The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim have lauded Airtel Nigeria for its exceptional CSR efforts at the telco’s season 5 premiere of its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Airtel Touching Lives’.
The grand ceremony, which held over the weekend in Lagos at Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island was attended by several eminent guests, including award-winning writer and novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.
In his keynote address, Yemi Osinbajo commended Airtel for its unswerving efforts in bringing millions of underprivileged Nigerians out of despair and being a beacon of hope through its Touching Lives initiative. He stated, “I really want to laud the effort of Segun Ogunsanya and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives and for doing so in the past five years without fanfare. Listening to the stories of the lives that have been touched must be a reminder of so many others in despair who need our help and comfort.”
Osinbajo went on to expound the Federal Government’s continuous efforts in providing support for more Nigerians in dire need of help by creating social safety nets to the vulnerable, including improved access to healthcare, welfare, housing, among others. He noted that part of the safety net schemes is the feeding of over 9 million pupils across 34 states, however, he stated the efforts still have a long a way to go in providing succor to people in hard-to-reach communities.
“In spite of all these social safety net schemes, we are still very far from touching the majority of those who need our help. We still need more resources because we can’t do it all, and that is why socially conscious organizations like Airtel is so vital in bridging the huge gap between what the Government can do and what is left to be done”, he added.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his keynote address regarded Airtel as a partner in progress, praising the telecommunications giant for going out of its way to impact millions of lives over the years through the initiative. He stated that Airtel’s commitment to touching lives continues to compliment the State Government’s goal of giving a voice to the voiceless. He said: “Companies like Airtel is helping us actualize the reason millions of people stand under the rain and in the sun to vote for us as public officers. We truly appreciate companies like Airtel, who are taking the right narrative and steps to truly impact lives without expecting anything in return.”
Sano-Olu went on to elucidate one of the numerous ways the telco has supported the Lagos State Government, stating, “I can assure you the company has been doing incredible work and supporting us without pressurizing them. I am more than happy to reveal that even in our Security Trust Fund, Airtel gave us over 200 lines for all of our security operatives in the RRS. That for us is critical, as communication is a consequential tool that security operatives need to have to discharge their duties.”
“We are delighted that Airtel and the likes are supporting us to continually ensure that our people are taken out of poverty and Lagos State remains a destination of choice for people to do well, thrive and progress.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, , Isa Ali Ibrahim also lauded Airtel for its Touching Lives initiative, citing it as a source of inspiration for not just only public officers in government but one that could permeate the culture of giving among millions of Nigerians. He described Airtel as a corporate entity worthy of emulation by other organizations in the country. He noted that he was moved by Airtel’s unflagging dedication to truly render a helping hand to those in need without being compelled by the law to do so.
The Minister, having been moved by the gesture went on to promise to invest his salary in the purchase of Airtel top-up for others as a way of showing his gratitude and support for the telco.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, called on kind-hearted Nigerians to join in uplifting the less-privileged members of society. He stated that ‘Airtel Touching Lives’ serves as a platform to promote the culture of giving, self-sacrifice, love and charity among Nigerians.
“The initiative is designed to offer practical relief, succour, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged, disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in the Nigerian society”, he said.
He said the initiative had continued to record tremendous success since it was launched in 2015 and noted that the success of the programme over the years has encouraged the telecommunication company to keep the show running.
FIRSTBANK TAKES ITS SMES BUSINESS CLINIC TO PORT-HARCOURT AND ABUJA
In recognition of the significant role SMEs play in achieving sustainable growth and development in the economy of the country, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited would host SMEs in its 2020 second edition of the SME Business Clinic. The event themed “Building a sustainable Business” would be held on 25th and 27th February 2020 in Port-Harcourt and Abuja respectively.
SMEs are encouraged to take the FirstBank SME diagnostic tool by visiting https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/ in order to stand a chance to be amongst the participants that will be in the SME Business Clinic in Port-Harcourt and Abuja. The FirstBank SME diagnostic tool is designed for SMEs to check the health of their business, better understand it and drive profitability. The SME Clinic will feature one-on-one business advisory services, mentoring, networking opportunities and participants will also be acquainted with the requisite knowledge and business tools needed to drive efficiency in the day-to-day operations of their business.
