NSE Hosts First Digital Closing Gong Ceremony
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Stock Exchange hosted its first-ever Digital Closing Gong ceremony on Thursday, April 16, 2020, in honour of the contributions of Sterling Bank Plc to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The closing gong, which is traditionally done on the floor of the exchange, was carried out via Instagram Live due to the temporary closure of the trading floor as a result of the current global situation.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, speaking on the innovativeness of recreating the famed closing ceremony, stated that, “It has been our pleasure to rekindle the tradition of sounding the closing gong albeit digitally with Sterling Bank Plc.
“It would be remiss of me not to thank the CEO of Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, for joining us to achieve this milestone and commend him for the notable efforts Sterling Bank is making to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria and support the Nigerian economy at this time.”
“Following the activation of our Business Continuity Plan and our transition to remote working and trading, the exchange has been resolute in its commitment to ensure that there are no disruptions to operations for any of our stakeholders.
“We have leveraged our existing digital assets to ensure there is continuous flow of information and activity in the market and are now looking at how we can deploy creative solutions to enhance our stakeholders’ experience during these unprecedented times,” Mr Onyema added.
Praising efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSE CEO thanked the Nigerian government, health workers and major players in their fight in combating the novel virus.
He encouraged Nigerians to stay strong, stay home and continue to comply with the directives of the government and verified health organisations in keeping everyone safe.
He further lauded efforts of Nigerians to fight this pandemic.
On his part, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, CEO of Sterling Bank Plc, said, “My appreciation goes to the NSE for leading the digital transformation of our market.
“These are interesting times we live in with the outbreak of Coronavirus changing the way we live and work. While we all come to terms with these new realities, I urge everyone to identify and leverage the opportunity we have been given to reset our nation and our businesses.”
Mr Suleiman stated that the bank was playing its part to ensure that its customers are catered for during the pandemic.
“At Sterling, we are offering a range of solutions to help Nigerians manage through temporary or extended periods of reduced or lost income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have reduced the restructuring fees on all new and existing loans by up to 50 percent; issued an extension of the repayment of loan obligations that are due; and suspended the penal charge for late minimum repayment on customer credit cards during this period; to name a few,” he added.