NNPC report

No Plans Nationalize Unity Bank – CBN*

 

Unity-Bank
Unity-Bank

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has described as untrue report by an online medium of plans to nationalise Unity Bank Plc.

Reacting to the report, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, described it as, “fake news” and should be discarded in its entirety

He said: “The report is fake news. There is no iota of truth in it.” He added that the public should disregard such news.

The report had alleged that the apex bank’s target examination of Unity Bank showed that the Tier 2 lender is in ”grave financial condition”, with Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non- Performing Loans (NPL) ratio that breached prudential standards.

However, analysts note that just last month, the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee ( MPC) noted in the communiqué it issued at the end of its meeting that the banking industry is in good health.

According to the communique: “the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) both remained above their prudential limits at 15.8 and 38.9 per cent, respectively. The Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) at 5.89 per cent in April 2021, showed progressive improvement compared with 6.6 per cent in April 2020.”

Unity Bank’s audited FY’ 2020 results showed improved performance in key parameters. For instance, the Bank’s gross loans portfolio increased by 92.9 per cent to N206.2 billion in 2020 from N106.9 billion in 2019. The bank’s total assets rose by 67.90 per cent when compared with N293.05 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2019. Also, the lender posted gross earnings of N42.71 billion compared with N44.59 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2019, reflective of its business and economic realities of the time.
Its customer deposit portfolio grew by 34.4 per cent to N356.62 billion in 2020, up from N257.69 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2019. Profit after tax stood at N2.09 billion, while profit before tax was N2.22 billion during the year under review amidst the tough macroeconomic environment where it operated. Its net operating income rose to N25.46 billion from N23.21 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 9.71 per cent increase.

This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump, as it rose by 7.60 per cent to N17.75 billion from N16.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Furthermore, the bank sustained the growth momentum demonstrated in its 2020 full year earnings as it recorded an impressive performance of 43 per cent in both profit before and after tax in Q1 2021.

The Bank’s unaudited Q1 results show that the retail lender profit before tax (PBT) grew by 43 per cent to N784.3million from N550.1 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The profit after tax (PAT) for the period, which also grew by 43 per cent stood at N721.5million compared to the N506.1million recorded in Q1 2020.

As an outcome of increased focus on supporting local enterprises and industry, the asset portfolio also showed significant growth in loan book of 76 per cent as net loans and advances to customers increased to N223.2 billion, from N126.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period.

The total assets of the bank for the period showed an appreciable growth of 42 per cent to close at N521.5 billion, from N366.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

The balance sheet of the bank had been considerably de-risked with the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of near-zero per cent, which it has consistently maintained over time. With this, the bank ranks topmost in risk management assessment.

The bank recorded gross earnings of N11.5 billion, representing a marginal decline of three per cent when compared to N11.9billion posted in the corresponding period of 2020. The bank has assuredly intensified its recapitalization efforts by the recent updates the lender provided to the supervisory authority and significant mileage is currently being recorded as part of its corporate transformation and renewal programmes.

CITN Changes Leadership

 

CITN logo
CITN logo

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria has elected new officers to steer the affairs of the Institute for the next two years. Following the successful conduct of the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Institute on Wednesday, June 3, 2021, the leadership baton of the Institute was officially passed on to Mr. Adesina Isaac Adedayo, FCTI, by Dame Gladys Olajumoke Moyosoreoluwa Ayinke Simplice, FCTI, who became the Immediate Past President.