Speaking on the event, Gbenga Shobo, the Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank, said “at FirstBank, we are proud of the giant strides we have taken over the years towards enhancing the SMEs for their businesses to thrive, have a fair play in the market and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. We remain the trusted financial partner of SMEs and reiterate our resolve to be known as the brand that enables their success; much the same way that we have for over 125 years enabling Nigerians and the economy at large”.
The coaches at the event are Seye Olurotimi, Lead Consult at Cedar Tribe Limited, an SME branding expert and business growth consultant with vast experience helping SMEs grow effective brands and Robert Yakubu, founder of the Instabiz Academy and the Business Mastery Program, a digital entrepreneur and business strategist empowering entrepreneurs, marketers and business professionals in Port-Harcourt and Abuja respectively.
The SME Clinic session is organized in partnership with SME Traction, a leading business coaching platform aimed at empowering SMEs to make informed choices about their businesses, thereby facilitating growth and bolstering their contribution to the development of the economy.
Expressing her delight on the impact the inaugural SME Clinic has had on her business, the CEO, Nibbles Plus More Ventures, Owoeye, Oluyomi, stated that “the first step I took after the SME business clinic was do a strategic road map for my business. Riding on the information I got from the business trend session on consumer landscape, I had a clearer understanding of who my target audience are and have included that in my business plan. The feedback we believe will help us identify untapped markets and problems in our industry, how to reach them and what value we can offer them”.
Like we were told at the clinic, progressing into the counter intuitive zone of the business model reinventing box is what brings about Innovation. Something must trigger innovation and not just our intuition. Hence, we have chosen research, she concluded.
Standard Chartered Bank arranges a US$ 1.46 billion financing to fund the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project
The Government of Tanzania Ministry of Finance has signed a facility agreement with Standard Chartered (SC.com) Tanzania for a US$ 1.46 billion term loan financing to fund the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora.
Running approximately 550 kilometres long, the SGR project is one of the country’s biggest projects connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora. Once complete, the SGR Rail project will provide a safe and reliable means for efficiently transporting people and cargo to and from the existing Dar es Salaam Port.
According to the Tanzania Railways Corporation, it is expected that the railway will address current congestion challenges and decrease freight service charges by 40%, as the railway will be able to haul up to 10,000 tons of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries, per trip. It will also connect Tanzania to Burundi, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, thereby playing a key role in enhancing regional trade.
The project has already created more than 8,000 new direct employment opportunities for Tanzanians and has opened up opportunities for the local communities surrounding the project area to access social services such as shelter and food.
Standard Chartered Tanzania acted as Global Co-ordinator, Bookrunner and Mandated Lead Arranger on the facility agreement that is the largest foreign currency financing raised by the Ministry of Finance to date. The biggest component of financing comes from the Export Credit Agency Covered Facility(‘s) from the Export Credit Agencies of Denmark and Sweden.
Speaking at the event to sign off the deal, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Philip Mpango, commended and thanked Standard Chartered Tanzania.
“I am very delighted to sign off on this deal on behalf of the Government of Tanzania and its people. With the help of Standard Chartered and our partners, the project financing will further increase direct employment in Tanzania, and more importantly, enable our local communities the thrive as they will be able to gain access to wider social services such as food and housing.”
Mr. Mpango also commended and thanked the Governments of Sweden and Denmark, which were represented by their Ambassadors in Tanzania, for their confidence in the country’s economic growth. “These two nations, Sweden and Denmark, have shown us their true friendship not only in words but also in action. Please convey our country’s sincere appreciation to the Export Credit Agencies and lenders in your countries that have supported this signature project. As a country we shall honour our commitments as we have always done.” Hon. Dr. Mpango said.
In addition to thanking the Export Credit Agencies and lenders, Hon. Mpango also thanked the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), for supporting the project in partnership with Export Credit Agencies from Denmark and Sweden.
He added that the funding would enable the project to be completed in good time as per the set plans.
Mr. Sanjay Rughani, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Tanzania, said the deal signified investor confidence in the market and demonstrated Standard Chartered’s international network capabilities and commitment to Tanzania.
