Connect with us

Business

FirstBank Celebrates 2021 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week, Calls for All to  Adopt Kindness as a Way of Life

Published

on

The best definition of kindness is not one provided by any of the world’s best dictionaries but one demonstrated by how we treat others on a daily basis.

Kindness is a universal language that does not require any special knowledge, exposure, skills, training or background to understand and appreciate it as a beneficiary or observer of a kind act.

Neither is any special knowledge or training required to show and extend it to others. Just as anyone and everyone can be shown acts of kindness, all persons without exception can and ought to show and extend acts of kindness to others.

Kindness flows from deep within us, from the better angels of our nature. Hence, the common idiom “the milk of human kindness”.

This is probably the backdrop to the theme “Kindness…a Way of Life”, which FirstBank has chosen for commemoration of its 2021 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week (CR&S Week).

This year’s CR&S Week, scheduled to hold from 26th – 30th July 2021, will feature Kind Comments Days, visits to orphanages/less privilege homes, webinars focused on the kindness theme, SPARK school engagement among other activities – lined up for each of the days.

The yearly CR&S Week is a dedicated week designed to offer FirstBank staff, customers and the public opportunities to demonstrate the milk of human kindness that flows in them and give their time and resources to defined causes.

It seeks to amplify FirstBank’s innate culture of giving and volunteering as embodied in its Employee Giving and Volunteering programme.

The Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week was introduced in 2017 as part of the bank’s longstanding Employee Giving and Volunteering programme created to enable and encourage staff to give back to society through donations and volunteering.

Specially designed to reignite acts of random kindness in the society with events that are tailored to reorient people towards the right values, it provides a veritable platform for encouraging the citizenry to intentionally create positive impact in their immediate environment.

One of the main highlights of the first CR&S Week was the SPARK Initiative. S.P.A.R.K stands for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness.

But originally the “S” stood for “Staff”. It was changed to “Start” to broaden the initiative beyond just staff and encourage everyone else to be part of the kindness brigade.

Also, “P” originally stood for “Promoting” but was changed to “Performing” to convey the sense that participants are equally involved in actually doing kind acts and not only promoting kindness.

Held between 25 – 29 September 2017 with “Promoting Kindness: Putting You First” as theme, the maiden CR&S Week was the first of its kind in Nigeria’s financial services industry.

It highlighted the role FirstBank’s corporate citizenship interventions was playing in driving positive impact across various communities – all within one compact week.

It was aimed at encouraging people everywhere to step out of their comfort zones, shift attention from themselves and their personal needs to others in society who have not been as fortunate as they have and perform a random act of kindness towards them.

The first edition of the CR&S Week provided opportunity for FirstBank staff to give their time and resources to promote acts of random kindness within their communities and contribute to the welfare and well-being of others through giving and visits to orphanages/homes of the less fortunate and internally displaced people (IDPs).

Within the same Week the bank held career counselling sessions with secondary school students across the six geo-political regions in Nigeria with FirstBank staff coordinating the impactful sessions that inculcated the values of financial literacy and inclusion in young students.

Also, staff had the opportunity to nominate beneficiaries they believe are deserving of random of acts of kindness.

Through this activity, Baby Ijeoma was nominated as one of the beneficiary that received corrective heart surgery in India which was in partnership with Vama Wave Foundation.

The impact of the first edition went beyond Nigeria as FirstBank’s subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK also participated, benefitting people and at least 22 charities in six countries.

The second edition of the CR&S Week held from 19 – 23 June 2018. Themed “Touching Lives: You First”, the 2018 Week was intended to demonstrate FirstBank brand promise to always put stakeholders first. It focused mainly on five key initiatives/activities.

First was the launch of a partnership with VisionSpring to advance social impact by providing vision screening and affordable eyeglasses for 10,000 low-income earners.

This aligned with the bank’s financial inclusion and financial literacy approach of promoting accessible and affordable financial products and services to disadvantaged groups with the goal of bringing these marginalised populations into the mainstream economy, improving their chances for resilient livelihoods and financial stability.

