December 31, 2019.

The Chairman said the recorded growth in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities. He added that the Board of Directors recognised the importance of dividends to its shareholders and constantly sought to balance this with capital requirements to support the bank’s next wave of
growth.

“Accordingly, the Board recommends the payment of three kobo per share as dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019 to reward our loyal and committed shareholders. This affords the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution,” he said.

TinCan Island Port Deploys “Time Release Study Tool” For Trade Facilitation And Revenue Generation, Collects N17.84bn From Jan – April

Comptroller Musa
Comptroller Musa
In line with efforts to enhance revenue collection, the Tincan Island Port has beefed up its Trade Facilitation process with the deployment of “TIME RELEASE STUDY TOOL” for strategic planning in determining the actual time required for the Release and Clearance of goods, right from the time of arrival to physical release from Customs Control.
This among other measures was confirmed by the Customs Area Controller(CAC), in a recent chat with some Stakeholders.
The CAC explained that Time Release Study (TRS) a strategic tool is capable of identifying bottlenecks in the trade Value Chain and creating an enabling environment for effectiveness and efficiency in Operations.
He maintained that it is on the strength of this and other parameters that the Command generated a total of One Hundred and Seventeen Billion, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-Two Naira and Sixteen Kobo Between January — April 2020,
despite the Global Pandemic which has posed a great challenge. The figure is against the sum of One Hundred and Six Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-Four Million, Six Hundred and Forty-Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen
Naira and Twenty-Five Kobo generated same period in 2019, reflecting a difference of Eleven Billion, One Hundred and Ninety-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Fourteen Naira and Ninety-One Kobo
While responding to issues bothering on challenges amidst the Covid-19, the Comptroller reiterated the readiness of the Command to ensure adherence and compliance with the extant protocols by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) towards containing the Spread of the Virus. He disclosed that prior to the declaration of the Virus as a Pandemic Disease, the Command had conducted series of Seminars and awareness campaign, targeted at sensitizing the officers/men as well as Stakeholders on measures to adopt in dealing with the menace. These measures according to the CAC would be sustained even after the Post Covid-19 era.
“Even at the onset of this Pandemic when pressure, anxiety and general apprehension was the order of the day, the Command demonstrated resilience, sagacity and compassion in its approach to the novel Pandemic, such that tension was reduced from the psyche of the operatives with confidence inspired that enabled them to attend to their functions without let or hindrance”.
“With this Pandemic, the Command will upscale her sensitization on the need for Nigerians to fully take advantage of the operations in Export Trade, especially at this moment when it has become compelling for diversification of the Economy for National Development”.
“We use this medium to remind Nigerians to cease the opportunity of the numerous incentives by the Federal Government in the area of Export, to draw and attract the consciousness of Nigerians to the advantages in Export Trade”.
With the Time Release Studies Tool, we have generated statistical data on the actual time declarations were made up till the time of Release from Customs Control. It is on the basis of this, that the Command realized that the Nigeria Customs Service is only involved in two major functions in the Trade Value Chain (Examination and Release of Cargo) from Customs Control. The unwavering commitment of the Command necessitated the need to work assiduously towards
ensuring that all operational bottlenecks are removed from the Value Chain, for effectiveness and efficiency in accordance with Global Standards.
Seaking further, the CAC noted that inspite of the few challenges mitigating against it’s performance, he pointed out that the Command will not let its guards down in the pursuance of its official mandate.
He appreciated the support and counsel from the Customs Management led by Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his Management, while also applauding the renewed enthusiasm of the officers/men which is evidenced in the operational profile of the Command.
“The CAC, equally eulogized heads of Security and Regulatory Agencies in the Port for their consistent efforts at supporting the Command in realizing its statutory mandate.” “Also commended the Maritime Media both Print, Electronic and Online for their quality reportage of the happenings in the Sector”
Generally speaking, the CAC thanked the Stakeholders for their continuous engagement with the Command and requested the strengthening of the collaboration.

Zenith General Insurance Records PBT Increase Of 16%

Zenith General Insurance Limited has posted a full-year financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019.
A review of the results showed positive improvements on a year-on-year basis with profit before tax rising by 16% from N3.16bn to N3.67bn while profit after tax inched up 10% from N2.79bn to N3.06bn.
The company also maintained a robust balance sheet closing the year with total assets of N40.1bn and a shareholders’ fund of N25.9bn.

Gross premium grew by 17% year-on-year from N13.7bn to N16.1bn, while underwriting profit grew hy 46% from N2.77bn to N4.06bn. The company made substantial gains from reduced claim expenses and healthy growth in gross written premiums.

On the same vein investment income moved up 2% year on year, up from N3.55bn in 2018 to N3.63bn in 2019 despite lower yields on most investment classes in 2019.

Commenting on the financial results, the Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kehinde Borisade said “we are re-affirming our mission statement that Zenith General Insurance Ltd exists to ensure peace of mind and also create value to people in a world of uncertainties. This is evident in our strong financial performance showing improvement across the board through increased premium income, underwriting profits and investment income despite the economic headwinds witnessed in various sectors of the economy. We also ensured prompt settlement of claims with total claims payment of N3.8bn for the year and an average settlement turnaround time of three days.”

