- Elections: Customers Make Last-minute Withdrawals as Banks Close Early
Customers of Deposit Money Banks on Friday made last minute withdrawals at various bank branches in Abuja and Lagos ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to take place today (Saturday).
Our correspondents who monitored the activities of some of the banks on Friday in Abuja and some parts of Lagos observed that some banks had a difficult time attending to their customers, who trooped into banking halls in large numbers to make cash withdrawals.
Some of the banks are United Bank for Africa in Wuse, First Bank of Nigeria Plc (Central Area), Zenith Bank Plc (Central Area), First City Monument Bank (Area 3), and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (Area 3). among others.
It was learnt that some of the banks, in a bid to balance up their accounts, shut their banking halls to customers before the usual time of 4 pm.
For instance, FCMB in a notice to customers on Friday fixed the closing time for all banking transactions at 2 pm.
It said, “Due to the forthcoming presidential election on Saturday, February 16, 2019, please be informed that all our branches will be closed to customers by 2 pm on Friday, February 15, 2019.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding.
“We will resume our normal 8am-5pm banking hours from Monday, February 18, 2019.”
Apart from FCMB, Providus Bank and First Bank Plc, among others, also closed to customers at 2 pm.
The rush from customers, it was learnt, became imperative to enable them to meet up with their financial obligations before the polls on Saturday following the restrictions on movement by the acting Inspector-General of Police.
While most of these customers were seen making huge withdrawals that would sustain them till after the polls, others were seen transferring money through various banking channels.
Even some of the Automated Teller Machines mounted at some of the bank premises came under pressure from customers as some of these ATMs had to be constantly restocked with cash to meet up with the huge demand for cash.
As a result of the large number of people using the ATMs, the development led to disruptions in financial transactions arising from network congestions.
A bank customer who simply gave his name as Kelvin told our correspondent that he needed to make the withdrawals in order not to be caught unawares.
He, however, added that if the period of voting was extended, then he would have the need to be looking for cash to meet his financial obligations.
He said, “Tomorrow (today) is election day and in my office, we are asked to close at 12 pm to enable us to go home and prepare for the polls.
“I have been in this queue for over 30 minutes now to make withdrawals and as you can see, it’s not been easy because of the fact that some of the ATMs are not even dispensing cash and the poor network is not making it possible for some bank ATM cards to work on another ATM machine.
“But whatever the situation, there is a need to get the cash to enable one have something at home because there is a restriction of movement and we don’t know what will happen during the election.
“While no one is praying for violence, voting may be extended and when this happens, no one will be able to go and make another withdrawal. So it’s better to play safe by having enough than being caught unawares.”
Checks by one of our correspondents at three different banks in Lagos showed bank customers were also in a rush to make last-minute withdrawals at ATM machines.
Long queues of bank customers were seen at the Iju branch of First Bank of Nigeria on Friday afternoon while several women were seen moving from the bank premises to a nearby market for last-minute purchases.
Also in Ojodu Berger branch of the Stanbic IBTC and Access Bank, ATM points were filled with bank customers while others were in a queue waiting their turn to withdraw and make other transactions.
A Stanbic IBTC customer, Dapo Adenuga, said he received a text message from the bank, which stated that the bank would close by 2 pm on Friday.
The message obtained by our correspondent read, “Dear customer, in view of the upcoming presidential elections, please be informed that our banking halls will be closed to customers at 2 pm on Friday, February 15, 2019. However, our ATMs, USSD, mobile and Internet banking channels will continue to be available for your use.”
Ibidun Ayoola, who banks with UBA and FCMB, also said she received a similar messaging informing her of the early closure of the banks.
Ecobank Partners NiDCOM to Mobilise Nigerians Abroad for National Development
In a bid to fulfill it’s objectives and mandate, the Pan African Bank has promised to support Nigerians living and working abroad through it’s partnership with NiDCOM.
The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has stated that the bank is privileged to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM) and will continue to pursue one of its key mandates of helping to enhance the economic development and integration of Africa through its support to Nigerians living and working abroad.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series with Ecobank as the sole banking partner which took place on Saturday, 8th May 2021, he noted that Ecobank remains a critical bridge for Nigerians abroad, as it has made huge investments in the necessary platforms to enable them connect with home seamlessly. The event held online and had over 2000 participants from across all the continents in attendance.