Second were giving and visits to orphanages/less privilege homes. This was the biggest platform for employee engagement during the week.

It followed a needs assessment of the orphanages to be visited to enable employees donate appropriate items, and employees responded generously, donating at a scale that had never been done before.  In all, eight countries witnessed this initiative while more than 26 charities participated.

Celebration of the UN International Widows’ Day on 23rd June 2018, which coincided with the last day of the CR&S Week, was the third activity.

Driven by the International Women’s Society (IWS) in Lagos with whom the bank partnered to organise an empowerment outreach for 500 widows in Lagos, it provided start-up capital and capacity building required to successfully run start-ups and small businesses, to the widows.

Fourth was a Career Counselling Day for over 10,000 senior secondary school students, as part of the broader FutureFirst programme of the bank aimed at ensuring the youth are empowered to be financially independent through fulfilling careers and the right financial knowledge.

Fifth and final was the SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) initiative, which included a SPARK Day set aside in the bank for people to act within their individual spheres of influence to promote kindness.

The initiative also saw the bank receiving about 200 internal and external nominations of people deserving of kindness, out of which 24 beneficiaries were to emerge.

The 2018 Week was marked across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones with two states from each zone, totalling 12 states in all.

It was also commemorated in the six countries/markets outside Nigeria where FirstBank already had subsidiaries – UK, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal.

In 2019, the CR&S Week held from 1 – 6 July 2019 with the theme “Ripples of Kindness: Putting You First”. The theme was informed by the bank’s belief that every act of kindness (regardless of how little or in whatever form) ignites a ripple effect that goes on without end.

The year’s CR&S Week focused mainly on the SPARK initiative, which had gained so much traction since its humble beginnings in 2017. A Kindness Manifesto for both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders was introduced.

There were other new activities or initiatives. A Nice Comments Day was introduced for the first time and scheduled to hold on the first day of the CR&S Week.

The basis for it, according to the bank’s committee that oversaw the planning and implementation of the 2019 CRS Week, is the important place of words in the “kindness ecosystem”.

The committee underlined this point when it noted as follows: “One of the truest reflections of how kind we are is our choice of words. That’s why we have created Nice Comments Day to help build a kinder world [through kind words].”

Another new initiative introduced in 2019 was the SPARK School Engagement, which involved launching the SPARK initiative in schools to promote the 3Cs projected as the pillars of kindness – Compassion, Civility and Charity.

The schools – secondary schools across Nigeria – were to be visited to educate students on acts of kindness, encouraging them to make kindness a lifestyle.

A crowd-funding initiative was also added in 2019 to enable both employees and external stakeholders donate to defined humanitarian causes, such as supporting widows, sending children (from indigent homes) to school and providing health care for the physically challenged and the old.

As at August 2019, nearly N7 million had been raised through the crowd-funding initiative.

The regular initiatives/activities were also retained in 2019. There were visits to orphanages/less privilege homes.

Widows’ empowerment was organised in collaboration with International Women’s Society (IWS), Nigeria to empower a select number of widows across Nigeria.

The implementation in Nigeria covered the six geopolitical zones with activities held in four states per zone, amounting to 24 states in all.

Six subsidiaries of FirstBank also implemented the programme in their markets/countries – UK, Ghana, DRC, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal.

In all, 25 schools benefitted with 6,000 students participating in terms of the School Engagement; 50 charities and NGOs, including Leap Africa and IWS, were partnered.

Over 20,000 orphans/less privilege people including widows were reached and impacted.

No CR&S Week could take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions on public gatherings and visits.

But FirstBank did not just fold its hand and sit idly.

The bank did something absolutely amazing, demonstrating uncommon solidarity with a vulnerable segment of society – children.

Realising that the harsh effects of the COVID-19 crisis were borne disproportionally by children, whose education and thus future were being endangered due to the lockdown and prolonged closure of schools, FirstBank embarked on a mission to do something about it.

