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N1.163trn budget to expand opportunities for residents to flourish —Gov Sanwo-Olu By

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured Lagos State residents that the N1.163 trillion would expand opportunities for residents to flourish despite the economic challenges caused by the disastrous events.

This statement was in reaction to  the 2021 budget  financial document signed into law on Thursday at a simple ceremony held at the State House in Marina, ushering Lagos residents into the New Year with reassuring hopes and heightened expectations.

The Governor assented to the bill, christened “Budget of Rekindled Hope”, at the event attended by cabinet members, Assembly members and chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, who also represented the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

After signing the bill, Sanwo-Olu remarked that the speedy consideration and passage of the budget reflected the dedication to the progress and prosperity of the State by both the executive and legislature.

Describing the past year as a peculiar era in the annals of the State, the Governor said the economic paralysis caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and destruction wreaked in the wake of the hijacked EndSARS protests drew Lagos’ development back in no small measures.

With the signing of the budget, Sanwo-Olu said the State walked into 2021 with strong will and high determination to rebuild lost assets of the State.

He said: “With the passage of the 2021 Appropriation Bill, and the signing of the document into law today, our will to rebuild Lagos, advance the State’s economic growth, and expand opportunities for Lagosians to flourish despite the economic challenges caused by the coronavirus, has now been reinforced.

“As we already know, 2020 will go down in history as a peculiar year largely defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ENDSARS protests, which were recklessly hijacked by those who destroyed some of our public assets and private businesses. We are fortunate to be going into the New Year with an already passed budget, which will help to expedite our recovery process.”

Significant parts of the State’s 2021 spending, Sanwo-Olu said, are committed to human capital development, youth engagement, social intervention initiatives, while a chunk of the spending is reserved for the completion of ongoing projects critical to achieving the objectives of his administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

The Governor reassured residents that the budget would rekindle their hopes and deliver substantial economic growth. He said tough choices would be made where necessary and leverage opportunities required to engender sustainable and inclusive growth.

Sanwo-Olu promised that the budget would be prudently implemented, with the focus on provision of the right economic environment for people to thrive.

He said: “With the enormous challenges of the outgoing year, we are conscious of the fact that in order to efficiently and successfully implement the 2021 Budget, we must be selfless and dedicated. We are up to the task; with our collective resilience, we will achieve our key goals in all sectors, and nothing will stop us from justifying the trust of the people in this Government.

“I assure you that the 2021 budget will be prudently implemented with the people as our focus, as we are determined to provide the right economic environment for Lagosians to thrive. As the world combats COVID-19, we will make the necessary sacrifices to further place our State on the path of abundance and economic recovery. We are going into 2021 with the unwavering determination to engender sustainable and inclusive growth.”

The Governor urged stakeholders, especially the private sector, artisans as well as small and medium-sized business owners not to relent in supporting the government by voluntarily discharging their civic responsibilities.

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, hailed the process of ratification of the appropriation bill, describing the procedure as “strenuous but thorough”.

He promised that the implementation of the budget would driven to greater performance, while also assuring the public of intimating them with the full details and breakdown of the budget in due course.

About N703 billion, representing 60 per cent of 2021 budget, is earmarked for capital expenditure, while N460.5 billion will go for recurrent expenditure.

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HP unveils innovative PCs for the future at CES 2021

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The PC has never been more essential, so this year at CES 2021, HP Inc. unveiled new devices and solutions designed to power hybrid work environments and growing personal creative studios.

With half of the global workforce still working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new use cases for the PC are emerging for both consumers and employees remaining at home. Since COVID, there has been a seven-hour increase per week in time spent on personal PCs. In some cases, this has resulted in an increase in everyday creativity – with photography, writing stories or articles, and live streaming being the top three activities among consumers.But working and staying at home isn’t always simple, with only 30% of people having a space where they can shut the door.  Yet 72% of knowledge workers want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward and 48% of Gen Z are considering an expansion of their freelance business in the future, requiring solutions with enhanced collaboration and micro-mobility features.

“While the PC is more essential than ever, what’s most important of all is people. Our innovation engine continues to be grounded in deep customer insights that help keep people connected, engaged, and contributing in this new world,” said Alex Cho, president, Personal Systems, HP Inc.

“We are looking beyond the device people use to what will improve their experience – from software that provides lighting control for video calls, peripherals that enable a more customised experience, to how services can make it easier to monitor and manage devices for a multitude of devices.”

“The way we work and where it happens has elevated the need for technology that keeps us productive and collaborative. The ability to work together despite being apart has never been more important. HP meets this need with the new HP Dragonfly G2 and HP Dragonfly Max with next-level collaboration,” Cho said.

