By Dipo Olowookere
Nigerians have been advised to stay away from consuming Lucozade and Mirinda because both beverages contain benzoic acid level above the limit approved by the Nigerian Industrial Standard and therefore unsafe for consumption.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC), in a statement obtained by Daily Trust in Abuja, stated that while the NIS limit for benzoic acid is 250mg/Kg, when combined with Vitamin C and 300mg/Kg without Vitamin C, test revealed that Mirinda, a product of 7UP Bottling Company, contained benzoic acid ranging between 0.56mg/L to 330.9mg/L.
It said Lucozade, formerly produced by Glaxo SmithKline, contained the acid between 2.26mg/L to 323.53mg/L.
However, Daily Trust said both companies were not available for comments.
CPC said the test was conducted at the Sheda Science and Technology Complex, a laboratory under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The council said it obtained 65 samples of soft drinks from the open market in eight locations within the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, made up of Fanta Orange, Sprite, Mirinda and Lucozade.
“The Council also observed from the results that there were isolated cases of Mirinda and Lucozade with Benzoic Acid levels of 330.9mg/L and 323.53mg/L respectively, which are above the NIS limit,” the Director General of CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki, said.
The Council further said the test found that benzoic acid levels in Fanta Orange ranged from 5.09mg/L to 197.0mg/L, while that of Sprite ranged from 2.82mg/L to 239.0mg/L, indicating that both soft drinks were safe for Nigerian consumers as they contained benzoic acid within the limit approved by the NIS.
Mrs Atoki said NAFDAC and SON have been informed of the investigation and have recommended regulatory action and review of the “benzoic acid limits in soft drinks as the current standard, which has been in existence since 2008 is overdue for review.”
KPMG Rates Stanbic IBTC Bank High in Retail, Corporate Banking
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The KPMG 2022 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience (CX) Survey has rated Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc high in retail and corporate banking in the country.
According to the report, Stanbic IBTC Bank occupied the first position with a 73.8 CX score out of 100 in the retail segment and sustained the leading position for the second consecutive year. Time and effort are the drivers of performance in the retail category, and the bank outperformed its peers in this regard.
Stanbic IBTC Bank, which held the top position in the retail and SME segments last year, performed well across key customer journey areas, particularly in resolution – a key area of improvement for the industry where customers rate banks on timeliness and quality of feedback on issues as well as the ability and ease of reporting issues and concerns.
Other customer journey areas where Stanbic IBTC Bank came tops included discovery – the ease of getting information about the bank coupled with professional and friendly staff, the ease of account opening with digital-only options and the speedy onboarding process.
Stanbic IBTC Bank is among the top three in transacting – accessibility, timeliness, and quality of service from physical and digital channels, and in account maintenance which covers requests for account statements, general enquiries and updates to account information with accuracy and completeness.
Moving up five places compared to last year’s report, Stanbic IBTC Bank also emerged as this year’s leader in the corporate segment with an 80.9 score out of 100 and received great feedback on the depth of their relationship managers’ knowledge in key sectors.
The report also revealed that Stanbic IBTC successfully closed the gap in digital banking, emerging as a clear leader in the industry.
Speaking on these achievements, the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Wole Adeniyi, said, “The primary goal of the bank is to forge lasting relationships with its clients by offering timely, creative, and valuable solutions that benefit them. We are fully committed to serving Nigerians with top-notch financial services.”
According to Mr Adeniyi, “2022 has been remarkable for us at Stanbic IBTC. Asides from these good standings revealed by the KPMG report, the globally renowned credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, also reaffirmed the retention of our National Long-Term ‘AAA (nga)’ and National Short-Term ‘F1+(nga)’ ratings for the Stanbic IBTC Group and Stanbic IBTC Bank respectively.”
“The National Long-Term ‘AAA (nga)’ and National Short-Term ‘F1+(nga)’ Ratings are the highest possible ratings on Fitch’s rating scale, and we were rated high based on the potential support from our parent company, Standard Bank Group, based in South Africa. We play a vital role in Standard Bank Group’s main operations in West Africa, and we retained our ratings based on our size and high operational integration,” he added.
Fitch Ratings assessed Stanbic IBTC’s strategic importance as the holding company for Standard Bank Group’s leading corporate and investment banking (CIB) and wealth businesses in Nigeria and Stanbic IBTC Bank’s position as an integral part of its Nigerian operations. It also considered Standard Bank Group’s controlling ownership of Stanbic IBTC, high integration of risk management, operations and strategy, shared branding, and Stanbic IBTC’s moderate contribution to Standard Bank Group’s net income.
