Standard Chartered Bank has opened the first of 10 new branches it plans to establish in Lagos state.
The first of the proposed branches was opened at the Lagos’ Circle Mall, along Lekki/Epe Expressway.
A statement explained that the branch compliments the bank’s ongoing investment into digital infrastructure, while aligning with its focus on rapidly expanding cities across its global footprint in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Through its recently launched ‘Here for Africa’ campaign, Standard Chartered recently reiterated its commitment to the continent and will continue to invest in its regional strategy, with Nigeria as a key focus for expansion.
One of the eight fastest-growing cities in Africa, Lagos generates 25 per cent of Nigeria’s total gross domestic product
The CEO of Retail Banking, Karen Fawcett, opened the new branch with Regional CEO for Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire, Mrs. Bola Adesola and the bank’s Head of Retail Banking for Nigeria, Ebehijie Momoh.
Commenting on the new branch, Adesola said: “Our Retail Banking business in Nigeria has been growing from strength to strength, with income increasing 12 per cent year-on-year in 2015. Thanks to the support from government and the Nigerian people, we will continue to invest in our capabilities to deliver increasingly efficient, cost effective and accessible banking for all our clients. With 10 more branches, we aim to extend the reach and accessibility of banking, while freeing up our clients’ time to focus on their personal priorities.”
The World Economic Forum cites Lagos as the fastest-growing city in the world, expanding at a rate of 85 people per hour. By 2050, Lagos’ population is expected to double, which will make it the third largest city in the world.
On his part, Fawcett said: “We’re very excited about the opportunities in Nigeria and the Africa region. So we’re investing here to bring the best in banking through digital channels, as well as giving clients the choice of coming to a branch when they want advice and a more personal touch.”
Standard Chartered has recently launched new mobile and online banking platforms in eight markets across Africa, including Nigeria, bringing cutting-edge digital channels to one million clients in the region.
IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected
The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.
Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.
IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.
Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.
Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.
The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.
While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.
Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse
The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.
In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.
President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.
Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.
The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.
Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.
The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.
However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.
As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.
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