Nigeria’s aviation industry has been losing about N21 billion monthly since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, an official has said.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
He said the huge loss is associated with lack of activities at the sector whose income solely depends on flight operations.
“In civil aviation, we are in a very difficult moment like everyone else. All of these things started because someone travelled and unfortunately came back home with it (ailment) and the consequence is what we have been going through.
“We are the worst-hit than any other sector. Based on the trend of events before COVID-19, the total loss is about N21 billion approximately plus about N3 billion tangentially and this is divided in this form: N7 billion for aviation agencies which they lose in a month, N10 billion for airline and N4 billion for ground handling, catering and others and the tangential N3 billion,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all sectors of the economy.
The Nigerian government had on March 23 shut all international airports in the country for an initial period of one month. Local airports were also shut days later. Following the one month completion, the airport closure was extended by two weeks.
An additional four weeks extension was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The move was part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus which has affected over three million people worldwide and killed over 270,000.
However, the government said emergency and essential flights could be operated from any of the airports within the period.
The minister said statistics from the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) on COVID-19’s economic impact on Nigeria has revealed a revenue loss of $994 million.
“Also the figures from the International Airline Transport Association (AITA) Economics gave economic impact in Africa’s largest aviation market and that for Nigeria; airline revenue loss is $994 million. In terms of employment at risk in Nigeria, it is 125,370 and loss of contribution to the GDP is $885 million.
FirstBank Provides Free E-learning Subscriptions, Targets One Million Students
Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced that thousands of students have been signing up to access the e-learning solutions for free which is provided in partnership with Roducate and Lagos State Government.
This is in furtherance to the Bank’s resolve to close the gap of the disruption in children’s education due to schools’ closure, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Roducate e-learning platform is structured in line with the government’s accredited curriculum for primary, secondary and tertiary schools across various fields of academic endeavours, such as science, commercial and arts.
Also, it includes tutorial videos to reinforce the learning engagement as well as assignments and mock exam to test the students’ knowledge and progress in the course of studying. In addition, learning on the platform enables one to take notes for quick reference.
In view of the need to foster extra-curricular activities – beyond academic pursuit – the Roducate e-learning platform is configured with exciting features to make learning exciting and fun. These features include podcasts and various games such as brain pulse, monster munch etc. which allows one to play with other students online thereby building relationships and promoting interactive learning.
Speaking on the implementation of the initiative, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “The partnership with Lagos State has seen us provide low-end devices for students preloaded with Roducate offline; content which include Government accredited curriculum for primary through secondary education and several university courses. This solution will see Lagos State offer children in the lower bracket, who may not have access to devices or data from home affordable smart phones preloaded with the curriculum. The phones have SIMs and limited data tied, only, to the Roducate learning product, which means the recipients cannot browse, encouraging safe learning but can still submit tests, mock exams etc.”
Adeduntan further noted that ‘’currently our partnership offers students free online access to the education solutions. We encourage parents and guardians to have their children and wards registered in this initiative so their educational development is not held back,” he concluded.
FirstBank Cardholders Record N1.18trn in Transactions Value During Lockdown
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with her customers, focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and effective leadership. These, amongst others, are the reasons the Bank has dominated the financial market for over 126 years.
The Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructural development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialization schemes, and entrenchment of the cashless policy which gave rise to electronic cards being a veritable entity in the day to day transactions among the bank’s customers. Consequently, the use of its wide range of cards, developed with the ‘man on the move’ in mind, come with far reaching benefits and rewards, connecting the remotest of places even as the world is plagued by the novel Corona virus disease today.
The world as we know it today, is a global village, and its connectivity is at the tip of an individual’s finger. That aside, it also revolves around the use of ‘ordinary’ but highly customised cards and FirstBank is a confirmed Leader in this space. There’s no gainsaying the fact that for 126 years and counting, FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier bank, with accolades and awards trailing its existence, has continued to blaze the trail in certainly every financial innovation. And as the name signifies, has continued to be the first in virtually everything banking and finance. Little wonder that in December 2015 and May 2016, FirstBank was named the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions. Subsequently in 2017, the Bank also attained the Milestone of 10million card base, a feat that is first of its kind in West Africa and Second in Africa.
There is hardly any banking innovation, which is not traced to the company that has overtime woven itself into the very fabric of the society. Commenting on FirstBank’s strides, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, disclosed that the bank’s 53, 000 agents across the country processed about N512 billion worth of transactions with differing values while the lockdown lasted. He noted that the bank was “able to actively support her customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.” This is nothing short of the FirstBank advantage.
Adeduntan reiterated the faith Nigerians have in the use of FirstBank cards, saying that during the period of the lockdown, Nigerians with FirstBank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 Trillion as they relied on the Bank to settle their banking needs. In addition, the Bank’s CEO noted that approximately 12.6 million withdrawals to the tune of N156 billion were carried out across FirstBank’s ATMs nationwide.