The ‘AAA (nga)’ is given to issuers with the lowest expectation of default risk when compared with their competitors. The National Short-Term Rating of ‘F1+(nga)’ is assigned to issuers that have a strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments in comparison to other issuers in Nigeria.
Mr Adeniyi noted that the organisation’s competitive position, good risk profile, healthy funding, and liquidity position also facilitated its upgrade in the Global Credit Ratings (GCR). The national scale long-term issuer rating assigned to Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC was upgraded to AAA(NG) from AA+(NG) and the national scale short-term issuer rating was A1+(NG), indicating a stable outlook and making Stanbic IBTC Bank the only financial institution in Nigeria with the rating.
He attributed the astounding performances of the organisation to the dedication and hard work of its workforce and the tenacity of the firm to continue to play vital roles in Nigeria’s economic development, stating that Stanbic IBTC would not relent in developing sustainable solutions that ensure customers’ delight and the company’s success in the Nigerian financial services spectrum.
Customers to Win N50m at Draws of Union Bank Promos
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Over N50 million is up for grabs at two draws of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc promos aimed at rewarding its loyal customers on Friday, January 27, 2023.
A statement from the lender disclosed that the event, to be live-streamed to allow participants to join virtually, will take place at the bank’s head office in Marina, Lagos.
Union Bank is currently running two promos, the Save & Win Palli campaign in its second edition and the UnionKorrect campaign, a savings promo.
Save & Win Palli Promo and UnionKorrect promo are nationwide campaigns aimed at rewarding customers with cash prizes and other exciting gifts. The goal is to encourage and promote a healthy savings culture, and the promo is open to new and existing customers.
More than 300 lucky customers will be rewarded at the dual draws on Friday with cash prizes and other exciting consolation prizes.
In addition, one lucky customer will go home with the grand prize of N5 million from the Save and Win promo draw, while other customers will receive other cash prizes of N105,000 and N500,000 for the last set of the monthly and quarterly draw winners.
In addition, Union Bank will reward 227 customers with N18.5 million in the UnionKorrect campaign.
Winners will be randomly selected through electronically generated and transparent draws monitored by relevant regulatory bodies.
Prospective customers can download the UnionMobile app on their mobile phones to open an account or walk into any Union Bank branch.
To reactivate existing accounts, returning customers can call the 24-hour Contact Centre on 07007007000 or visit any of Union Bank’s branches across the country.
Mixed Feelings as CBN Cash Swap Programme Kicks Off
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The cash swap programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in rural and underserved areas of the country kicked off on Monday, January 23, 2023, amid mixed feelings.
On October 26, 2022, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the bank would redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
At a special press briefing in Abuja, he further disclosed that the new banknotes would be introduced into the system on December 15, 2022, while by January 31, 2023, all the old notes would have been mopped up from the circulation.
As announced, the new notes hit circulation last month, but instead of banks to stop giving customers the old notes, they are still issued with the currency despite having about a week to the deadline.
This raised doubts about the feasibility of the deadline, especially when Nigerians in the rural areas were yet to see the redesigned Naira denominations.
In order to reach these people, the central bank launched the cash swap policy, which allows Nigerians to exchange their old notes for new ones.
According to a circular jointly signed over the weekend by the Director of Banking Supervision at the CBN, Mr Haruna Mustafa, and the Director of Payments System Management, Mr Musa Jomoh, the initiative was to reach rural communities in Nigeria.
Under this programme, an agency will “exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person, as the amount above this would be treated as a cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy, BVN, NIN or voter’s card details of the customers should be captured as much as possible.”
The CBN said to promote financial inclusion, “this service is also available to anybody without a bank account. Agents may, on request, instantly open a wallet or account, leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework. This will ensure that this category of the populace is able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost.”
For accountability, the agent would be required to “render weekly returns to their designated banks regarding the cash swap transactions. DMBs shall, in turn, render same to the CBN on a weekly basis.”
Reports gathered by Business Post indicate that this policy was a mixed bag on its first day.
In the Igbo Egun area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, this newspaper was informed that residents of this community are still in the dark about the redesigned Naira notes, while a few of the Ilogbo community in Ado-Odo/Otta in Ogun State, and those in the Ishefun, Olayemi, Igesu, Olorunisola areas of Ayobo, Lagos, have seen the new notes and are optimistic of having their cash swapped for the new notes before the deadline.
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