Adesina Issac Adebayo, FCTI, is the new President and Chairman of Council  of the Institute. Popularly called ‘The Thinking Oracle, he is a specialist in Risks Management and Economic Model Building. He obtained his B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi in 2017. He is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. Ade is also a member of the Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria (BRIPAN) and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He started his working career with the Federal Audit Department (now known as Office of the Auditor General of the Federation) in 1984. In the course of his work career, he attended the Federal Treasury Academy Course 1 in 1988 and subsequently the Course 2 in 1991 when he took the first position at the entrance examination in which staff of all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government participated.
He acquired his professional experience from the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (1984-1993) and the firms of Adetona Isichei & Co (Chartered Accountants) in 1993 (which later became known as Akintola Williams Deloitte) and was there until May 2002 when he left Akintola Williams Deloitte to start his tax and audit practice.
He practices taxation and accounting under the auspices of his two firms known as AIA Professionals (Chartered Tax Practitioners) and Adesina Adedayo & Co. (Chartered Accountants).
Over the years, Ade had served as member, Vice Chairman I & II and Chairman of various committees of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, like the CITN Think Tax, Lagos District Society, Social & Publicity Committee, Annual Tax Conference Committee, JTB Education Committee, Tax Practice Monitoring Committee, Finance and General-Purposes Committee to mention but a few. He also was a member and CITN Representative of National Tax Policy Review Committee (an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance). Ade rose through the ranks to become a Council Member, an EXCO member, Deputy Vice President and Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a position he held till June 2021. Ade also served in other Professional bodies.

Ade holds a Special Executive Masters in Leadership & Strategy from the Metropolitan School of Business and Management (UK). He is presently undergoing the Senior Executive Course 43, 2021 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos in Plateau State.

Barr. Samuel Olushola Agbeluyi, FCTI; the Vice President, holds a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy with a Master of Science (Finance) at the Lagos State University, Ojo and MBA (Marketing) from ESUT Business School, Enugu. He went on to study Law at the University of Bradford United Kingdom. He had his LLB at the Nigerian Law School. Apart from being a Lawyer, Barr. Agbeluyi is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and fellow of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (FCS).

Samuel Olushola Agbeluyi is a multi-disciplinary professional of repute who has made his modest contributions both in employment and practice. He is one professional who could be described as an all-rounder considering the unique combination of professions that could be ascribed to him. His service to the Institute spans over 10 years where he has served in various leadership capacities. He was the Honorary Treasurer of the CITN, Deputy Vice President and now the Vice President.

Mr. Innocent Chinyere Ohagwa, FCTI, ais the Deputy Vice President; a product of Government College, Umuahia and a 2nd Class Upper graduate in Accounting from the University of Lagos with a Master in Business Administration from Bayero University, Kano. He was trained and qualified as Chartered Accountant with the then firm of Akintola Williams & Co Chartered Accountants, Lagos and worked with Century Merchant Bank Limited and Muktari Dangana & Co. Chartered Accountants, Kano before joining the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Mr. Ohagwa joined the Institute in 1990 and became a fellow in 1999. Mr. Ohagwa is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) since year 2000 and in 2017, he qualified as Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and became a member of The Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA) of USA. In 2013, he was awarded a certificate of completion of the Comparative Tax Policy and Administration Programme, of Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education, Massachusetts, USA.
Mr Ohagwa is currently the Coordinating Director, General Services Group of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Abuja and he is happily married with three children.

Also Mr Simon Nwanmaghyi Kato, FCTI, who was elected as the Honarary Treasurer is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria CITN and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria ANAN. He is a graduate of Economics 1988, and equally has two Master Degrees.
He has served the CITN at various capacities over the years including being the Chairman of various committees such as Publicity, Publications and Branding committee and Membership and Professional Conduct Committee, among others.
Mr Kato is actively in service and has over 30 years work experience as a Tax Administrator as at today.
He is happily married with children.

Also worthy of note is the creation of the position of two new Deputy Registrars and the appointment of Dr. Lanre Olasunkanmi, FCTI, a Chartered accountant and Tax professional as Deputy Registrar Corporate and Internal Services,  while Mrs Afolake Oso, FCTI, a Fellow of the Institute, and a legal practitioner was appointed as Deputy Registrar, Research and Professional Services.

Nigeria’s Competitiveness In The Oil Market Will Depend On Technology – Seplat CEO

Roger Brown, Seplat CEO

Technology will play a key role in ensuring Nigeria stays cost competitive in today’s oil market, Mr. Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Plc, has said.

The Seplat CEO said this in his keynote address titled, “Oil Market Forum: Who Is In Control?” at the ongoing 2021 Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja.