Working with partners, such as IBM, UNESCO, Robert & John, Curious Learning and the Lagos State Government, it launched the bold and ambitious e-Learning Initiative designed to move one million children onto safe online learning platform.

The Initiative was to minimise the disruption to children’s education, ensuring that they remained fully engaged during the difficult period and are not left behind by their peers across the (developed) world.

There are already over 150,000 students benefitting from the e-Learning initiative in the height of the COVID-19 crises.

In addition, the Bank deployed communication material to create more awareness of the SPARK Initiative and to sensitize staff, customers and the public during the unprecedented times.

What greater demonstration of kindness could there have been in 2020 given the circumstances the whole world found itself, especially vulnerable children?

So there may not have been a CR&S Week in 2020 but the same kindness narrative that has characterised all activities of the various CR&S Week since 2017 clearly shone through FirstBank’s COVID-19 response, especially its e-Learning Initiative.

In future, people would probably easily be forgiven if they assumed the e-Learning Initiative represented FirstBank’s CR&S Week in 2020.

FirstBank has demonstrated uncommon consistency over the years to its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week and the ideals it seeks to project through the platform.

This has earned the bank the right to make the bold call that is the theme of this year’s CR&S Week.

The question is whether we will heed the clarion call to adopt kindness as a way of life.

Will we go out there and extend kindness to others in ways that will make them realise that kindness is not just a word taken from the dictionary but an act that should always be expressed to others?

Will we embrace kindness as our new way of life? Will we commit to making our everyday a Kind Comments Day, thus giving others permission and the strength to do the same?

Will we Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness towards all and make them feel obligated to start acting kindly towards other people as their new lifestyle?

 

 

 

 

 

Business

Outcry In Abuja As FCTA Asks Business Owners To Pay For Using Generators

Published

on

By

Business owners within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have decried transfer by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA to impose levy on firms for utilizing turbines to energy their companies.

Some officers of AMAC believed to have been contracted by the FCTA, have been seen in some components of town distributing cost notices to a number of organizations together with DAILY POST.

In response to the discover signed by the Director Public Well being, HoD Atmosphere of AMAC, Ahmed Haruna, the Administration of Abuja Municipal Space Council Environmental Companies (ESD) Our bodies, mentioned industries, warehouses, Banks are to pay annual payment for utilizing generator because of the discharge of dangerous hazardous substance.

The discover reads, “Administration of Abuja Municipal Space Council Environmental Companies (ESD) Our bodies, needs to inform you of levy/charges resulting from Abuja Municipal Space Council for Gaseous Emission Allow Restrict. This consists of discharge of dangerous hazardous substance into the air or the land and the water in Nigeria by the actions of industries, warehouse, Financial institution, both from generator or heavy obligation, drilling, manufacturing, development and manufacturing equipments, filling station, ETC.

“That is according to the supply of part (2C) of the forth schedule to the Structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended below the perform of the Native Authorities Authority and Federal Environmental Safety Company Act (FEPA) Part 25 which established the Native Council Authority to, regulate, implement and assortment of levies for the curiosity of public well being significance (welfare) part 18, 20, 21, 26and 27 and different related legal guidelines Nationwide Environmental Well being Observe Regulation 2016 which confers on the council the ability to control, examine, management and assortment of levies.

It additionally threatened to punished and cripple organizations that violate the order.

“Additionally observe that failure to adjust to this forgoing regulation is punishable offence and we are going to seize the actions of the group and arrest as prescribe partially iV Part 27 Subsection 1 abcd and (2) of FEPA ACT 1992”.

However when DAILY POST engaged the officers distributing the notices on what the FCTA administration had put in place to safeguard lives in Abuja from it termed hazardous substance, they had been unable to clarify.

When contacted, an admin of the AMAC who recognized herself as Peace, mentioned this system was accredited by the Federal Authorities.

She mentioned, “is a levy accredited by the Federal Authorities that who ever is working enterprise in Abuja ought to pay. And it’s to be paid yearly”.

She, nonetheless, declined additional feedback when requested to present particulars of the cost.

