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Emefiele Shuns Reps’ Summons As Banks Ration New Notes

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An ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at commercial banks on Wednesday has frowned at the failure of the management staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria to appear before it on Thursday just as the House has insisted on January 31 deadline set for the exchange of the old notes with the new ones

This came barely two months after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, failed to appear before the House over issues relating to the naira redesign.

The House had on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari over the brewing crisis occasioned by the January 31 deadline.

Apart from asking the CBN to extend the window for swapping the old notes with the newly redesigned one by six months, the House had invited the banks to a meeting on Wednesday over the scarcity of new naira notes.

The managing directors/chief executive officers of the banks, under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee, were to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House to be chaired by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

On Wednesday, the CBN failed to appear before the committee.

However, Ado-Doguwa, at the inaugural investigative hearing of the committee, stated, “For the purposes of clarification, I want to say without any fear of contradiction, that the parliament is always an institution that represents the Nigerian people. For an invitation to any government employee, like it is the case here with the CBN, the governor of the CBN, his directors, deputy directors, all departmental heads, I believe, are employees of the Nigerian people; and when there is a kind of summons from the institution of the parliament like this, we expect every up-and-doing employee to only respect that invitation.”

“On this note, I would like to convey to this committee and members of the public and the press here with us that we have conceded to allow the CBN officials to come tomorrow by 1pm, so that we would engage them. And immediately after the engagement with them, we would engage the bank operators.”

Meanwhile, there was palpable discontent among bank customers in Lagos on Wednesday after some commercial banks shut down their Automated Teller Machines, ostensibly due to paucity or unavailability of new naira notes.

The development came in the wake of threats by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it would sanction any bank that dispensed old naira notes on its Automated Teller Machines.

When our correspondent visited four banks — Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC along Iju road in the Ogba area of Lagos State, it was observed the bank ATMs were neither dispensing the new naira notes nor the old ones.

Meanwhile, a myriad of disgruntled customers were seen lamenting the frustration of not being able to withdraw cash from any of the ATMs in the area.

Our correspondent proceeded to visit Zenith Bank, Access and UBA along Ogunnusi road in the Ojodu axis of the state. The story was no different as a small crowd of frustrated customers was seen lamenting their inability to withdraw cash.

While some of the banks cited technical difficulties for their inability to dispense money via the machines, others said their ATMs had developed faults and could not temporarily dispense cash.

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Business

Record Financial Performance: Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Workforce

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees.
This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.
The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization. This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.
In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.
Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United  Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
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FirstBank Partners International Women’s Society to Empower Women

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with the International Women’s Society (IWS) to empower over 250 widows, in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows’ Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that beneficiaries at the Lagos event, tagged “IWS Widows Feast and Empowerment Programme”, received various essential tools, equipment and grants. The items distributed were sewing machines, freezers, coolers, hair dryers, cake mixers, industrial cooking gas, generators, and freezers to help the widows establish and sustain their businesses.

Ms Lande Atere, Chief Customer Experience Officer, FirstBank, said that the financial institution had been partnering with IWS for over a decade. According to her, the bank has been empowering women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with funding and skills acquisition.

“As an organisation that strategically prioritises financial inclusion, we will continue to support IWS in creating entrepreneurial opportunities and promoting self-reliance and vocational skills among women,” Atere stated.

Mrs Adebanke Adeola, Chairperson of the International Women’s Society (IWS) Widows Trust Fund (WTF), appreciated FirstBank for supporting the society in empowering and feasting with the widows. Adeola mentioned that the bank provided Point of Sale (POS) machines to improve the benefiting widows’ access to financial services and income generation opportunities.

Also, some beneficiaries would receive extra working capital through the generosity of the financial institution and other sponsors.

“This partnership, along with generous sponsorships from other companies and individuals, enables us to continue our mission and expand our impact. The programme, organised yearly, aims to help widows achieve financial independence and self-sufficiency,” Adeola said.

Culled from NAN

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Business

Fidelity Bank Leads Trading As Equities Gain N324bn

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Fidelity Bank Plc was the most active stock on Monday, 10 June 2024 at the Nigerian stock market as a strong positive sentiment led Nigerian equities to a net capital gain of N324 billion in the first trading session of the week.
The market opened with widespread positive sentiment as investors sought to lock into value stocks in the high-end sectors of oil and gas, construction and manufacturing.
With three gainers for every loser, the market closed with average return of 0.58 per cent, equivalent to net capital gain of N324 billion.
The momentum of activities also improved considerably as total turnover rose by 148.33 per cent to 963.541 million shares valued at N13.498 billion in 8,657 deals. Fidelity Bank topped the activity chart with 605.257 million shares valued at N6.025 billion.
Fidelity Bank’s activities appeared to be driven by buy sentiment as the stock closed within the top 15 gainers with a gain of 6.52 per cent to close at N9.80 per share.
The All Share Index (ASI)- the common value-based index that tracks all share prices at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), rose by 0.58 per cent to close at 99,793.71 points as against its opening index of 99,221.14 points.
Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also increased simultaneously from its opening value of N56.128 trillion to close at N56.452 trillion.
Other most active stocks included Access Holdings, which recorded turnover of 93.067 million shares worth N1.744 billion. United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 58.726 million shares valued at N1.261 billion. Nigerian Breweries traded 45.256 million shares valued at N1.267 billion while Zenith Bank traded 16.079 million shares worth N539.552 million.
Analysts at Futureview Financial Services said they anticipated a mixed sentiment in the equities market, primarily due to the enduring allure of the fixed income market among investors.
“This interest is fueled by expectations of increased rates in the Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) auction and the impending release of the inflation rate. However, amidst these factors, there remains an opportunity for sustainable growth, particularly in fundamentally strong stocks that currently find themselves in the oversold region. We foresee a selective pursuit of bargains, particularly in dividend-paying stocks, driven by the nearing corporate qualification and payment,” Futureview stated.
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