“Nigerians in the diaspora play a major role in nation building, their contribution goes a long way to catalyse economic development. For us at Ecobank, we are a pan-African institution positioned to foster the economic growth and integration of our continent, so we are particularly pleased to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), ably led by the Chairman/CEO, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa”.
“We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian living abroad is able to remit home seamlessly and affordably, access viable investment opportunities and as the financial institution of choice for Nigerians abroad, we have deployed the necessary resources to actualise this.” He stated.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was also present, reiterated the readiness of the government to collaborate with Nigerians in the diaspora, highlighting the new processes put in place to facilitate passport issuance, noting that all backlog of passport applications would be cleared by the end of May 2021.
Also speaking, the Hon. Minister of State, Foreign Affairs Amb. Zubairu Dada said harnessing the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in the diaspora towards the socio-economic, cultural, and political development of Nigeria can no longer be ignored. He pointed out that the Nigerian diaspora community is well educated, resourceful, skilled, and exposed to global best practices.
The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa explained that the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series is projected to be a major aspect of national discourse, where Nigerians abroad can be kept abreast of the government’s policies, programmes and projects.
Increase in Price Boosts Revenue of Dangote Sugar by 41.5 Percent in Q1 2021
Revenue of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc rose by 41.5 percent to N67.394 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 from N47.643 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2020.
According to the leading sugar manufacturer, the increase in revenue was a result of the increase in the price of sugar in the first quarter. The company claimed price adjustment was necessary to mitigate the negative effect of inflation and depreciation on the company.
Volumes only rose by 5.7 percent during the quarter despite a 41.5 percent increase in revenue, meaning the increase in price was the main sales catalyst.
In the company’s unaudited financial statements, gross profit grew from N12.721 billion in Q1 2020 to N18.044 billion in Q1 2021.
Similarly, operating profit stood at N15.884 billion, up from N10.747 billion posted in Q1 2020.
Finance cost more than double from N1.353 billion in Q1 2020 to N3.412 billion in Q1 2021.
Dangote Sugar’s profit before tax rose from N9.509 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter to N11.949 billion in the quarter under review.
The company paid N3.646 billion in income tax, slightly higher than N3.137 paid in the same quarter of 2020.
Profit for the period grew from N6.372 billion in Q1 2020 to N8.302 billion in Q1 2021.
Commenting on the company’s performance, Dangote Sugar said “EBITDA increased by 34.7% to N17.02 billion (2020: N12.64 billion) on account of increased earnings. Group profit after taxation for the period increased by 30.3% to N8.30 billion (2020: N6.37 billion) reflecting management’s unrelenting drive to deliver consistent shareholder value.”
On price increase, the company hinged it on series of devaluation carried out in 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), escalating inflation, port congestion and rising in price of global sugar. Dangote Sugar said its imported raw sugar from Brazil under Federal Government’s backward integration plan.
“We have continued to witness high cost of raw materials, energy costs and other input costs due to rising inflation and FX rate fluctuation. Further cost escalation is anticipated in the year as inflationary pressure mounts,” the company said.
FBN Holdings Suffers 39 Percent Drop in Profit to N15.6 Billion in Q1 2021
FBN Holdings Plc profit after tax declined by 39 percent from N23.140 billion recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to N15.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
In the leading financial institution’s unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Exchange Limited, gross earnings declined by 14.5 percent to N137 billion in the period under review, down from N160 billion filed in the previous quarter.
Similarly, net interest income declined from N60.253 billion achieved in Q1 2020 to N52.793 billion.
Net interest income after impairment charge for losses also dipped from N50.547 billion in Q1 2020 to N39.619 billion in Q1 20201. While net fee and commission income rose from N20.773 billion in Q1 2020 to N28.427 billion in Q1 2021.
Profit before tax declined by 34 percent to N18.906 billion in the quarter under review, down from N28.680 billion posted in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
FBN Holdings paid N3.285 billion in income tax in the first quarter of 2020.
Therefore, profit for the period stood at N15.621 billion. While Net Assets contracted from N765.2 billion to N764.8 billion.
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