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Ecobank Day: Stop Discrimination Against Victims of Mental Health – Akinwuntan

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Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated its commitment towards promoting mental awareness for its staff, customers and the communities where it operates being part of its corporate action to support general wellbeing amongst citizens . This, according to the bank, is necessary in view of the enormous stress people encounter while trying to play their part in sustaining the national economy.

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan while speaking at the 2021 “Ecobank Day” event in Lagos stated that there was need for people to exercise more sensitivity and be more supportive towards improving mental health.

According to him, “This year, we are focusing on how we can support one another to improve on our mental health. It is something we should be open to talk about; it is something that we should be able to share our concerns so that each of us can be sensitive to how we support one another and to manage the stress available in our environment. So, this year, we are focused on mental health, educating people on how to identify and manage the disease, while also helping reduce stigma and discrimination. We all know that Nigeria is a country with about 200 million people, and there is a lot of stress on all of us. At Ecobank, we encourage staff to speak out through word of mouth, written communication, WhatsApp, sms message, even if it is an anonymous call to support victims. We also try to identify things within the environment that could have a negative effect on our journey to better mental health, and quickly take them out”.

On her part, the Executive Director, Commercial Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Carol Oyedeji, urged colleagues to find a way to balance work with other aspects of their life. “Please when you close work, shut down your system and find ways to connect with your spouse, family and in any other thing that will give you joy and happiness”. She noted that we must encourage people to feel comfortable to talk about their emotions, without shame, fear of being judged or abuseD. She emphasized that anyone suffering or facing mental health problems should be aware that they can get help.

Experts at the event listed signs to watch out for in mental health to include; negative view of self, feeling alone, giving things away and frequent talks about death. They noted that mental health disorders are one of the most common Non-Communicable Diseases, noting that mental health issues can happen to anyone and it’s important to talk about it and also act on it.

Ecobank Day, is a Group’s flagship annual corporate and social responsibility event that ‘gives back’ to the local communities across the pan-African footprint.  The 2021 Ecobank Day had the theme ‘Mental Health – Time to Talk and Act!’. It marks the final stage of Ecobank’s three-year campaign to raise awareness and help prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Ecobank Day which started in 2013, focusing each year on a specific theme. These have been Education for young people in Africa (2013); Malaria prevention and control (2014); Every African child deserves a better future (2015); ICT education in schools and improving maternal health (2016); Safe water management (2017); Orphanages (2018); Cancer (2019); and Diabetes (2020).

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Business

Fitch Upgrades Fidelity Bank’s Issuer Default Rating from ‘B-’ to ‘B’

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Fitch Ratings has upgraded Fidelity Bank Plc’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) from ‘B-’ to ‘B’, reflecting the bank’s increased creditworthiness. The rating agency also upgraded Fidelity’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A(nga)’ from ‘BBB+(nga)’.

According to the global rating agency, the upgrade is a result of the Bank’s improving business profile and resilient financial metrics. The agency added that the improved rating reflected the bank’s increased creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria, emphasizing that, “Fidelity’s Long- and Short-Term IDRs are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b’ ’’.

The agency further stated that the VR reflects healthy asset quality, good business profile and reasonable capitalisation and liquidity. These are balanced against high sensitivity to Nigeria’s challenging operating environment as well as higher credit concentration as a percentage of equity and weaker profitability than larger domestic-rated peers.

Commenting on the upgraded rating, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, stated, “Receiving this upgrade at a time when the global economy is faced with a myriad of challenges, speaks to the strength of our business model, the efficacy of our risk management culture and the commitment of our staff towards creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.  As a bank, we will continue to execute our growth strategy in a prudent manner that allows us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in our various markets”.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge: Delta, Rivers Corps Members to Benefit from N10m Business Grant

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Unity Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurial Development Initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, is set to return for the 8th edition across 10 locations in Nigeria, including a debut in Delta and Rivers States.  

The Retail lender kick-started the Corpreneurship Challenge scheme in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states, which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja, but with the increasing traction of the initiative among corps entrepreneurs, the Bank has now expanded the programme to 10 states across the federation.

The first expanded edition covered Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, Katsina, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna. This edition will hold for the first time in Rivers and Delta as well as making a return to Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.

The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank a national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.

Previous editions saw participants pitching business plans from several sectors including software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, and piggery to beverages which were assessed based on originality, marketability, and future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.

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IPMAN Warns Members Against Selling PMS Above N165/Litre

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.

IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.

The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.

He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product. The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.

“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”

Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.

“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.

The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”

On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”

He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”

The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.

The Punch

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