In the meantime, many residents of the FCT are fearful that town’s administration might cripple companies attempting to outlive amid the present financial actuality with it’s quite a few taxes.

In per week, small companies in Abuja had acquired not less than 4 to five cost notices from AMAC. However residents have noticed that the administration has put nothing in place to justify the quite a few taxes imposed on companies and people.

They expressed concern that an administration amassing tax for emission from generator ought to have made entry to medical amenities simple, lamenting that medical payments in Abuja hospitals stay very excessive throughout all hospitals.

Additionally they argued {that a} authorities that might not generate sufficient energy for individuals to run their companies shouldn’t be taxing residents and enterprise house owners who wrestle each day to run their companies with an alternate energy supply.

A few of them cautioned the FCTA to cease stifling companies in Abuja with taxes when improvement stays stagnant. “How will you tax us for emission however can’t present an alternate vitality supply? That is draconia,” a enterprise proprietor informed DAILY POST in Utako.

A supervisor of a preferred firm in Apo, Abuja who most well-liked no to be talked about in print, informed DAILY that the event is conceivable. He described the discover as a transfer by the federal government ro cripple companies in Abuja.

He lamented why a authorities would provoke such a coverage amid the present hardship ravaging your entire nation.

“One query I’ve been asking is, why do enterprise house owners use turbines? Is it not as a result of the federal government failed to offer electrical energy for us? Then after failing to do your job, I selected to assist myself with generator to energy my agency with an enormous bills and also you are actually coming again to ask me to pay for that? That isn’t regular.

“That is only a means of extorting cash from poor residents. They’re speaking about well being, do they even care in regards to the healthcare system? What have they put in place concerning healthcare? What are they going to realize with the cash now concerning the well being points they’re claiming? Nothing.

“Companies are presently struggling. Some have even closed down because of the horrible impact of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and a authorities goes about extorting cash from enterprise as small as mine. That is an evil agenda.

When requested if his group is getting ready to pay the levy, he merely mentioned, “We don’t have cash for that, I’m sorry.”

Managing Director of a preferred trade in Abuja, Dr Obi Ugochukwu mentioned regardless of all taxes imposed on residents, there are not any seen tasks within the territory.

“There are comparatively no social facilities within the metropolis. We survive on our personal. Generally, I’m wondering what they’re really utilizing the cash for.

“If you happen to drive via most components of town, one can find out that even the road lights will not be working. The satellite tv for pc cities do no even have it in any respect. So the place is the cash channeled to?

“Now we have dangerous roads in Abuja right here. Go to locations like Bwari Space Council and see. How would companies transfer when individuals discover it troublesome to convey their merchandise and merchandise to the place they are often marketed?

“Sure, you’re taxing individuals on generator emission, however you have to have put issues in place first. What number of public well being amenities are you able to level to notably within the satellite tv for pc cities the place many of the enterprise house owners reside? Even within the metropolis centre, how reasonably priced are hospitals?

“No single factor is sponsored within the metropolis because of the taxes being collected by the administration. This can be a capital metropolis the place you can’t afford hospital invoice on your wards” he mentioned.

DAILY POST recollects that the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, a couple of days in the past, disclosed that the FCT administration spent about N8 billion yearly on waste administration within the Federal Capital Metropolis (FCC) and the satellite tv for pc cities.

The Minister, in an announcement on Sunday claimed that the Abuja Environmental Safety Board (AEPB) spent a mean of N6 billion, whereas the Satellite tv for pc Cities Growth Division (STDD) expended N2 billion on waste administration yearly.

However a respondent who owns a enterprise in Wuse however resides in one of many satellite tv for pc cities, informed our correspondent that his neighborhood contributes cash month-to-month for waste administration.

He additionally said that no authorities in any a part of the world would tax residents with out giving them the advantage of these taxes.

“We pay a minimal of N3,000 month-to-month to those that come to choose waste from our neighborhood for recycling. They often include their autos and we pay them for the providers. That is one thing the federal government ought to have used to generate energy. The waste itself might be transformed to a different supply of vitality however would they suppose in that path?

