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Bank customers decry arbitrary deductions, hails bank for refund

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Bank customers decry arbitrary deductions, hails bank for refund


Some customers of Access (Diamond) and Fidelity Bank have decried the arbitrary deduction of charges from their accounts by their banks.

The customers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday, described the act as inconsiderate, bearing in mind the current state of the country’s economy due to the pandemic.

Mr Collins Yastrup, a journalist and a customer of both Fidelity and Access Banks, said he was shocked when different debit alerts were sent to his phone from the two banks.

Ibe who said the debits were uncalled for during this time, however, hailed Access bank for the prompt refund of his monies.

“Yes, Access bank debited my money but they have refunded it but the bank that has taken a lot from my account is Fidelity. They have killed me with their debit alerts.

“In short, I am speechless. Sometimes, they take N100, N200 and all is within this lockdown. In fact, it is much.

“These banks are never tired of collecting monies from their customers. Any money that hits my account, they will collect like N100 straight, ’’ he explained.

Mrs Onyinye Ibe, a business woman and a customer of Access (Diamond) bank, told NAN that although the bank had refunded the money they deducted from her account, it was not complete.

“The bank debited N500 from my account but they only refunded N300. This is illegal and dubious.

“I started getting different debit alerts from my bank saying it is stamp duty charges.

“I heard that the stamp duty money will be paid to the Federal Government but the government is giving people palliatives in this COVID-19 season, so, I don’t understand.

“This is robbing Peter to pay Paul,’’ she said.

An artisan and a customer of Access Bank, Malam Idris Gambo, said the continuous deduction from his account was discouraging.

Gambo said that if the act continued, he would be forced to close his account with the bank and start home-savings.

“These banks should know that we are not fools. They are in business because we are there so, they should not joke with us,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Access Bank on its official twitter page: @myaccessbank wrote “with you, we stand strong. This is why we have decided to bear the stamp duty charges on behalf of our customers for the affected period (February to April 2020).

“Earlier this week, we informed all our customers that we had inadvertently not charged stamp duty on some accounts from February to April 2020 as mandated by the Federal Government.

“Stamp duty charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap S8).

“We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds collected to the Federal Government.

“However, we have heard our customers’ feedback that this charge is unwelcomed, especially at this time against a challenging economic backdrop.

“We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only.

“This means that all individuals and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020, will be refunded,’’ the bank said.

A banker with Fidelity Bank who preferred anonymity said the bank was not charging customers arbitrarily.

According to the source, yes, we charge our customers for stamp duty but we don’t deduct charges that are not within our policy.

NAN reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s guidelines stipulates a stamp duty fee of N50 on every transaction worth N1000 or more, to be paid by he receiver of the money is meant to pay the N50 stamp duty, and not the sender.

The CBN, however, released another revised guidelines recently which states that a graduated fee scale for electronic transfer replaces the current flat fee of N50.

Accordingly, it noted that transfers below N5,000 will attract a maximum charge of N10, transfer from N5001 to N50,000 would attract N25 and transfers above N50,000 would attract N50.

The guidelines stated that card maintenance fee on current account had been removed as the accounts already attracted account maintenance fee, while Savings account would attract card maintenance fee of N50 per quarter from N50 per month.

It disclosed that annual card maintenance fee on FCY denominated cards was reduced from 20 dollars to 10 dollars, while remote on us ATM charges were reduced to N35 after third withdrawal within a month from N65.

“The charge for hardware token will on cost recovery basis be subject to a maximum of N2,500 from previous maximum charge of N3,500, while  And fee for SMS mandatory alert will be on cost recovery from previous maximum charge of four naira.

“Bill payment via E channels will attract a maximum charge of N500 from 0.75 per cent of transaction value subject to maximum of N1,200,” the guidelines explained.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

Ginika Okoye: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

COVID-19

LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19

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The Lagos State Government says it is engaging a holistic approach to restarting the state’s economy and re-imagining its operations toward surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in its year 2021 budget.


Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.

Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.

“The state government has increased commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to help them during and post COVID-19.

“We intend to adopt consolidation and tactical redirection to areas that would help employment, food production and security, particularly to overcome the effects of COVID-19.

“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.

“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.

He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.

“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.

“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.

“In view of the dwindling revenue of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) due to the pandemic, LASG is committed to growing the state’s IGR to sustain its developmental projects.

“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.

“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.

For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.

He added that the state also focussed on agriculture as plans to finish the Rice Mill at Imota and undertake a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concession afterwards was underway.

“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.

“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.

“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.

The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.

On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.

Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.

Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.

Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.

He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.

The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19

Resumption: Lagos schools comply with COVID-19 protocols

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Secondary Schools in Lagos State are complying with the COVID-19 prevention protocols, as students in exit classes resume.


The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents, who visited some schools in the state, report that water, soaps , alcohol-based hand sanitisers and infrared thermometer were provided by the schools.

Also, compulsory wearing of nose masks and social distancing in classrooms were observed by students and teachers.

A big banner displaying World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines was seen at the entrance of the Honeyland Schools, Ipaja.

At the Senior High School, Alimosho, students wore face masks or shields while receiving lectures in their classrooms.

Mr Oluyemi Faleke, Principal of Honeyland Schools, said that SS3, students of the school were ready for the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Faleke said that during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the school engaged its students through virtual learning.