“As a leading international Bank for Africa, with over 100 years of being in Tanzania, the African continent remains a key corridor not only for Standard Chartered but also our global clients. We are delighted to have reached this milestone in Tanzania to fund the SGR project that will deliver massive benefits to Tanzania and support the government’s 2025 vision of making Tanzania an industrialised country.” Mr. Rughani said.
Mr. Rughani added that the Bank will continue to leverage its unique network reach, and the credibility it has built over time, to further position Tanzania as the go-to destination for investments.
Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Standard Chartered Africa and the Middle East said the deal signified the benefit of our unrivalled network capabilities into the region. “There is considerable appetite from the global investment community into Africa, with 80 percent of our top Corporate & Institutional clients using our Africa and Middle East network. For Standard Chartered, Africa remains a priority for our business and clients, and we are proud to be able to use our expertise to support the Government of Tanzania with the finance needed for the SGR project.”
The sign off ceremony was also attended by the Ambassador of Denmark to Tanzania, H.E Mette Norgaard Dissing-Spandet and the Ambassador of Sweden to Tanzania, H.E Anders Sjoberg.
In attendance was also H.E Robert Mengoni, the Ambassador of Italy to Tanzania and Mr. Calumm Mcallum, Country Director, International Trade – for the British High Commission. The Country Manager for the Africa Development Bank Dr. Alex Mubiru and Resident Representative for the IMF in Tanzania, Mr. Jens Reinke also attended the event.
Other key Government Officials included the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr. Doto James, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Tanzania responsible for Economic and Financial Policies, Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila, and the Director General of the Tanzania Railway Corporation, Mr. Masanja Kadogosa.
CSR: Ikeja Electric donates medical equipment to Ikorodu General Hospital
Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company has donated an ultramodern phototherapy machine and clinical supplies to General Hospital, Ikorodu, as part of its CSR activities towards improvement of healthcare.
At the presentation held at the hospital, Ikeja Electric team comprising staff from the Headquarters in Ikeja and Ikorodu Business Unit presented the items to management of the Hospital in Ikorodu. The company’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Mrs. Enobong Ezekiel, expressed the Disco’s unwavering commitment to positively impact on lives and give back to the society.
Mrs. Ezekiel said: “Ikeja Electric is a customer centric organization and it means that we are also committed to ensuring that we make impact on communities where we operate; that is why we are here. Today is significant to us too, as the entire world is celebrating love. For us at Ikeja Electric, our theme this year is ‘Clean Love.’ So, we are celebrating pure love and saying ‘no to drugs’, as well.
“Being here today is motivated by love. And to donate the phototherapy equipment and clinical items to the Paediatric Unit is something significant that will add value to what already exist in the hospital. Ikeja Electric has also come to appreciate the management and staff for providing healthcare services to the neighbourhood and residents of Ikorodu town. We love the fact that you are our customer. And we have come to do our community service.”
While commending Ikeja Electric, Dr. Olufunmilayo Bankole, the Medical Director, General Hospital Ikorodu said: “Ikeja Electric today gave us a donation of a phototherapy machine. As a hospital we are really elated to receive them, we are very happy that we have other organizations who like to partner with government to make healthcare service in Lagos State much better than it is currently”.
“That phototherapy machine given us today is going to serve a lot of children in treating Jaundice. And we believe that if we are able to treat more people, we will be able to have a better health in our population in Lagos State. This phototherapy machine is going to go a long way in making a difference in the lives of these children.
“We want to say congratulations to Ikeja Electric. This is a noble cause. We know if they continue to do this as well as other agencies or individuals, who would like to partner with government to improve healthcare services in Lagos state, we will really welcome them to Ikorodu General Hospital.,” she added.
Speaking on the PCSR initiatives, Felix Ofulue, Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, said: As a business, we are very passionate about giving back to the society in which we operate. A lot of people know us as power distribution company, but beyond that there are many other things we do.
“One of them is CSR, which is predicated on three pillars – education, empowerment and health. This is one of the interventions for us to give back to the society. The selection of today is very deliberate because it is a day when love is expressed all over the world and we felt that this is another way of demonstrating love especially to children in Ikorodu,” he explained.
The presentation of the medical equipment and clinical supplies was done at children’s ward of the hospital.
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