With the International Energy Agency (IEA) setting out a road map to what it believes is required to achieve net carbon zero 2050 coupled with oil prices rising on COVID-19 pandemic recovery, traders betting on sustained revival in oil demand and the activities of OPEC/OPEC+, Brown noted that the end consumers, suppliers of energy, governments / regulators and providers of capital could b said to be in control of market outcomes.

Given the current market realities, he said Seplat has identified cost savings initiatives, flexibility to scale projects, promotion of innovation and gas resource development as major value drivers for all its stakeholders.

Brown therefore urged operators and other stakeholders to heighten their priority to increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs, ensured the implementation of high caliber remote working technologies, and adopt new systems, new habits and new patterns that have emerged and impacting work processes.

The Seplat CEO added: “There is the need for pursuit of strategic new opportunities and streamlining operations . Portfolios have been reshaped and capital reallocated to the highest-return opportunities, that is, those best aligned with future value creation and sources of distinctiveness.

“Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) principles are now key drivers in how companies plan for long term growth; thus the responsibility of companies to undertake gap analyses and ensure that sustainability thinking is embedded across the organization is very critical at this time.”

On oil and gas engagements, Brown urged Nigeria to reduce operational costs, aim to be lowest quartile producer, drive technological development using Artificial Intelligence; ensure lower costs to market, promote free market pricing for domestic gas with the right fiscal or other incentives, and balance LNG development with Domestic Gas – developing both.

On electricity, he advised that the country move away from off grid diesel generation, improve electricity supply chain and develop on grid gas as a catalyst for on-grid renewable energy.

While for biomass, Roger called for the development of the LPG and CNG markets, and reduction of reliance on biomass, that is, arresting deforestation. He also advocated for a balance of Environmental and Social development whilst delivering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

In embracing changes and controlling its future, he said Seplat was investing in its people and motivating them by providing a safe working environment and career development opportunities; pursuing profitable and sustainable new opportunities; driving energy transitions in its sectors and improving access to affordable and greener energy; and being a responsible and accountable corporate citizen, understand local issues and positively contributing to host communities.

According to him, Seplat is also improving profitability, maintaining strict cost control and implementing the most appropriate technologies whilst creating value for all stakeholders.

Senate Commends NNPC Anti-Corruption Efforts And  Profitability Drive

 

NNPC Towers
NNPC TowerNnN

The Nigerian Senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its efforts towards entrenching transparency and stamping out corruption from its system.

The commendation was given by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari, at a hearing which held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, to assess the level of implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy by government agencies and parastatals.
Speaking at the hearing, Senator Kwari, said it is heartwarming to learn that the NNPC was making great strides towards profitability and urged the Corporation to sustain the gains recorded so far for the good of the country.
In his presentation at the hearing, the Group Managing Director of NNPC Mallam Mele Kyari, said the Corporation was championing the fight against corruption in the Oil and Gas Industry by emplacing measures to curb incidences of corruption across its various business portfolios and by enlisting as a partner company of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
He said the Corporation, as part of its commitment to the war against corruption, has set up processes and structures that are irreversible which would ensure transparency and accountability.
“We have created an anti-corruption desk in NNPC that engages the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies on a regular basis. The desk ensures that in all our operations, every staff complies to the code of conduct procedures with consequence management. We have established regulatory compliant governance charter and transparency policy, this is a mark of our compliance to the anti-corruption strategy,” Mallam Kyari informed.
The NNPC helmsman maintained that the Corporation has automated its business operations thereby reducing opportunity for discretion to the barest minimum as part of measures to promote institutional framework for entrenching the culture of transparency in its operations.
The GMD disclosed that the Corporation, on its own, has reported several incidences of infractions such as products diversion and crude oil theft to the police, the EFCC and other investigating agencies of the Federal Government to stem corruption within the Oil and Gas Industry.
“For the first time in 43 years, NNPC, as a part of the evolving culture of transparency and accountability, published its Audited Financial Statements for 2018 and 2019. We are going to publish that of the 2020. The AFS is the only document that tells how a company does its transaction. We are happy that by the time the 2020 AFS will be published, Nigerians will see the dividends of our accountability. Mr. Chairman, no National Oil Company does what we are doing today,” Mallam Kyari enthused.
He said the Corporation, in collaboration with security agencies, has reduced the incidences of pipeline vandalism to four per cent across the country, but decried the rise in smuggling of petroleum products which he said has become a national challenge that must be addressed urgently to stem the huge loss to the nation.