Among the products unveiled at theCES 2021event include the HP Elite Dragonfly G2, the world’s lightest compact business convertible, weighing less than 1 kg, and one of the world’s most sustainable PC portfolio  with striking finishes and accents that incorporate recycled materials, including ocean-bound plastics. A The device offers incredible power through 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors and new Intel® integrated graphics and allows users to stay connected through impressively fast 5G  or gigabit-class 4G LTE connectivity,  with Tile™ now built in.

Also on display at the ongoing tech event is The HP Elite Dragonfly Max which takes the Elite Dragonfly G2 beyond expectations to deliver the world’s most advanced collaboration in a business convertible, and provides a clear, crisp, and comfortable collaboration experience with enhanced features including: four wide-range microphones with AI-driven audio optimisation, a 5 MP + IR camera for high quality video chatting, and an HP Eye Ease display with blue light technology with Eyesafe® certification, to work, surf, or chat without burdening eyes.

Another on display is the HP Elite Folio which amps up productivity without limits with the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform delivering multi-gigabit connectivity speeds with optional 5G connectivity,  Wi-Fi 6,  and up to 24.5 hours of local video playback.  Featuring a pull-forward form factor with a flexible, magnesium unibody design, the Elite Folio combines what people love about their phone, tablet, and PC all into one device.

HP also wowed guests with the HP EliteBook 840 G8 Aero, the under 1.13 kg. powerhouse  equipped with 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, integrated Tile™ capabilities,  Wi-Fi 6, ,   and optional 5G LTE connectivity options.  Part of the world’s most secure and manageable PCs,  the device hosts a variety of HP security features to keep sensitive data safe, including an HP Privacy Camera and optional HP Sure View Reflect to protect against visual hacking.

Additional new devices from HP include the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G8 and the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G8, both with special features which transforms each to the workstyle of choice with a powerful processor, strong security, an optional 5G connection. Also new is the HP Elite x2 G8 which combines modern PC performance with pure tablet mobility for professionals who desire freedom to work anywhere without compromising on productivity, security, or privacy.

Other products unveiled at the ongoing tech event include the HP ENVY 14, the mobile personal creative studio which gives people the freedom to create and stay connected from anywhere; the HP M-Series FHD Monitors which are designed for home workers and creatives who need to be productive, with a slim design for a modern look and feel, and the HP E24u G4 and HP E27u G4 USB-C Monitors which provides a clean desk solution with quick and easy USB-C® connectivity that can power a connected laptop up to 65W.

HP also showcased some top-of-the-range accessories, including the HP 635 Multi-Device Wireless Mouse, the perfect, ultra-small travel companion with year-long battery life and the ability to connect with up to three different devices with the USB® nano dongle or Bluetooth® for uninterrupted transitions between the PC and tablet. Also on display is the HP Renew Travel 15.6-inch backpack and laptop bag, the environmental-friendly bag made fiber materials obtained by recycling plastic bottles.

Commenting on HP’s insights-driven services, Cho said: “HP Smart Support provides fast resolution to IT-related issues to keep employees up and running. Built on HP’s focus on insight-driven innovations, the new solution puts the power of insights and AI into the hands of its customers through cloud-based telemetry. Smart Support securely provides HP Support Agents with device health insights and configuration data for them to quickly review, diagnose, and troubleshoot device-related issues to keep support calls short giving employee’s time back to get work done. This new option can be downloaded on select HP commercial devices. Also the HP Business Boost offers unique support for SMBs to help manage remote workers to be productive from wherever they are working with a simple solution for out-of-the-box PCs and printers.”

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My Bank. My Wife and The New Social Order

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One thing that attracted me to the firm was its legacy. Its founder, Chief Subomi Balogun was a hero of sorts to young Stockbrokers like myself. He had built the institution from his boot straps to the behemoth it is today with over 50,000 Shareholders.

My first day at work, I was taken in a ride by the then Managing Director Ladi Balogun on his way to a meeting with Aliko Dangote and in those few minutes he perfectly situated the values that drove the institution. Ethical standards and integrity were the words he kept repeating as he stressed the need for me to join as he attempted to reclaim market share in the Local Securities market.

I stayed with the Bank for over 15months and having worked in several financial instutions including about four Banks and several stockbroking and Asset Management Firms, I can safely say that the ethical standards at FCMB stand shoulder high above its peers. The FCMB woman is well regarded, with access to the very top to discuss her issues. They even have the FCMB Woman Platform which seeks to build cohesion and gives the FCMB woman the much needed push to fulfil whatever it is is her career goals.

That said, the news of the alleged dalliance between the well regarded MD Mr. Nuru and the former staff leading to the supposed siring of two kids by him while still in her marriage and ultimately leading to her husbands passing has captured the imagination of Nigerians powerfully.

Daily the keen observer is assailed with all sort of social media commentary, memes and the rest on the matter. I hear an online petition has been in circulation with varied numbers being quoted as signatures asking both the FCMB and the CBN to act on the matter. A memo allegedly sent out by Group Managing Director Ladi Balogun quoting that the issue could derail the achievements’ of the Bank in the just concluded year is leaked, fueling calls for his removal.