He said that participation was compulsory.

“We do not just collect money from parents, we make sure students get good quality education.

“We have many classrooms for students to practise social distancing , it is possible for five students to sit per class during the examination,” he said.

Kehinde Fadaka, Head Boy of Honeyland Schools, said that he was ready to write the examination.

He said that he studied hard with the assistance of the school’s virtual learning and personal timetable.

“The classes we are having now are to help me revise all I have read and prepare me for further.

Miss Opeyemi Hamzat, SS3 students of Senior High School, Alimosho, said that she was very happy to resume.

Hamzat said that she read everyday during the lockdown and participated in the WAEC revision programme aired on television by Lagos State Government.

Mrs Betty Attah, Executive Director, Mandate Schools, Akerman in Alimosho said that the school followed the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Attah told NAN that the students would resume as boarding students during WASSCE.

”We have prepared our boarding facilities for all SS3 students, the arrangement will accommodate three students instead of 10.

“We have six students in each class in order to practise social distancing,” she said,”Attah said.

Mrs Grace Ikazan, Principal of Sophem High School, Ipaja – a private school, said that the school was doing revision for SS3 students.

Ikahan said that only SS3 students resumed, adding that the students’ temperatures were being checked regularly and social distancing observed.

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Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Education

Robogarden set to empower education stakeholders on coding technology

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A digitised educational platform, Robogarden, has urged the Federal Government to imbibe personalised learning on coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and skills in the Nigeria’s educational system.


Its President, Dr Mohamed Elhabiby, made the plea at a webinar on Tuesday, in Lagos, saying this would ensure future of the new economy was dependent on successful and sustainable digital transformation processes.

According to him, this will be achieved through skills, education technology, personalised learning and artificial intelligence.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar focussed on Personalised Learning, AI and Education Technology, Digital Transformation Skills, Challenges, Today and in the Future.

Its theme was: “Rights and Voices of Youth: Teach Coding for the Youth.”

Elhabiby said there was the need to prepare children from an early age for the new reality of professions and mastery of digital technology to address shortage of skill and enhance competitiveness in the future of jobs.

He said that Robogarden was created to engage and provide code execution support for persons of different races and culture, irrespective of language.

The founder of the garden also urged the government to stimulate plans to provide tools to enable individuals, communities and companies to become active innovators.

“The job market was already undergoing profound digital transformation, and so required professionals with an increasing knowledge of technology.

“Such qualifications would result in better income distribution, reduction of social inequality, unemployment and crime rates.

“Skills for the future in 2030 include: digital literacy and computational thinking, creative and innovative thinking, and cognitive flexibility.

“We are highly relying on technology and skills should be matching to them.

“It is important to be digitally literate to the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and data science.

“Today’s job vacancies may not be the same as tomorrow, and that is why humans should be able to adapt to the changes happening around them in the digital space.

“Currently, every country has issues with shortage of skills and high unemployment rates globally.

“Skills plus education is the new future, while the new literacy is coding,” he said.

In her remarks, Mrs Ngozi Ogoke, Chief Executive Officer,  Ovana E-learning Limited, said her organisation, in collaboration with Robogarden,  focussed on bringing transformation to the Nigerian digital economy and Africa as a whole.

According to her, the webinar serves to offer scholastically unique technology driven solutions that would lead to critical thinking and achievement of excellence in higher learning outcomes.

“We aim to create bright new opportunities for individuals and the entire community as we are in a new world of technology and

digitalisation,” Ogoke said.

Responding, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the country had opened its doors to technological training with regards to robotics.

Adamu, represented by Mrs Muna Onuzo-Iyanam, Special Adviser, Technical Planning, Research and Development, Ministry of Education, said he was committed to upscaling training of teachers and students toward achieving digital transformation in the education space.

“Our schools will become more compliant at introducing AI, robotics, coding and technological learning to prepare our children for the future and advance the future of jobs,” he said.

Also at the webinar, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, the President, National Association of Proprietors of Private School, pledged her support and commitment to ensuring public schools’ participation in technological personalised learning.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19

Risks of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding negligible — WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the risk of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding is negligible and has never been documented.


Dr Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Head of the organisation’s Food and Nutrition Action in Health Systems unit, stated this on Tuesday, according to the United Nations.

In a report, the UN quoted Grummer-Strawn as making the statement at a news briefing on the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week where he appealed for greater support for the practice. 

This year’s event is coming amid warning by the WHO that lack of mother’s milk is linked to 820,000 child deaths a year, costing the global economy 300 billion dollars (N114 trillion).

WHO has been very clear in its recommendations to say absolute breastfeeding should continue.

“We have never documented, anywhere around the world, any (COVID-19) transmission through breastmilk,” Grummer-Strawn said.

He said exclusive breastfeeding for six months has many benefits for the infant and mother which far outweigh any risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the advantages included the fact that breastmilk, including milk which is expressed, provides lifesaving antibodies that protect babies against many childhood illnesses.

“This is only one of the reasons why new mothers should initiate skin-to-skin contact and room-in with their babies quickly.

“The risks of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from a COVID-positive mother to her baby seem to be extremely low”, the WHO official said.

He explained that the conclusion followed the testing of the breastmilk of many mothers around the world in a variety of studies.

Grummer-Strawn said although a few samples had the virus followup tests showed that the virus was not viable and could not be infective.

 

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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