 

NYSC Members Win N10m Cash Prizes In Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge  

 

: L-R: Mrs. Jane Okpongette, Assistant Director, Corps Inspection and Monitoring; Mr. DeVoe Okorie, Head Brand Marketing & Communications, Unity Bank Plc; Agu Ogechukwu Lilian, Overall Winner of Corpreneurship Challenge; Mrs. Chinyere Ekwe, NYSC Akwa Ibom State Coordinator; Victor Obichukwu Chidebere, Second place winner of the Corpreneurship Challenge; Abiona Elizabeth Oluwayenisi, third place winner of the Corpreneurship Challenge; Mr. Etop Ukpe, Uyo Regional Manager, Unity Bank Plc and Captain Atawodi S.A, NYSC Akwa Ibom Camp Commandant during the cheque presentation to winners of Corpreneurship Challenge at Akwa Ibom NYSC Orientation camp recently.  
: L-R: Mrs. Jane Okpongette, Assistant Director, Corps Inspection and Monitoring; Mr. DeVoe Okorie, Head Brand Marketing & Communications, Unity Bank Plc; Agu Ogechukwu Lilian, Overall Winner of Corpreneurship Challenge; Mrs. Chinyere Ekwe, NYSC Akwa Ibom State Coordinator; Victor Obichukwu Chidebere, Second place winner of the Corpreneurship Challenge; Abiona Elizabeth Oluwayenisi, third place winner of the Corpreneurship Challenge; Mr. Etop Ukpe, Uyo Regional Manager, Unity Bank Plc and Captain Atawodi S.A, NYSC Akwa Ibom Camp Commandant during the cheque presentation to winners of Corpreneurship Challenge at Akwa Ibom NYSC Orientation camp recently.

No fewer than 30 winners have emerged in the fifth edition of Unity Bank Plc’s flagship business plan competition, Corpreneurship Challenge, which held across ten states last week.  

The 30 winners who won cash prizes totalling N10 million emerged during the final business pitch in the fifth edition of the contest for NYSC 2021 Batch A Stream II Orientation Course, which took place simultaneously across ten NYSC camps in Lagos, Ogun, Benin, Abuja and Akwa Ibom.

Other NYSC camps where winners emerged also included Ogun, Kano, Sokoto, Enugu and Osun.

As in the previous editions, the cash prizes included a N200,000 business grant for each of the second runner ups; N300,000 business grant for the first runner ups and a star prize of N500,000 for each of the ten winners.

Some of the winners included Monday Love Sheba, Adeoye Janet and Essien Nsikak in Bayelsa camp, while Agu Ogechukwu Lilian, Obichukwu Victor and Abiona Elizabeth emerged as the winners in the Akwa Ibom State camp.

In Ogun, Olisa Sofia, Chiamaka Goldleen and Ifeanyi Onoh emerged winners to claim the cash prizes. Ekpenyong Paul Gabriel also emerged as the winner in Sokoto.

The initiative attracted massive interests among the corps members, as over 1000 applications were received but only 100 were shortlisted for the pitching session from where the thirty winners emerged.

The contestants’ business plans which ranged from fashion, fish production, poultry farming, retail chains, piggery to beverages were assessed on originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

Recall that Unity Bank debuted the Entrepreneurial Development Initiative in 2019, to specifically target corps members, as part of efforts to contribute to job creation in Nigeria. The initiative has produced 48 winners since 2019 when it debuted.

Speaking at the finale in Akwa Ibom State, the overall winner, Lilian Agu, a graduate of Mass Communication and Chinese Language from Federal Polytechnic, Oko expressed gratitude to Unity Bank for the opportunity to actualise her dream of establishing a fashion outfit.

