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Coronavirus: Fidelity Bank cuts profit target


Fidelity Bank

Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank said on Wednesday it has cut its profit target for the year, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but added it had set aside money for a Eurobond coupon payment due in two weeks, before the country begins a lockdown.

Africa’s largest city Lagos ground to a halt on Tuesday and the capital Abuja entered a two-week lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

Mid-tier Fidelity Bank now expects to see a 15% drop in profit this year to 25.8 billion naira, compared with its 2019 profit of 30.4 billion naira, Chief Operations and Information Officer Gbolahan Joshua told Reuters by phone.

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“We assume that Q2 is going to be soft after the disruptions associated with coronavirus,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Africa’s largest economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It is struggling for foreign income from its production of oil, for which prices have slumped due to a drop in demand from China and a price war between major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

But Joshua said Fidelity had enough cash to honour its Eurobond coupon payments.

“There’s been no mass discussion for loan restructuring. It’s still early days,” he said, adding that the sectors of the economy that could be impacted by the virus had been identified.

He said the bank had transferred $21 million to bond trustees for the half-yearly coupon payment on its $400 million 2022 Eurobond due on April 13 as part of its contingency plans for a lockdown.

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The bank transferred the funds to Citibank, the trustees, on Monday, Joshua said.

He said the bond issue was now yielding 16% interest, compared with 5% in January, due to investors shedding emerging market assets.

Around 60% of the bank’s 3,000 staff were working from home before the lockdown began, and the bank has looked at several scenarios to keep operations running, Joshua said.

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Joshua said the bank had reduced its exposure to upstream oil and gas production to $365 million from $500 million in 2015 shortly before Nigeria entered a recession.

Fidelity has also increased its cost of risk guidance for 2020 to a six-year high of 1.5%, he said, up from 1% last year, on its loan book worth around 1.1 trillion naira.

The higher cost of risk would hurt the bank’s profits, he said.


Just In: Nasarawa records three deaths, nine additional COVID-19 cases



Nasarawa State has recorded three additional deaths and nine confirmed cases of coronavirus bringing the total death to four.

The total confirmed cases in the state is now 90.

State Governor Abdullahi Sule announced this Thursday during a review meeting of COVID-19 in Government House Lafia the state capital.

He explained that out of the 90 confirmed cases in the state, four died while 705 samples were taken from the state to the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) for testing in the state since the outbreak of the pandemic in the state.

“Out of the 705 samples taken, we have so far received 659 results and 90 were confirmed positive, while remaining results were still being awaited”

According to the governor, “the state unfortunately recorded four dead including the member of the State Assembly representing Nasarawa-West who had died earlier of the coronavirus.

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Details later.

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37 health workers test positive for COVID-19 in Kaduna



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The Kaduna state government has said that at least 37 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.

The Deputy Director of the state’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Hamza Ibrahim Ikara, said this on Wednesday, after a COVID-19 sensitization program for district heads and traditional title holders under Zazzau Emirates.

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Ikara noted that 20 health workers have already been discharged from the isolation centre out of the 37 patients. Ikara, however, confirmed that the state has over 200 active cases with eight fatalities.

“As we speak, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, we have 37 health workers that have been affected by COVID-19 but almost 20 of them have been discharged while the remaining ones are under admission.

“So the virus is real,” he said.

Speaking further, the official added that the COVID-19 virus has spread to nine local government areas in the state such as Chukun, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Zaria and Sabon Gari, as well as Soba, Giwa, and Makarfi.

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Edo to launch sex offenders’ register



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The Edo State Government, on Wednesday, said it was working with consultants to domesticate the sex offenders’ register as part of its stance against rape and other forms of gender-based violence.

The Chairperson, Edo State Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, who addressed journalists in Benin City, said the government remained committed to its zero-tolerance for any form of gender-based violence.

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Omorogbe, who is also the state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice, stated,

“I am hoping that in the coming months, after working with our consultants, we will be able to launch our own Edo State sex offenders’ register, which is expected to be a live register to prevent manipulation.

“I want to send a message to the perpetrators out there. We are coming for you. To all those who take pleasure in inflicting violence on their spouses, children and others, know this day that your days are numbered.”

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