All these have thrown up very important questions on the ethical behaviors of Bankers and its effect on the Bank’s public image and much more importantly the profitability of the Bank on the one hand and the safety of public funds in its custody on the other. It is also putting the regulator to task on the issue.

But tarry awhile. Why all these fervor on an unsigned petition innocuously posted on social media. How do we move against a Man based on a mere allegation without anybody coming out to own up to the allegations. Up until this point as I write, I have not seen a signed petition accusing the man of all of these allegations. What we are seeing so far are online petitions from people on the back of the anonymous triggerr post. Should we now then hang a man based on this? Based on public push which is as is the case quite emotional.

The arbitrariness of this matter and others like this especially on social media is scary. What this portends is that if Nuru falls then anybody can fall based on any story thrown up there just by anybody. Before I am castigated, please note that I am not taking a stand as to Mr. Nuru’s innocence or not or if he breeched Banks ethical rules or what not. All I am just saying is that there has been no concrete complaint from either the Mr. Thomas accusing this man of this heinous crime, nor an official complaint from the Woman alleging rape, forceful sex or any type of abuse using his power as a boss over her. We have not even seen DNA certification confirming the parentage of the children. All that is in the public domain are pictures of children who have an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Nuru. Are there sufficient factual and legal evidence to begin to push for the Mr. Nurus head.

In the last five years, Nigerians have witnessed the growth of what some of us have called digital mobs who unlike their physical counterparts who roast with used tyres and bonfires, these ones do thier with words on social media. The arbitrariness and disregard for processes and institutionalized structures for arbitration continues to weaken the levers that hold society together pushing us closer to anarchy.

The FCMB I know have well tested and well-ordered structures for getting relieve if your rights have been trampled. I have gone through it as a boss. I had lost my temper during a heated meeting and unwittingly threw a pencil at a junior staff. She went through the process and I faced a disciplinary Committee and was found guilty. The system didn’t care that as at that time I Was number 3 in hierarchy in our subsidiary and that this lady was very near the bottom in hierarchy, I was made to face the music. Same I am very confident would be the case if there is an official approach to this matter by any complainant even if it is me being Mr. Thomas Landlord.

 

The major issue here is not even Mr. Nuru and his supposed errant private member but our societies’ eagerness to throw caution and common sense into the gutters in matters like this while putting on the toga of arbitrariness in pushing this types of issues. I fear that our institutions for fear of Market share can bow to public pressure and take decisions that would further weaken them and infringe on the human rights of their people.

Please in conclusion, where is Mrs Thomas in all of these for only she can solve this problem. Her position would either indict or free Mr. Nuru, she has to answer some very salient questions – was she in an affair with Mr. Nuru while at FCMB, was she in that affair willingly or not and who truly is the father of the child and where she has no answer to the last question, would she willingly take a DNA test on this matter.

My advise to FCMB is to stand firm by its rules, do not be pressured to take hasty decision by a fickle social media crowd who will move on to the next hot gist, while you would have destroyed not only the career of a man who is possibly innocent and in the same vein destroy the fabrics that hold your institution together. Seek the facts and base your decision on those facts.

I wish you a fruitful review of the matter. But will I close my account with FCMB cos the MD has two children with a married staff? I think not. Thank you

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First female MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Onyeali-Ikpe assumes office

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Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, has formally assumed office as the 4th Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer and first female to occupy the position at Fidelity Bank Plc, effective on Jan. 1.

On Sunday, in Lagos, the bank disclosed that Onyeali-Ikpe took over from Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, whose contract tenure ended on Dec. 31, 2020, in line with the bank’s governance policy.

The email assured the bank’s customers that: “under Mrs Onyeali-Ikpe’s leadership, the bank will consolidate on the already laid foundation and track record of performance, to execute the next growth phase.”

“Onyeali-Ikpe was formerly the Executive Director, Lagos and South West Directorate of the bank, and has been an integral part of management in the last six years.

“She joined the bank in 2015 and spearheaded the transformation of the Directorate, leading it to profitability and sustained its impressive year-on-year growth across key performance metrics, including contributing over 28 per cent of the Bank’s profit before tax, Deposits and Loans.

“She is vastly experienced and has spent over 30 years working across various banks, including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Citizens International Bank/Enterprise Bank, where she held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking and Corporate Banking.

“As an Executive Director at legacy Enterprise Bank Plc, she received formal commendation from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), as a member of the management team that successfully turned around Enterprise Bank Plc.

“She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Kings College, London; and has attended executive training programmes at notable global institutions, including Harvard Business School; The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; INSEAD School of Business; Chicago Booth School of Business; London Business School and IMD,” the email said, in a citation.

 
 

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