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Access Bank PLC is planning to cut salaries of its workers to prevent job losses as lockdown occasioned by coronavirus has drastically affected its income.

Sources in the bank told Bloomberg that the reductions were expected to start from May unless business conditions improve.

The sources who said they were briefed on the matter during a conference call, said some management staff would get as much as a 40% decrease in their salaries.

A spokesman for Lagos-based Access Bank declined to comment.

Nigerian banks are facing the threat of rising bad-debt levels as a crash in oil prices and the risk of a naira devaluation coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses.

Access Bank, which acquired rival Diamond Bank Plc last year, had 6,898 permanent staff at the end of 2019, according to a presentation on its website.

The acquisition partly contributed to a 31% increase in operating expenses. Personnel, recruitment and training costs account for more than a third of overheads after the deal boosted employee numbers and resulted in “wage harmonization” across the businesses.



The Coordinator of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Kwara state, Mrs Esther Okon has urged Nigerians to patronise certified locally made products and stop buying substandard goods.

Okon made the call in Ilorin on Monday at a meeting organised by FORGO Batteries Company Limited to sensitise its customers and other stakeholders.

Okon said that the major objective of SON was to prepare standard certification of industrial products and assistance in production of quality goods.

“Once there is a MANCAP logo on a product, it means that such product has been certified by SON and it is a standardised good.

“We are all over the country and so anytime a customer is in doubt of any product, the customer should feel free to visit any of the offices for confirmation,” she said.

According to the coordinator, FORGO has vision, direction and high determination for quality, adding that 15 vehicle batteries from FORGO have all been certified.

“We are impressed with their performance within the few years of production as they believe in excellence.

“We go to FORGO periodically and unannounced to check their products in order to ensure that the company is still doing the same thing that made us certify them and they have never disappointed us,” she said.

Mr Joseph Oforjama, the Managing Director of FORGO, gave an assurance that the company would continue to improve the quality of its batteries.

“There will be price support on our products despite the quality we offer so that they can be affordable

” We will also impact more on our personnel so that they will represent the company well,” he said.

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday said the state would support the upcoming BUA Sugar Factory and other investors in the state to succeed by creating the right environment.

AbdulRazaq said the strategies to attract and keep investors in Kwara would include sustaining the state’s peaceful environment and putting in place the necessary infrastructure and policies to ease the business climate.

He commended the BUA Group for siting its multimillion dollar sugar plant in Lafiagi in Edu local government area of Kwara, enthusing that the facility would make the local government the richest in the North Central.

“BUA today is the biggest investor in North Central Nigeria and we are happy that their investment is in Kwara State. I am in fact happy that it is in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government,” AbdulRazaq said as he toured the facility in company of its chairman AbdulSamad Rabiu and other officials of the conglomerate on Monday.

AbdulRazaq was accompanied by the Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly Yakubu Danladi; and Kwara commissioner-designates Rotimi Iliasu and Joanna Kolo who is from the local government.

He said the plant will produce about 25% of Nigeria’s sugar need when it begins operation later next year and 75% of the country’s sugar needs in the next 10 years.

“Kwara wants to be the epicentre of sugar production in Nigeria and we are creating a peaceful environment for business to thrive,” AbdulRazaq said.

He added that such investments would cut poverty rate and strengthen Kwara’s capacity to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals since the issues of water and electricity would be tackled once the factory begins operation.

Rabiu, for his part, said the sugar plantation in Lafiagi and the refinery is one of the most advanced anywhere in the world with the capacity to produce 14,000 tonnes of canes per day when completed.

“Kwara State is one of the states with land, water and climate and we set up our business here because we know sugar refining will succeed here,” he added.

“Instead of importing raw sugar and process it in Nigeria, we decided to establish sugar plantation and refinery in Nigeria and Kwara State happens to be the best located state for the investment.

“When completed, it will generate over 10,000 direct employments and produce over 200,000 tonnes of refined sugar together with 200,000 litres of ethanol and 35 megawatts of power – using the bye product of sugarcane.”

Rabiu praised the effort of the state in attracting investments, saying “this is the only sugar plant in Nigeria with plantation and refinery and will be completed by the end 2020”.

The Governor later inspected some roads and a cottage hospital in Tsaragi, a town in the local government and also directed Share and Tsaragi communities forward letters on their requests to the state government.