“The federal government cannot deal with the principle metropolis and abandon the satellite tv for pc cities the place a few of these entrepreneurs reside. You deserted them within the satellite tv for pc city and once they come to town to do their companies, you cripple them with pointless taxation. How would they survive?

He described the event as an obnoxious coverage by the FCTA. He expressed shock that the administration is implementing such a coverage below the watch of the FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, a younger politician who remains to be aspiring for different management positions.

Continue Reading

Business

One Dollar Now Going For 523 Naira At Black Market

Published

on

By

The naira is currently exchanging at 523/$ at the black market. This is as a result of the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop the allocation of foreign exchange to Bureau de Change operators in the country.

After the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had accused the BDCs of abusing the privilege given to them and sabotaging efforts to ensure naira stability in the country.

He said, “The facts abound that BDCs have turned themselves into agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities of people who seek illicit fund flow and money laundering in Nigeria and we will go after all of them.

“Throughout this meeting of the MPC, we extensively debated this matter, and independently with each member of the committee exhibited accurate and deep understanding of issue at stake.

“After these exhaustive and extensive deliberations, the management of the Central Bank with the support of the committee reached the following decisions which will take the following effect. Hence, the CBN will henceforth discontinue the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators.”

As at Monday, one dollar went for 503, then it now fell to 505 on Tuesday, few hours after the CBN made the announcement. Then on Wednesday after trading, the dollar was bought at N515 and sold at N523 according to naijabdcs.com, the official website of the BDCs.

The CBN, however, maintained the official rate of N410.16/$1 on its website.

Before the new regulation, the CBN had been supplying each BDC $10,000 twice a week at the rate of N393.

Continue Reading

Business

Heritage Bank Hailed For Supporting Ibadan Golf Club

Published

on

By

Heritage Bank Plc has been commended for its continued supports to Nigeria’s sports’ sector, especially backing the Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary event.

The event that attracted dignitaries and stakeholders from various parastatals also had the presence of the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde and over 150 golfers who participated in the tournament during the weeklong celebration.

In a speech during the grand finale of the 30th anniversary of the club, the Captain of the Ibadan Golf Club, Oladiran Ibironke commended one of Nigeria’s most vibrant financial institutions, Heritage Bank and others for providing financial support to ensure the success of the event.

R-L: Akintayo Akinola – Divisional Head, South-West, Heritage Bank Plc; Mary Okunola, Lady Captain, IGC; Tunji Oladosu, 2nd Vice Captain, IGC; Engr. Makinde Oluseyi Makinde, Governor, Oyo State; and Oladiran Ibironke, Captain, Ibadan Golf Club; during the Ibadan Golf Club 30th anniversary lead sponsored by Heritage Bank, in Oyo State.

“Special thanks to Heritage Bank Plc., the anniversary’s major sponsor for enlarging our coast financially in order to make the anniversary elaborate and eventful. You will forever be remembered in the history of Ibadan Golf Club,” he stated.

Ibironke also praised the efforts of the founding fathers of the club while tracing the history of how the sporting club has continued to blossom.

He stated that tremendous transformations had occurred within the club since inception 30 years ago.

“We are celebrating 30 years today because some great minds came together and established what we are celebrating today.

“From the history that we heard, they started from Ibadan Recreation Club before moving over to where we are today in 1990,” Ibironke said.

Speaking on the 30th anniversary, the Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu noted that the Bank is delighted to be the lead sponsor and to be associated with Ibadan Golf Club, stating that the sponsorship is hinged on its brand’s passion to support sports, especially golf in promoting health, wellbeing, and nation building.

She stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary, is working assiduously towards achieving its vision of becoming a bank known for promoting healthy lifestyles and the general wellbeing of the society at large.

“Heritage Bank believes in development. We have the tenacity to develop and sport is a way of developing Nigerians both young and old. We want to encourage the golfers; I believe that this type of games is capable of helping them to keep healthy and fit,” Utulu stated.

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: