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2020 Budget: Nigerian Government proposes N9.79 trillion to National Assembly

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Mrs Ahmed announced this on Tuesday in Abuja at a public consultation forum with civil society groups and agencies on the draft 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

The amount represents an increase of 9.75 per cent over N8.916 trillion spending for 2019.

The projection includes a proposed revenue of about N7.64 trillion and a total proposed fiscal deficit component of about N2.142 trillion.

She said the key assumptions of the budget were based on an oil production capacity of 2.18 million barrels per day, crude oil price of $55 per barrel, against $60 per barrel last year, and exchanged rate of N305 to the dollar.

Also, she said inflation rate for the year is projected at an average of 10.81 per cent, with nominal consumption figure of about N122.75 trillion and nominal gross domestic product of N142.96 trillion. The GDP growth rate is put at about 2.93 per cent.

On the expenditure, the minister said debt service is projected to increase from N2.14 trillion in 2019 to about N2.45trillion; Statutory Transfer of N526.46 billion, from N502.1 billion in 2019; and sinking fund of N296 billion, from N110billion.

Also, recurrent non-debt appropriation was put at about N4.57trillion against N4.39 trillion in the 2020 debt proposal
A breakdown of the non-debt proposal, the minister said, includes Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) personnel cost of N2.675 trillion; Government-owned enterprises (GOEs) personnel costs (N218.8 billion; overheads for MDAs (N280.3 billion; overheads of GOEs (N146.14 billion).

Also, proposals for pensions, gratuity and retirement benefits will be about N536.72billion; transfers Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) for power sector reform programme (N59.44 billion; Service-wide votes (N418.7 billion), and Presidential Amnesty Programme (N65 billion).

Under Special Interventions (recurrent), the minister said about N350billion has been proposed for the year, while aggregate Capital expenditure has been reduced from N3.18 trillion in 2019 to about N2.05 trillion in 2020.

Details of the capital expenditure include capital supplementation (N234.2 billion); Statutory transfers for capital expenditure (N289.1 billion); capital allocation for special Intervention Programme (N150billion); MDAs Capital expenditure (N827.3 billion).

The minister said capital expenditure for 10 top GOEs have been put at about N188.23 billion; grants and donor-funded projects (N36.4 billion), and multilateral/bilateral project-tied (N328.13 billion).

On deficit financing, Mrs Ahmed said the government plans to mobilise additional financing from the sale of government property, proceeds from privatization, sale of non-oil assets, multi-lateral and bilateral project-tied loans and new foreign and domestic borrowings.

In her overview of the proposals, the minister said the draft MTEF showed the country was facing significant medium-term fiscal challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation and rapid growth in personnel costs.

To reverse the challenges, she said key reforms under the strategic revenue growth initiative will be implemented to boost revenue collection and expenditure management.

Besides, to further the objective of greater comprehensiveness and transparency in the budget process, she said the government has proposed to reflect the revenue and expenditure of government-owned enterprises and multi-lateral/bilateral project-ted loans and related expenditures in the 2020 budget.

Although the projected oil production volume is lower than the 2.3 million barrels per day in 2019, the government believes the 2.18 million barrels output projection is more realistic.

She said a lower benchmark crude oil price of $55 per barrel was adopted against $60 per barrel in 2019, because of the assumption of the expected oil glut from oversupply in 2020 as well as the need to establish a cushion against unexpected price shock.

On real GDP growth, the minister said the 2.93 per cent growth rate falls short of the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan projection of 3.1 per cent.

She blamed the rise in personnel cost (inclusive pensions costs) from N2.45 trillion in 2019 to N3 trillion on the recent decision of the government to create five new ministries.

To contain the rising personnel costs, Mrs Ahmed said the Federal Government has taken steps to block leakages in the system, including through an October 2019 deadline by President Muhammadu Buhari for all MDAs to implement the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS).

The minister warned that workers in MDAs that fail to move to the IPPIS platform risk losing payment of their salaries from October.

On Nigeria signing the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the minister said although she foresees tremendous opportunities for the country in the medium term, the agreement could become a huge nightmare if the right policies and actions are not implemented to boost Nigeria’s competitiveness

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COVID-19: Heritage Bank joins WHO to celebrate health workers globally

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Heritage Bank Plc has joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the celebration of “World Health Workers Week” and pay tribute to health workers globally for their selfless sacrifice and bravery in the fight against the novel Coronavirus pandemic causing countless mortality rates.

The event is an annual commemoration of health workers but this year’s is scheduled to honour and advocate for health workers during the 8th annual World Health Worker Week slated for April 6 – 11, 2020.

The theme for this year’s celebration is titled, “Leaders on the Line,” which according to WHO highlights the need to provide greater leadership opportunities for frontline health workers—particularly women health workers, who make up more than 70% of the global health workforce.  It further explained, “At the same time, this theme emphasizes how health workers often put themselves on the line, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families, to save and improve lives.”

Commending the health practitioners worldwide, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the heroic efforts health workers on the front lines make every day to keep their respective communities and the world safe and healthy.

“Despite the havoc caused by the of coronavirus pandemic on individuals and the medical personnel who are not spared by the disease, they continue to play significant roles to contain the spread of the disease, carter for the affected patients and embark on research to attain robust understand of COVID-19. They also take steps further to proffer recommendation on how to remain safe, hale and hearty, whilst we all embrace the warmth and safety of our home. This is a calling for every individual within and outside to honor and support the brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines,” he stated.

He, however, assured that as a bank “We are proud to join forces with health workers and agencies to help suppress the transmission of the virus, minimize social-economic impacts on the global community and work together to boost the nation economic growth,”

Also, as part of effort to support and attain a more robust health system in the country, Sekibo has further called and encouraged government at all levels, key stakeholders, including the private sector to strengthen financial and technical support for health workers, as part of efforts to create a safer environment for them.

According him, it calls for our collective joint action to combat COVID-19 since we are in this together and we will get through this together.

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank has assured customers of uninterrupted access to the various services, which they have been enjoying before now.

This has been made possible with the activation of the bank’s business continuity management emanating from Heritage Bank’s corporate strategy to guarantee seamless service delivery to the various stakeholders.

The bank also adopted a crisis response measures in place to minimise and manage the risk arising from COVID-19 and ensure that the payment infrastructure and logistics to maintain operations going as various State governments continue to observe lockdown to contain the pandemic.

To ensure seamless banking transactions, the bank explained that customers are constantly communicated to, to adopt its available 24/7 alternate electronic channels.

“We have encouraged our customers to adopt the self-service platforms by using the *745#. We are available via email info@hbng.com and social media (insert social media icons) to render the following services: Debit Card Hotlist, Post No Debit Request (PND Placement), HB Padie unlock/ username request/ Password reset, Statement of Account (individual accounts) and general inquiries on products and services

“We have setup a COVID-19 Support Centre to offer COVID-19 safety tips to all our customers during this period, in support of the efforts of the Government and relevant bodies. Please send any information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic via these channels: E-mail: HeritageBankCovid19Support@hbng.com  and contact number:   01-2369099,” the bank explained. 

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Access Bank MD, Wigwe sends message of hope amid COVID-19 lockdown

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The Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe has assured all Nigerians of Access Bank’s commitment to the fight the Corona virus (COVID-19).

According to Wigwe, Access Bank’s N1bn donation to the fight against COVID-19 is in line with the Bank’s brand promise of offering ‘more than banking’. According to him, “Access Bank is at the forefront of the fight against the spread of COVID-19.”

Wigwe said “The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) of which Access Bank is a major partner, was instituted to ensure we minimize the impact of COVID-19 having learnt from other countries in Europe and Asia. You can rest assured that Access Bank will continue to make appropriate arrangements to support the government, in ensuring that Nigeria has the requisite means to protect all Nigerians while combating the virus”

Through CACOVID, Access Bank will join in the procurement of over 20,000 NCDC and WHO approved diagnostic tools, set up isolation/testing centres with 1,000 beds across the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria. The first six states will be Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Port Harcourt, Borno and Abuja, while also facilitating the building of a new permanent isolation structure at mainland hospital, Yaba.

The world is currently fighting a global health crisis as COVID-19 spreads rapidly across many countries. As a result of this devastating pandemic, lives, businesses among others are being threatened globally.

With increasing number of infected persons by the day,Wigwe admitted that more will have to be done if Nigeria is to successfully slow the spread of the virus and ultimately beat it. He called on the populace to show solidarity in adherence to social distancing and other guidelines outlined by the governments at state and federal levels, as plans are stepped up to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or treat COVID-19, individuals can protect themselves and help prevent spreading the virus by washing their hands regularly with soap under running water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers; cover nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing; avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) from people; stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if they feel unwell; and avoid touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth.

It is important to note that in addition to the aged, people with underlying ailments are particularly susceptible to the impact of the virus.

However, Wigwe urged everyone to stay calm adding “this too shall pass.”

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Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Unveils Additional Benefits for Customers Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

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Following the launch of its Coronavirus (COVID-19) initiative, Prudential Zenith Life Insurance has announced some additional benefits designed to address the negative impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives globally.

According to a statement released by the company, the benefits which apply for a period of 45 days – from April 3rd to May 18th 2020 – will ensure that customers who have purchased or who intend to purchase any of the following Prudential Zenith Life products: My Family Protection Plan, My Family Protection Plan Premier, My School Fees Protection plan, PZL Term Assurance, PZL Hospital Plan and My Savings Plan-Premier will enjoy a ‘Diagnosis Benefit’, which entitles the insured who has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus by the State to a cash amount of thirty-eight thousand and a ‘Treatment Benefit’ of nine thousand daily for a maximum period of 25 days to cater for losses or incidental expenses.

The statement further noted that the company has reduced the normal waiting period from 6 months to 14 days for these benefits to apply to any new customer, while for existing customers, these additional benefits apply immediately.

Also, for any customer who has bought a policy from the company and who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or who is formally retrenched as a result of a business having to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will provide a three-month premium holiday. This means that the policy will not lapse and the customer will still enjoy the protection benefits of their policy even if they are unable to pay their regular premiums during this period. This is in addition to any ‘Death Benefits’ that are payable when due, as the company does not exclude death caused by COVID-19 under any of its policies.

To avoid any ambiguity, the company stated that it is important to note there are policy exclusions to this offering as listed below:
We are not liable to pay claims if:

  1. Treatment is for any reason other than the contraction of the COVID-19 virus.
  2. On or after the start of the policy, the Covered Person travelled to any country or area included in the list of “countries/ areas with active community transmission of COVID-19” as announced by the Nigerian Ministry of Health or World Health Organisation at the time of his/her travel.
  3. The covered person is in self-isolation or hospitalised but has not been officially diagnosed and hospitalised by the State.

The following shall apply to new clients only:
a. The Covered Person(s) has already officially been diagnosed with or already has signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of signing on to the Plan
b. The Covered Person(s) was under mandatory self-isolation in the past 14 days from the time of registration due to close contact with an infected person or having demonstrated COVID-19 symptoms.
Other Important Points to Note
a. The benefits will be provided for all clients that qualify with active policies.
b. Benefit are also available to ALL of our customers who’s employer has taken out a Critical Illness policy with Prudential Zenith Life” to “Group Life policy with Critical Illness rider
c. A claim can only be made once in respect of each Insured Life.
d. Covered Lives refers to all lives covered under the policyholder’s active existing insurance policy (ies) and includes all named individuals covered under a Group Critical Illness policy taken out by an employer of those individuals.
e. An Active Policy is a Prudential Zenith Policy which has not lapsed, been cancelled or terminated and on which premiums are received as stipulated in the contract of that policy.
f. All claim substantiating documents, should be duly stamped and signed by the issuing authority.

Live life fully covered with Prudential Zenith.

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