“our company has continued to maintain a very strong and healthy financial position with a growth of 6% year-on-year on total assets, and a 4% increase in shareholders’ funds. We also continue to strive to be the best in the insurance industry; maintaining the strongest solvency position and closing the year with a solvency ratio of 726%” he added.

Zenith Insurance, one of Nigeria’s leading insurance institutions is one of the first Insurance companies to have met the recapitalisation requirements of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) by recapitalising its share capital from N3bn to N10bn.

COVID-19:  Sustainable Economic Growth Is Achievable Through SMEs’ Partnership, Rigorous Commitment To Business – Sekibo

fie sekibo
fie sekibo
In light of the sharp dwindling in the global economy occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that with partnership, truth, chgaracter and rigorous commitment to businesses, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can revamp the nation’s economy for sustainable growth.

He also stated that evidences have shown that for SMEs to continue to survive and remain the bedrock of any vibrant economy, the players must continuously reinvent themselves, complement each other, dream big, possess cutting edge ideas and think and rethink before venturing into businesses.

Speaking during a webinar session, a virtual conference platform at the Upgrade Summit 2020, on the theme, “Converting Ideas into Reality with Focus on SME’s” Sekibo emphasized the need for SMEs to look inward, learn and relearn, possess the spirit of self-sacrifice and believe, whilst advising that they must be bold and should not be afraid to fail because failing is not a failure and should not give up because they had failed.

According to him, most entrepreneurs burn with ideas but they need to mine them so that they could blossom, remarking that they need to have mentors that will enable them to achieve their goals and sell the ideas.

“Among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, there has been too much of an individual focus, rather than a holistic or intergenerational focus. There is not enough focus on partnership among Nigerian SMEs and this causes ventures to fail,” Sekibo stated.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that more needed to be done in the area of empowering entrepreneurship sector by the government and financial institutions because it is an agent of development.

On Heritage Bank’s efforts so far, the MD/CEO affirmed that its philosophy does not rely on traditional banking metrics like growth in the number of accounts, but according to him, “one of our major cardinal point as a bank is supporting micro, small and medium scale businesses and our strong desire to see young men and women succeed in any area of their business. This will help the society and economy to grow, thereby moving the nation from poverty occasioned by Covid-19 to prosperous economy,” he added.

Sekibo, however, hinted that SMEs could take advantage of its products for seamless banking transactions to boost their businesses like Stockit, HBPadie and the newly launched 24/7 alternate electronic platform via USSD Code *745#.

“We have encouraged SMEs and customers alike to adopt the self-service platforms like *745*0# for balance enquiry, 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#,” he said.

He further explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors such as the agricultural value chain: fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc., cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry: tourism, arts and crafts, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).//End.//

Q1, 2020: Sterling Bank Grows Net Trading Income By 126.2 Percent

Sterling Bank Plc, a full service national commercial bank, has reported a net operating income of N18.779 billion during its first quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared with N18.565 billion during the corresponding period of 2019, representing an increase of 1.2 percent.
This was made public in the bank’s condensed unaudited group interim financial statement released over the weekend.!
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank’s net trading income grew remarkably to N984 million as against N435 million during the corresponding period, representing an increase of 126.2 percent, despite a very challenging macro-economic environment.
Overall, the Bank recorded gross earnings and profit after tax of N32.9 billion and N2.065 billion respectively for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.
The bank’s marginal drop in net profit was attributed to a combination of decline in fees and commission income following the downward review of transactional charges and a slight increase in total expenses which rose from N15.3 billion in 2019 to N16.6 billion in 2020. The increase was driven mainly by other operating expenses as well as depreciation and amortization costs. Income tax expense also went up from N33 million in 2019 to N154 million in 2020.
However, the bank was able to reduce its non-performing loans from 2.2 percent to two percent during the review period.
The CEO added that the bank’s deposit base rose to N898.576 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from N892.660 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, loans and advances up to N627.122 billion from N618.732 while total assets rose to N1.231 trillion from N1.182 trillion, representing a growth of 4.1 percent.
Also, during the review period, the bank managed to reduce cost of funds further by 18.4% on the back of growth in low cost deposits, resulting in a growth in net interest income to N15.449 billion.
Sterling Bank has an authorised share capital of N16 billion, made up of 32 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of which N14.395 had been issued and fully paid-up and a share premium of N42.8 billion.