“Our customers made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 Trillion across our digital channels. We have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile, USSD and First-Online platforms,” the CEO informed.
While calling on lovers of stress-free banking to get on board, the FirstBank CEO further assured existing customers of the bank’s relentless efforts to ensure that banking transactions continue seamlessly, adding that COVID-19 will not slow down her activities and efforts at staying true to her brand, and promise to her customers.
FirstBank cards come in a wide range of categories, each fulfilling tasks that are better imagined, but nevertheless are flexible and offer comfort, stress-free banking and wholesome peace of mind. It is therefore not a coincidence, that FirstBank is and remains Nigeria’s highest card transacting bank; a product of carefully thought out process, hard work and the quest to keep its customers first in all things. This is especially important at a time when movement and business activities were largely hampered by the lockdown, with the maintenance of social distance and the potential increase in the use of the Bank’s alternative channels – which is facilitated by its cards – for various transactions and business activities, thus staying safe to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The range of cards available to customers of FirstBank are categorised into three broad groups, viz; DEBIT, CREDIT and PREPAID Cards. The grouping covers outstanding cards offerings such as Naira MasterCard, Verve Card and the pioneering Visa Multi-Currency Card. Others are Expressions MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard, Visa Infinite Credit Card, Visa Gold Credit Card, Naira Credit Cards (Visa Classic and Platinum), Visa Prepaid Card and Verve Prepaid Card.
FirstBank’s Naira MasterCard & Verve Card are Secured by Chip & PIN technology with local POS/Web limit increase available upon request. The Naira denominated MasterCard comes with various benefits such as online purchases, bills payments and cash withdrawals at ATMs world-wide. The various transaction limit(s) on Naira MasterCard issued by the Bank are N150,000 for ATM transactions, N2,500,000 for POS and N1,000,000 for Web transactions.
The FirstBank Verve Debit Card works with Chip and PIN technology to secure transactions. It allows the cardholder to conveniently pay for goods and services and is accepted by all ATMs, POS, Web, Mobile, Kiosk, and Bank Branch connected to the Interswitch network in Nigeria. It is available to all account holders and enables daily transaction limits of N150,000, and N500,000 on ATM and POS channels respectively. Customers can transact up to N1 million on the Web in a single transaction.
FirstBank cards also offer the Card Protection Transactions feature, which allows the cardholder to activate or deactivate it for all types of transactions, channels and locations, through the Card-in-Control Service on the Firstmobile app. The steps are few and simple: On the Firstmobile app, go to Self Service > Card Services and choose card type (Debit, Credit, or Prepaid) to be activated or deactivated.
Another card innovation service by FirstBank is the Visa Gold Card, which offers higher daily spending capacity and limit on ATM, POS and Web. With the Visa Gold Card, the customer is assured of $1,000 daily ATM withdrawal, $10,000 POS transaction and $5,000 on the Web at any location around the world. It is a dollar denominated international Premium Credit Card issued in partnership with Visa International.
Moreso, it guarantees access to international emergency services such as Emergency Card Replacement & Emergency Cash Advance in situations where the card gets lost or damaged. The Visa Gold card comes handy when making airline bookings with its smooth seamless purchase options.
Yet another, among the FirstBank’s super cards, is VISA Debit Multi-Currency Card. It is by all intent and purpose, the first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in Nigeria. It is an enhancement to the existing Visa Debit Dual Currency card and can be linked to any or all NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts. It is an international card with Chip and PIN technology which can be used to make payment anywhere in the world and across all channels – ATMs, POS & Web. With the Visa Debit Multi-Currency card, cardholders can make daily withdrawals to the tune of N150,000 (local) and $1,000 (international) from the ATM. However, on the Web, a total of N1,000,000 is permitted locally while $6,250 is allowed on the international corridor daily. POS transaction limit is N2,500,000 (local) and $2,500 (international).
The Platinum Debit MasterCard is a premium Debit Card denominated in Naira. It is linked directly to a customer’s Naira denominated Current and/or Savings account. It offers a convenient alternative to the use of cash, and cheques by giving direct access to funds in cardholders’ accounts across all channels like ATM, POS, and WEB etc.
Like other card types, its transactions are easily monitored via the FirstBank FirstMobile App or FirstBank Internet Banking service and offers 24-hour access support for all card-related complaints through First Contact. It is a card linked to a Naira denominated account, and it is valid for three years.
It is designed to suit the lifestyle of senior and management executives of multinational companies and leaders across various industries and sector of the global economy. Its daily limits include; ATM: N300,000; POS: N3million; Web: N2,000,000 as well as Cross-border TXN limit: $500 monthly.
For a brand that has consistently remained on top of its game, FirstBank Cards have received global recognition, as well as multiple honour for its reliable and trusted services.
