By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To commemorate World Recycling Day, a financial institution in Nigeria, Sterling Bank Plc, recently cleaned up some markets, roads and beaches in 23 states of the federation.
This was done through the lender’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative known as Sterling Bank Environmental Makeover (STEM).
It is part of its commitment to creating a cleaner and safer environment for the citizenry and aquatic life and the exercise was carried out simultaneously in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ekiti, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Abuja, Delta, Anambra, Edo, Abia, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Lagos.
It was gathered that more than 1,000 participated in the clean-up exercises; including staff of Sterling Bank and volunteers.
In Lagos, it was executed in partnership with the Oniru Kingdom, Rite Foods, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company, Bonnie Bio, Sterling One Foundation, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), African Clean-Up Initiative and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
Speaking at the beach cleaning exercise at Oniru Beach, Lagos, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director and CEO of Sterling Bank, said the bank embarked on cleaning exercises in 21 states out of the 24 states it is partnering with across the country.
The CEO who was represented by Mr Tunde Adeola, Executive Director of Commercial and Institutional Banking at Sterling Bank remarked that, “We have been on this journey for more than 10 years. Every time, this happens, we have a cleaner and healthier environment.”
He said, “Sterling Bank is well-positioned to do this,” adding that in the last two years, the bank has received recognition and awards for the initiative. According to him, Sterling Bank is also at the forefront of tourism in Lagos State.
Also speaking, Mrs Mojisola Bakare, General Manager, Corporate and Investment Banking with Sterling Bank said, “Sterling Bank is about impactful banking”, noting they believe that there is no way they will live on this earth without impacting on the environment, adding that for that reason, they have what is called the HEART of Sterling because they have strategically decided that they are going to impact specific areas of growth in the economy.
She said the HEART of Sterling stands for Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation, adding that the head office in Marina, Lagos is being fitted with solar panels and soon it will be sustainably powered by the sun.
“It is very important that we take responsibility for our actions on the environment and preserve its beauty to boost the local economy and attract foreign tourists, and by extension, foreign exchange into the country,” Mrs Bakare said.
Commissioner for Ministry of Tourism in Lagos State, Mrs Uzamat Yussuf said, “We are aware that Lagos is a place of aquatic splendour.”
She said, “If we have water that is not well protected and sustained, it is better we don’t have any of it at all and that is why it is important for us to sensitise the citizens of Lagos on the proper way to dispose of wastes properly.
“When we do not dispose of wastes properly, it becomes an issue for ourselves and the state at large because when the rain starts and all our drainages are blocked, then we continue to experience flooding. In developed countries, they sell their beaches to tourists and make huge money as well as increase level of employment for their people.”
The commissioner stressed the need for the citizenry to clean the beaches in a bid to encourage tourists to come and see what the state can offer, adding that the purpose of tourism is to create wealth; which ultimately will increase the GDP of the country. She implored all to continue to manage and dispose wastes properly in a bid to sustain the environment.
Abia State Commissioner of Transport, Mr Godswill Uwanoruo, commended the management and staff of Sterling Bank for the cleaning exercise which started in the state since 2015.
He said, “I started this programme with them in 2015 when I introduced the bank’s team led by the incumbent CEO, Mr Suleiman, who was the then Executive Director of Finance to the governor of the state, Mr Okezie Ikpeazu.
“I am happy that they continued the programme by making sure that Abia State is clean,” Mr Uwanoruo said.
He advised other banks in the country to emulate the good gesture of Sterling Bank because it is not an easy thing for members of staff of a company to leave their offices and go out to clean markets and roads.
The commissioner also advocated that the exercise be done monthly or quarterly instead of annually.
The Commissioner of Environment in Bayelsa State, Mr Iselema Gbaranbiri, who graced the STEM event in the state noted that, “The state government is here with Sterling Bank to show the world that they are synergising and keeping Bayelsa clean.”
Also, Mr Muktar Baloni, Chairman of the Kaduna North Local Government Area Council, said he was impressed by the level of consistency in Sterling Bank’s environmental cleaning exercise and would want to emulate the bank by directing officials in the local government to replicate what the bank is doing in the local government.
World Recycling Day is celebrated across the globe every year on March 18th even as recycling is recognised as an important component of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. It is estimated that the world generates over two billion metric tonnes of municipal solid waste and reusable items annually.
The theme of the year’s event is on the Recycling Fraternity, which refers to people who put themselves on the frontline to collect waste and engage in recycling during the multiple lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Court Orders CBN, NDIC to Pay 1,116 Bank Workers N5.7bn
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Industrial Court has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7 billion as terminal benefits to over 1,116 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.