“With this money, I plan to buy an industrial machine, rent a studio, buy a generator and buy some fabrics and start from there. Unity Bank has made my dream come true. I am not from a rich home and I have been dreaming and working hard to start a fashion business, but this grant has made that dream a reality. God bless Unity Bank,” she said.

Also, speaking during the finale in Akwa Ibom NYSC camp, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business Directorate, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade, said the competition has proved to have a great impact on youth empowerment in the country.

“The Unity Bank Corpreneurship has a very positive impact, not only for the corps members but for the entire youth population in Nigeria. It is a way to support the young men and women who are just graduating from university to grow.

“You will agree that it is not easy today to come out of the university and get a paid job, and so at this tender age, it is good that they imbibe that culture of entrepreneurship, and then with the financial support that they get from Unity Bank and the knowledge that they have acquired through the competition, they will be able to grow from job seekers to employers of labour.”

Represented by Mr. Etop Ukpe, the Uyo Regional Manager, Mr. Akinmade reiterated that “The grants are not a loan and the winners are expected to channel the funds to profitable ventures to achieve the objectives of the scheme.”

Going down memory lane, Mr. Akinmade recalled that what started in 2019 with a pilot in four states have now expanded to ten additional states and is well on its way to achieving national coverage.

He said: “We started Corpreneurship in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja. So, today we have expanded it to ten locations, and it has been hugely successful.

“This is a programme that will stand the test of time, but all we are doing is to support NYSC corps members to start their own business no matter how small and then grow with it. Unity Bank will continue to be part of their journey, to offer them a startup capital as well as business mentorship.”

NNPC Felicitates With NGE President On Re-election

T

NNPC logo
NNPC logo

he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has congratulated the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE)), Mr. Mustapha Isa, on his re-election as the president of the Guild.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, in a congratulatory letter he personally signed, stated that Mr. Isa’s re-election did not come to him as a surprise.
“Your integrity, dedication, work ethics and outstanding contributions to the Guild and indeed the journalism profession have proven you worthy for another tenure and we pray it continues to take you to greater heights,” the GMD stated.
It would be recalled that Mr. Isa was re-elected as President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors at the 2021 Biennial Convention of the Guild which held in Kano last week.

Another Shot In The Arm For Adeduntan As FirstBank Wins Global Banking Wnd Finance’s Retail Banking CEO Award

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, MD, First Bank
Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, MD, First Bank

While the age-old saying and philosophy of virtue being its own reward (or seeing doing good as its own reward) remains a strong motivating factor in doing good persistently, it helps when virtue gets recognition from time to time. Even though anyone or organisation committed to doing good will keep doing so with or without recognition,. Recognitions for virtue tend to act like a shot in the arm for such people or organisations, spurring them to commit even more to doing good.

That is what the recent award of “Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria” to Dr Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is to both him and the bank he leads. It is a shot in the arm of this foremost CEO of Nigeria’s most enduring financial institution that is also the pioneer in retail banking development in Nigeria, the premier bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, to keep steering the bank in the right direction, energising and expanding retail opportunities for all Nigerians in the process. It is a well-deserved recognition for a man and the institution he leads that would rather keep off the spotlight and focus exclusively on attending to Nigerians’ banking needs as best as they can – which is what has kept them going for 127 years and counting.

This critical role is one FirstBank is better suited to lead than any other lender given the robust retail banking framework that the bank has in place, that is riding on its innovative technology-driven operations, over 750 branches across the continents and 100,000 Firstmonie Agent banking network spread across 772 local government areas in Nigeria. It is little wonder that FirstBank, which is intricately woven into the fabric of the Nigerian society, has been an essential player in the retail space, empowering Nigerians of all walks of life by providing them bespoke and innovative financial products and services that address their multidimensional needs. The bank has been at the forefront of bridging the financial exclusion gap and enabling customers and the general public to carry out both individual and corporate financial activities which contribute to the growth and development of the national economy.

The award by Global Banking and Finance Magazine, according to Dr Adeduntan, “speak[s] to the investments we [as FirstBank] have made over the past years in…enhancing financial inclusion….” It is a loud testament to the incredible strides FirstBank has made and continues to make in the retail space under the able and dynamic leadership of the management team led by Dr Adeduntan.