Speaking further, Adeduntan highlighted that the contactless capability of the bank’s Visa and MasterCards support less human-to-human contact in executing transactions, in the same way that the Debit Cards have remained the base channel for self-onboarding to any digital channel such as USSD, Firstmobile, FirstOnline etc. It is therefore, imperative that customers get a Debit Card because of its peculiar nature to get enrolled on FirstBank’s digital channel for the best of services.
FirstBank’s benevolence did not end with making cards available to customers, but has initiated value added services attached to the cards including ‘discount at Merchants location such as Jumia Friday, Health Plus, among others. These are, without an iota of doubt, exclusive to FirstBank cardholders. This is why you must get your card(s) if you are yet to. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call your Relationship Manager/Private Banker for whatever card options you require.
FirstBank Sustains Positive Impact, Welcomes Back Customers
FirstBank, Nigeria’s leading financial institution and Africa’s Bank of Choice has expressed its appreciation to the public – especially its customers – for their continued patronage of its services during the COVID 19 lockdown, whilst assuring the public that stringent measures have been implemented to ensure its branches and locations across the country operate in line with the health and safety guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Expressing the Bank’s delight at welcoming customers to its branches and locations from Monday, 4 May 2020, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Bank’s CEO noted that these safety measures include ensuring personal protection, as wearing face masks is now mandatory; maintaining social distancing by reducing physical contact by at least one meter from the next person and queue guides and markings are in place to guide customers; as well as enhancing the practice of personal hygiene as hand washing stations and hand sanitisers have been provided.
Speaking on the impact made by the Bank across its sub-Saharan business Dr. Adeduntan said “We are glad that our investment in technology over the years has really borne fruit as many of our staff were able to work remotely during the lock down with effective IT support to hand. We were therefore able to actively support our customers, their families and businesses through these challenging times.
We ensured business continuity across eight countries – Nigeria, Ghana; Democratic Republic of Congo; Sierra-Leone; the Gambia, Guinea; Senegal and United Kingdom. We recognize that this has truly been a trying period and are poised to continue to provide as much support as we can to our customers and communities we operate in”.
Coming back home, the Bank’s Chief explained that during this period it proactively reviewed products and services to support customers better and expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for the whole hearted adoption and patronage of its electronic services, as these indeed demonstrated the trust which the public repose in the Bank and in return the Bank commits to always live by its resolve on being true to its mantra – You First.
He said “It is for this reason; putting our customers first, that our Bank working to regulatory, Federal and State Government directives worked assiduously to keep over 50 percent of our branches open across all nooks and crannies of the country.
At the same time the call centre was restaffed in the most efficient manner and retooled as we provided even more opportunities for our customers to reach us for their banking needs”.
He further provided a snapshot of transactions carried out across FirstBank’s e-banking channels during the five-week lockdown in various parts of the country:
• We recorded approximately 12.6 million withdrawals amounting to about N156bn across our ATMs well placed across the country.
• Nigerians with FirstBank cards used them 105 million times to make payments or withdrawals worth about N1.18 Trillion as they relied on us to settle their banking needs
• Our customers made transfers over 106 million times with a total value of about N8.18 Trillion across our digital channels.
• During this period, our 53,000 plus agents have processed over N512bn worth of transactions
• We have also recorded over 275,000 new sign-ups to alternative channels covering our Firstmobile; USSD and First-Online platforms.
As one of the leading SME banks in the country, with a drive to ensure SMEs are supported, Dr. Adeduntan, also stated that FirstBank has enhanced palliatives such as introduction of special waivers on repayment fees on its credit cards, and a 90-day loan moratorium on selected products across markets, to help cushion the impact of the toll on employment and livelihoods.
Our Wholesale business was also not left out as advisory services and a range of financial needs were met to the delight of our Corporate and Commercial customers.
On community impact, the Bank partnered with other organisations in the private sector to collectively help those most impacted by this pandemic. It has contributed N1billion and several volunteer staff towards the efforts of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to meet the intervention objectives in the key areas of health; testing, provision of much needed health infrastructure, isolation units and raising public awareness and where needed providing food to the most vulnerable.
This is a time when we all must step up and do our bit by our people and our communities.
In addition FirstBank in keeping with its long standing tradition and focus on educational support and talent development has partnered with several organisations in a bid to help 1 million students access e learning.
“It is important in all this not to forget the children whose needs can so easily be overlooked at a time such as this”.
“As the lock down is lifted nationwide, we will continue to provide seamless service to our customers ensuring the highest levels of support whilst operating as efficiently as possible, ensuring safety of all is paramount and empowering our staff to drive these goals. We will do these with three things in mind: ensuring you are staying safe; supporting your business; and safeguarding our future’’ Dr, Adeduntan said.