SEC Reopens Head Office, Harps On Full Disclosure by CMOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reminded regulated entities in the capital market to continue to make adequate disclosures on the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses
This was contained in a circular by the Commission to provide update to stakeholders in the Capital Market, Monday.
The circular states, “While we continue to monitor the evolvement of the pandemic and its impact on the capital market, all regulated entities are reminded to make adequate disclosures and report on how the pandemic is impacting operations and discharge of services to investors and other stakeholders.
“We also wish to assure investors that while efforts are on-going to ensure that capital market services remain accessible, the Commission’s priority is the protection of investors. Kindly contact us through sec@sec.gov.ng for complaints and enquiries.
The SEC also stated that following the Federal Government’s partial easing of the lockdown measures introduced to minimize the spread of Covid-19 across Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reopened its head office in Abuja.
According to the circular, the Commission, in compliance with the various guidelines issued by relevant authorities, said its office is open to members of the public between 10 a.m. and 1p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
However, due to the need to protect its stakeholders and members of staff, the Commission has advised very strongly that Stakeholders use its various e-channels to communicate and interact with the Commission and that Physical visits should only be considered as a last resort.
Other guidelines issued by the SEC are that all meetings and events will be convened electronically until further notice; All filings shall continue to be received electronically; All visitors will be subjected to temperature checks and hand sanitization before gaining access to the Commission’s building; and also visitors are expected to wear facemasks and abide by social distancing rules while present in the Commission’s facility.
The Commission stated that personal visits are not allowed at this time adding that visitors would be expected to state their purpose and identify themselves at the entrance.
The SEC also strongly recommends that appointments are booked in advance of physical visits.
The SEC therefore advised all capital market stakeholders to continue to adhere to the safety guidelines issued by the NCDC and other relevant agencies on Covid-19. Together, we will overcome this pandemic.

FOREX REPATRIATION: CBN Assures Investors

BREAKING: CBN officially floats naira
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has assured that despite the dwindling revenue from the sale of crude oil globally, investors have nothing to worry about as the security of their investments are guaranteed.

Speaking in Abuja, Mr. Emefiele said investors interested in repatriating their funds from the country were guaranteed to get their money, notwithstanding the drop in the revenue from crude oil. He noted that the Bank had put in place policies to ensure an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.

He, however, urged investors to be patient as such repatriations are processed in accordance with the Bank’s policy of orderly exit of investments.

Recalling that a similar situation occurred in 2015 over declining revenue, Emefiele said that the CBN was able to settle all commitments in an orderly manner.

According to the Governor, the foreign exchange available would be devoted to strategic importion or service obligations that are priority.
On the plans of the Bank in tackling the economic impact of the COVID-19, he said the CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, was committed to galvanizing the manufacturing sector in a bid to reset the economy.

While disclosing that the CBN had met with banks, manufacturers in the health sector and the larger manufacturing group, he explained that@ the challenge posed by the pandemic necessitated that, as leaders, the fiscal and monetary authorities must work together to moderate the health and economic impact of the COVID-19.
Emefiele said the COVID-19 presented Nigeria with an opportunity to reset the economy and as such there was need for the country to prepare itself to get the manufacturing sector to work, while the banking sector supports the economy.

With the revenue drop from crude, the CBN Governor said Nigeria had no choice but to diversify its economic base. He said the time had come for Nigerians to produce what can be produced in the country and consume what is produced in the country.

NSE To Support Fight Against COVID-19 with N100m

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has announced the donation of the sum of N100 Million to support the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria. N60 Million out of this sum will be donated to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC), while the balance N40 Million will be devoted to the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign.

A statement made available to Businessupdate explained that the CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led committee, comprised of the capital market community and set up to galvanize the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. In addition to its efforts as part of CMSCC, the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign will see the NSE donate over 100,000 reusable face masks to states most affected by COVID-19. In addition, The Exchange will run an enlightenment program on the safe use of masks on traditional and social media.

This initiative comes on the back of a growing call for the use of masks as an effective measure in slowing the spread of COVID-19. With the increasing body of evidence that the use of masks by the populace could slow the spread of coronavirus, several countries, including the United States of America, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Canada, and Nigeria to name a few, have adopted this control measure.

Speaking on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON said, “At the Exchange, we recognize the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians and the need to adopt more proactive steps in stemming the tide. In line with our tradition of supporting the communities where we operate, we have launched the Masks For All Nigerians campaign to ensure that protective masks get into the hands of citizens in the more vulnerable places.”

“Through our media enlightenment engagement, we will raise awareness on the proper use of masks, continue to encourage adherence to the guidelines that have been provided by relevant agencies and emphasize that wearing of masks alone is not enough protective measure against COVID-19. We have also been deliberate with this intervention by patronising local manufacturers in our efforts to support indigenous businesses, who we have mandated to comply with the mask production specifications provided by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC),” Mr. Onyema further stated.

On his part, the President of the National Council, NSE, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo said, “We are facing an unprecedented existential threat that requires us to adopt a more collaborative approach in fighting this pandemic especially where social interaction is inevitable. As we work to encourage the use of Personal Protective Equipment through adequate production and distribution of reusable face masks, we call on the capital market ecosystem to support this initiative by wearing a mask when in public settings and donating masks especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid so as to protect lives leading to the reactivation of our economy.”

The Exchange has displayed remarkable resilience during this pandemic and continues to support the fight against COVID-19 in line with the strategic pillars of its Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) strategy – community, workplace, marketplace and environment. The Masks For All Nigerians campaign and the donation of masks will provide immense support to the Government in reaching communities who have hitherto been left vulnerable. The Exchange continues to support remote working and trading; promote market deepening activities; create an enabling regulatory environment for stakeholders; and recognise the efforts of public and private sector players in raising awareness, ramping up testing and increasing the capacity of the health sector to slow the spread of COVID-19.!