The strides are in turn underpinned by the bank’s resolute commitment to putting the customer and other stakeholders at the heart of its business. Dr Adeduntan reiterates this view when he wasted no time in dedicating the award to all the bank’s “customers, as the trust they reposed in us being their bank of first choice in meeting their business and financial needs has been instrumental to the success we have achieved in our existence of over 127 years.” “We remain committed,” he continued, “to putting you, our customers, first as we contribute to the growth and development of our host communities.”

Organised to identify the banks across the world that have excelled across a number of areas, including corporate governance, sustainability and innovation, and have played a key role in the industry’s growth, the Global Banking and Finance Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. The awards were created to accord recognition to companies of all sizes which are prominent in their areas of expertise and excellence within the financial world. For Dr Adeduntan and FirstBank, the award is further proof of FirstBank’s enduring commitment to providing excellent retail banking services to all its customers as reflected in the bank’s strategic vision, diverse and inclusive workforce and performance-oriented organisational structure.

FirstBank: Nigeria’s Premier Eco-Friendly Financial Brand

 

FirstBank logo
FirstBank logo

By Jeremiah Agada

 

As the world gears up to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED), Brand Communicators focus on Eco-Friendly Brands in the Nigerian market falls on Nigerias premier and perhaps the strongest financial institution, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. The focus is on the Banks environmental policies and its impact on the global environmental issues.
This brings to fore the importance of environmental sustainability in our world today. Environmental sustainability is one of the biggest challenges and most important targets of the present times. Stakeholders (researchers, academicians, scholars, governments and non-government organizations involving individuals, communities, countries, and the continents, are increasingly focusing their attention on how to tackle the challenges associated with driving environmental sustainability. Key stakeholder concerns include the constant exploitation of the environment due to economic development. While the current generation is enjoying the fruits of economic development, they tend to be oblivious of the uncertainty and dangers that future generations would confront as a result of scarce natural resources and polluted environment. It is therefore, our responsibility to leave the planet as a self-sustainable system providing equal opportunities of survival not only to our future generations but also to all other species co-habiting with us.
In Nigeria, studies have shown that various sectors of the economy are vulnerable to climate change. These include human settlements and health; water resources, wetlands and freshwater ecosystems; energy, industry, commerce and financial services; agriculture, food security, land degradation, forestry and biodiversity; coastal zone and marine ecosystems.
Because of the seriousness of climate change and the impact it poses to the environment, an organization like First Bank of Nigeria Limited is leaving nothing to chance in ensuring an eco-friendly society. Its recognition of the environmental and social impacts of its operations has made it adopt policies and procedures that minimize negative environmental and social impacts.
In doing business, the Bank, which is Nigerias first and arguably its most prestigious, takes cognizance of potential environmental risks with a view to nipping them in the bud. This it has done by constant interactions with stakeholders, driving sustainable insurance and putting necessary frameworks in place towards ensuring that its actions as a corporate entity does not impact negatively on the environment.
As such, the sustainability of the societies and physical environments in which the Bank operates are critical to its own sustainable success. Therefore, the Bank has shown over the years that it is committed to making positive contribution wherever it does business while avoiding or minimising any direct or indirect negative impact on communities and the environment resulting from its activities, beyond its responsible lending and investment efforts.
The acknowledgement of the fact that its environmental impacts can be indirectly linked to climate change and its global effects has led the bank to adopt an approach to environmental sustainability which is two-fold based on its direct and indirect impacts. The approaches to reducing the direct impacts of its operations include approach to minimising carbon footprints and carbon offsetting; work towards carbon neutrality as well as promote wildlife and biodiversity conservation and preservation.
In minimising waste, the Bank works to improve energy efficiency in its data centres and offices as well as reduce air travels and implement safe paper use initiatives. It also increased the use of conference calls for meetings as against attending physical meeting schedules thereby minimizing fuel consumption and carbon emission from vehicles. Its Going Green efforts have also seen the Bank purchase renewable energy; promote tree planting initiatives and the indirect impact of its activities focuses largely on responsible lending.