The money is to be paid within three months from the date of judgment as failure to adhere to this will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
Justice Paul Bassi, at the court sitting in Lagos on Monday, made the order while delivering judgment in the case filed by the 1,116 claimants who had approached the court since 2018.
The court also ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay another N10 million as general damages to the claimants.
The ruling settles the battle that the parties have fought since the consolidation exercise of 2006 which saw banks recapitalised from N2 billion to N25 billion.
Some banks did not meet the recapitalisation requirements and this led to their banking licenses being revoked by the central bank which appointed the NDIC as the liquidator.
The bank workers then sued the two organisations demanding the payment of their terminal benefits.
The two defendants raised several objections, insisting among other things they were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.
In his judgment, Justice Bassi dismissed the preliminary objections of the defendants and held while they may have acted for the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, it should not be done at the expense of the former employees.
By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paying their benefits at the end.
The court then ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay the workers within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 per cent interest until liquidated.
Sterling Bank Offers Optometrists Loans at Competitive Interest Rates
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed to automate operations, enhance capacity and provide loans at competitive interest rates for optometrists has been signed by Sterling Bank Plc and the Nigerian Optometrist Association (NOA).
Under the deal, members of the association will be able to borrow from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention for the health sector at 5 per cent as well as obtain template credit from the bank within 48 hours at a competitive interest rate of 20 per cent, which is below the prevailing rate in the banking industry.
Business Post gathered that Sterling Bank has earmarked N10 billion for the entire health care sector in the country and would accommodate any level of funding optometrists may require.
The Group Head of Health Finance at Sterling Bank, Mrs Ibironke Akinmade, while speaking at the signing ceremony in Lagos, explained that the initiative is part of the lender’s vision to be the leading bank for businesses in the health sector.
The Head of Health Finance said the rationale behind the partnership with NOA is to further position Sterling Bank as the bank of choice for businesses in the health sector, adding that this means more business collaboration and partnership with stakeholders in the health space.
“We have adopted a community approach in engagement with stakeholders in this sector. This will not only give us leverage to develop tailor-made propositions for the community, but it also creates an inroad for engagement of their members through a cluster approach,” she said.
Mrs Akinmade said the bank recently engaged the NOA in a bid to scale on its offerings to the health sector, which includes access to finance (template credit), and access to digitalisation (payment platforms and Electronic Medical Records) as well as advisory services, among others.
Also speaking, Dr Obinna Awiaka, President of NOA, said the association wants a bank that would help its members to grow and discovered that Sterling is the only bank that has a passion for the healthcare sector.
He said the relationship between members of his association and the bank will build the economy because once the healthcare industry is built the economy will also be built.
Dr Awiaka said the NOA is satisfied with the relationship with Sterling Bank because in no distant time the bank, in conjunction with healthcare professionals, will help to develop the sector, which will translate to a better future for the country.
He said the development will make Nigerian professionals that are leaving the country in droves return to the country to practice and this will reduce medical tourism among the country’s leaders, thanking Sterling Bank for coming on board and taking the bull by the horn to support the healthcare industry.
The NOA was established in 1968 and is the prime umbrella association representing over 5,000 doctors of optometry across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as well as all other optometric interest groups in Nigeria.
Since 2018, Sterling Bank has concentrated investment in five sectors of the economy under its HEART strategy in a bid to make an impact on the country’s economic development. The five sectors in HEART’s strategy include health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.
MTN Assures Nigerians Affordable Financial Services as MoMo PSB Begins Operations
By Adedapo Adesanya
MTN Nigerian Communications Plc has announced that its fintech subsidiary, MoMo PSB Limited, has formally commenced commercial operations in the country.
In a notice on Thursday at the Nigerian Exchange, MTN said the development followed a successful pilot initiated on May 16, 2022, in commemoration of the launch of its GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and listing by introduction on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.
“Indeed, this is a key milestone in delivering the company’s Ambition 2025 strategic priorities,” the notice said.
The company said with an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB “is poised to enable millions of unbanked and under-banked Nigerians to access a wide range of financial service products.
“MoMo PSB will continue to scale its agent network in order to reach Nigerians across the country and remove friction from everyday payment by digitizing cash payment.
“By dialling *671# on any network, customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country and pay their bills.
“In addition, MoMo wallets in the future will enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country, an important feature given Nigeria’s ranking as the destination for the highest remittance inflow in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The CEO of MTN Nigeria, Mr Karl Toriola, appreciated the support and guidance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the process and noted that this will help the country’s financial inclusion.
“This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria. Not just for those in urban centres and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he stated.
On his part, MoMo PSB CEO, Mr Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of communications and Digital Economy.
“We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”
This is coming on the same day that MTN’s rival, Airtel announced its subsidiary, SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (SmartCash PSB), has commenced operations in Nigeria.
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