The Banks key objectives of minimizing carbon footprints through the planting of trees, creating awareness among school children of the need to preserve wildlife and biodiversity, developing and educating environmentally conscious students through partnerships with reputable NGOs and institutions, are huge. The challenge in implementing this project is not just in identifying suitable locations with the right soil and climatic conditions for tree planting, but also ensuring students participation.
These objectives and FirstBanks responsible approach to protecting the environment has seen it partner with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Nigerias premier non-governmental environment conservation foundation dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development in Nigeria. Its on-going partnership with the NCF has seen it actively support annual activities promoting conservation and preservation of wildlife and biodiversity.
The FirstBank Conservation Initiative is part of our long-term approach to promoting sustainability, which involves minimising our direct and indirect impacts on the environment. And the success of this initiative is dependent on our meaningful engagement with our stakeholders.
With its huge expertise in environmental issues, the Bank found a worthy and perfect partner in the NCF to help implement this programme successfully. The NCF used its experience and influence to engage the various stakeholders to support the programme. This included utilising its conservation clubs, which provided educational sessions for the students on the importance and benefits of conservation and supporting biodiversity. The subsequent enthusiastic participation of the students, and the encouragement they received from the Ministry of Education and school authorities, enabled the programmes objectives to be achieved.
So far, 240 trees have been planted at the Lagos State Civil Service Model College Igbogbo in Ikorodu, and Evboesi Mixed Secondary School, Benin City. More than 1,000 environmental sustainability champions have also been appointed in these locations. These champions are young people who look after the trees and ensure that they are adequately cared for to help the bank achieve its afforestation goals. “The planting of trees is just part of our efforts to contribute to Nigerias green economy and to combat deforestation/desertification, while recognising the key role of children and young people in the sustainability agenda, the Bank in a statement disclosed.
Through its partnership with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN), FirstBank sponsored the National Company of the Year (NCOY) Competition. The competition is an extension of the COY programme that brings secondary students together to form a company, choose a business name and elect officers to oversee operations of the company for the programme duration. It teaches students to put theory into practice in order to fully understand what financial literacy and entrepreneurship is. At the end of the programme, the students that complete the programme successfully, compete in the regional competition and represent their school in the National Company of the Year competition in Lagos. In 2020, the New Phase from Brookstone Secondary School, Port-Harcourt, Rivers state emerged winner, producing an eco-friendly block. The eco-friendly construction blocks were made from plastic waste. These sustainable blocks are the next wave of sustainable construction.
Beyond the initiatives above, responsible lending remains one of the strategic pillars in delivering the sustainability goals of the FirstBank Group. FirstBank has put in place an Environmental, Social and Governance Management System (ESGMS) to help the Bank integrate environmental social and governance considerations into its decision-making processes. This includes an ESG policy and procedures for screening transactions. The ESG policy is based on existing policy documents and international best practice, while procedures to screen transactions are aimed at conducting ESG due diligence on potential transactions. These are based on Central Bank of Nigerias Sustainable Banking Principles, IFC Performance Standards, and international best practice and are tailored to FirstBanks procedures, risk management framework, risk appetite and tolerance, and adapted to its strategic objectives
The key objective of this policy is to ensure that all the transactions that FirstBank is considering funding, include adequate provision for actions necessary to prevent, control and mitigate negative impacts on the environment and communities, and improve environmental quality.
With this, FirstBank has shown its commitment to integrating social and environmental principles in all its operations; promoting good corporate governance and ensuring social and environmental considerations are included in the business decision making; reviewing and managing potential social and environmental risks in its lending and investment processes and activities and reviewing all borrowers against the criteria like exclusion list; the International Finance Corporate Performance Standards, and other applicable international standards as well as the Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) requirements.
Others initiatives are, providing constant education and training for all staff on issues of environmental and social responsibility relevant to the business; regularly communicating to all stakeholders on progress of commitments including achievements, challenges and future direction; continuous improvement on the way in which it identifies, assesses and manages Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks within its businesses.

The successful and productive implementation of the ESGMS has propelled the bank to integrate the associated checklist (which is usually completed by a relationship manager and verified by an analyst against the EIA report), into the banks credit application platform designed for reviewing credits. The goal is to ensure efficiency through automation as relevant implementation documents such as the environmental, social and governance risks screening checklist will be fully automated.
These initiatives over the years and activities have shown that environmental sustainability remains a key corporate responsibility & sustainability focus for FirstBank.

Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria – MAJAN- X-rays official launch of NIMASA’s Deep Blue Project

Maritime Security
Maritime Security

Following the propoaed launch of the NIMASA deep blue project by President Buhari, the Powerful Pen Media Chapel of Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), has concluded plans to examine the much-talked about projrct aunch of the ‘Deep Blue Project.

MAJAN Special Congress on NIMASA’s ‘Deep Blue Project is slated for Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at NAGAFF headquarters Apapa, Lagos, by 12noon prompt.

President of MAJAN, Comrade Ray Ugochukwu, who spoke on the arrangements said the discussion is going to be all inclusive and exhaustive. According to him, the focus will be on suggestions for the way forward and how the project will not be inhibited by the hydra-headed Nigerian factor.

MAJAN is therefore willing to partner with reputable stakeholders, who will like to participate in this important programme to contact the Chapel Secretary.

Recall that  President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, will officially flag-off the assets under Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the ‘Deep Blue Project’, on Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Lagos.

Recall that NIMASA under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh, as Director General, has been on the forefront of promoting the Deep Blue Projects’..
Dr Jamoh has revealed that; “With the deployment of assets of Deep Blue Project, we are entering another level of national security designed for total spectrum maritime security and better domain awareness using some of the latest technology.”

MAJAN as a group remains committed on its advocacy for a better and productive maritime sector.

All Is Set For The Launch Of Deep Blue Project By President Buhari – Jamoh

NIMASA DG , Dr. Bashir Jamoh
NIMASA DG, Dr. Bashir Jamoh

In line with the Federal Government’s resolve to ensure safety and security in the country’s waters,  the Dirrcyor Genersl of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA  Dr. Bashir Jamoh has revealed that all is set for President Buhari to lsunvh the feep blue project.

The Deep blue project is an initiative of NIMASA geared towards reducing significantly the spate of insecurity and ensuring greater safety in the maritime sector

According to Jamoh “We are trying to get it right through the Deep Blue project that will be launched soon by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We are now going out in full force to make sure we avert or stop this issue of maritime insecurity.” he said.

He disclosed that there had been improvements in maritime security in the country since the deployment of assets under the Deep Blue Project began some months ago.

Meanwhile, as part of activities to mark this year’s Children’s Day celebration, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA  visited Premier Academy School, Lugbe, in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

BusinessUpdate gathered that the visit is geared towards extending the agency’s  maritime capacity building mandate to the younger generations.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Jamoh reiterated the agency’s commitment to capacity building in the maritime industry and beyond, noting that secondary schools in the country are a good grounds to begin creating awareness. He urged the students, especially those in the sciences, to develop interest in the maritime industry by choosing maritime -related careers, especially given the increasing role of maritime in Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts.

He said the current Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) regime has opened up many opportunities in maritime industry for indigenous investors and professionals.

The DG also announced the setting up of an endowment seat and scholarships for best students from the school who are willing to study maritime related courses in tertiary institutions. He said the agency was willing to train such students both in Nigeria and abroad.

“In pursuit of NIMASA’s mandate to build capacity in the maritime industry, it became necessary to let students know the careers in the sector. From time to time, we do visit schools and, as you are aware, we have a number of tertiary institutions in the six geo-political zones we are funding  maritime education.

“When it comes to capacity building, it is very important to have a very good foundation from secondary school before you go to tertiary institution”, Jamoh said.

According to him, the Children’s Day celebrations presented a good opportunity to enlighten the students on opportunities in the maritime industry.

Educational materials were handed out to the school as part of its robust Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh.

The items presented to the school included books, computers, and T-shirts.